From potty training to not chewing the furniture, it can be tough to teach a puppy the basics. There are bound to be plenty of accidents all the way, some more adorable than others.
While working at the Dog’s Day Out puppy training camp in Burien, Washington, Sugako Sasaki unintentionally taught two puppies how to kiss in exchange for treats. “They learned ‘kissing means cheese,'” the dog trainer and owner of Happy Stretch Dog Training told Newsweek. “Their owners thought it was the cutest thing ever.”
Puppy training should begin around 8 weeks of age and should include basic commands such as “come” and “sit”; loose-leash walking; and socialization, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Sasaki uses positive reinforcement techniques to solve a range of behavioral issues. Based in Seattle, Washington, she specializes in helping dogs with anxiety. She was teaching Labrador retriever Lewis and mixed-breed pup Juni—both around 13 to 15 weeks old—different skills at time, which led to the sweet mix-up.
Juni had been acting aggressively around other dogs, particularly barking and lunging at other puppies. So, Sasaki decided to use the Differential Reinforcement of Other behavior (DRO) to curb this behavior. This included using another dog, in this case Lewis, as a good example.
“The goal was to change Juni’s emotional response using the presence of another dog, while reinforcing appropriate behaviors,” Sasaki explained.
However, Lewis also needed to learn how to sit and stay still, even with distractions. While Juni was learning how to behave, Lewis was learning how to chill.
“Relaxation training is like engaging in meditation,” she said. “A puppy’s busy body will eventually settle down through this exercise.”
To reinforce these positive behaviors, Sasaki uses treats. She gave Juni a piece of cheese as long as the puppy’s teeth were not touching Lewis. However, Juni and Lewis misunderstood the command, thinking the cheese was a reward for touching noses instead.
“Because they were given treats when they ‘kissed,’ the frequency of kissing increased instead,” Sasaki said. “At first, it was a cute accident, but the puppies clearly repeat the processes, and it’s just adorable.”
She shared the sweet mistake with her followers on TikTok, receiving over 2 million views. “That is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen,” commented MAGA MAD.
“I sob this is so cute,” agreed Kailyn Atwell, while Jessica Hickey wrote: “MY HEART IM SCREAMINGGGG.”
“Teamwork!” wrote Allyson, while trishasmith972 posted: “‘We’re gonna do it again?’ ‘Yea dude, treatos!'”
“Besties for lyfe now they have no choice,” commented lyssawade, while Ash posted: “I will be teaching this to every single puppy pair I work with in the future.”
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