Dog lovers know that every dog is unique, and while that fact endears quirky pets to their owners, it can also make training puppies more of an art than a science. Over thousands of years, dog breeds designed for specific tasks and roles have been carefully shaped and crafted, which means a puppy training regimen fit for a Lhasa Apso may not cut it for a Border Collie. Rather than getting frustrated with your pupil when training doesn't go according to plan, follow these four tips to create a customized puppy training regimen that will help your new dog both learn and have fun along the way. 

Considering Your Dog's Type of Intelligence

Some dogs are capable of a vocabulary of over 1000 words, while others will always struggle a little bit with the doggy door. No matter where your pooch falls along this spectrum, you will likely have both strengths and weaknesses to work with. For example, many companion breeds are highly attuned to their owners, allowing them to pick up subtle physical cues that a working breed might miss in its eagerness to get a task done. Raw processing power alone is not enough to predict your pet's success. 

Finding the Right Motivation

Similarly, dogs have individual personalities and may derive the most satisfaction from completely different rewards. Will your puppy do anything for a treat? If so, it may be food-motivated, meaning any positive behaviors will be best reinforced by a tasty reward. Most dogs are food-motivated to some extent, like all animals. Other dogs, however, are more people-motivated and only want a quick pat or word of encouragement to continue a behavior. As you get to know your puppy, you will gradually learn which option works best for your dynamic.

Choosing Activities For Your Dog's Personality 

Even if you own a mutt, you can still play to your dog's strengths when choosing a training regimen. Beyond the basic boot camp of obedience and house training, there is a whole world of sports and activities designed specifically to increase the bond between dogs and their owners. If you have a herding breed or working dog, sports like herding, agility or Treibball are all common choices to hone athleticism and challenge the intellect. Retrievers and spaniels, on the other hand, may be more interested in water sports like dock jumping. Typically, the more active and intelligent the dog, the more time you will need to devote to training to keep your pet happy and relaxed. 

Working With Problem Puppies

Sometimes, a puppy tumbles along that seemingly can't be taught. These problem puppies typically aren't trying to frustrate their owners, but you may need to adjust your current training practices to make real progress. Working with a puppy training expert can help you figure out what works for your dog and develop more effective training habits for the future, all while strengthening your bond with your pet in the meantime.