The Dos And Don'ts Of Puppy Training
First-time pet parents and experienced ones alike are often overwhelmed by puppy training. And that’s natural, considering your puppy knows absolutely nothing except love. While they teach you love, you’ve got to teach them everything else!
Of course it’s great fun to shake hands, high five them, or watch them do cute little things, but you’ve got to start at the very beginning. That includes basic puppy obedience which makes life for both you and them a lot happier, and can even save their life. Read on to learn about the basics of puppy training.
When to start training a puppy?
Begin training your pup as soon as they come home. Very simply, the expression ‘start as you mean to continue’ is very apt when it comes to puppy training. For instance, them jumping on you may seem really cute when they are a puppy, but if you make it clear to them that jumping isn’t good behaviour, you won’t need to deal with convincing your adult dog not to jump on you (or others) for the rest of their life. So make clear rules and follow them consistently. You’ll then see that your dog will be very happy to comply.
What They Absolutely Must Know
Of course, they also need to know the name you’ve so lovingly picked for them. At the very minimum, your puppy should consistently obey when you ask them to sit, stay, lie down, come, drop it, and walk on a leash. All of these make it possible for them to act politely. You can also read up on potty training here.
For instance, if your pooch is jumping on kids or elders, asking them to ‘sit’ while meeting them will make the interaction pleasant. If your dog starts eating trash on a walk, they are satisfying their natural curiosity, but being able to get them to ‘drop it’ will save them a tummy upset later. If your dog accidentally slips out of their collar on a walk, ‘stay’ will ensure your furball doesn’t rush into oncoming traffic. ‘Lie down’ will help them calm down in stressful situations, especially to break the behaviour of nervous pacing.
- Teach them these basic commands in a safe and quiet place such as a quiet part of the house. With their short attention span, minimising distractions will make it easier for them to focus
- Start early. This gives them a template of good behaviour to follow before any bad behaviour can settle in
- Learning something new is tiring for your dog, so keep these puppy training sessions short (5-15 minutes)
- Generously praise and reward them absolutely every single time your champ gets it right
- Once the behaviour or command has been learnt, praise them each time, but reward them with treats on a random basis
- Some dogs find it easier to recognise hand signals, so train them with both voice commands and hand signals. This is especially useful if you need them to obey your commands in a noisy environment later
- Clear and consistent commands make it easier for your puppy to follow what you want from them
- Be patient and make sure everybody else in the family uses the same commands
- Avoid confusing your dog. Just teach them one new command per session
- Finish on a high note. Even if your dog hasn’t learnt the command you’re trying to teach them, ask your dog to do something they’ve already learnt and praise them generously. This happy closure will make your dog more eager to train again
- Give your dog an enjoyable long-lasting chewy treat like Pedigree Jumbone to relax with at the end of a successful session
- Is your puppy looking bored? Stop immediately! Your puppy training sessions should be fun, not a chore
- We all take time to learn. Shouting or physically punishing them if they don't get it will only make them scared of you. This frustration may then cause them to become aggressive over a period of time
- Speaking of frustration, don’t train them when they are tired or hungry
- If you want them to come to you, do not chase them. They interpret chasing as a fun game and will run even further
- Don’t train your puppy in an area with lots of distractions, such as other dogs, people, noises, or smells
- Don’t expect too much too soon. Give them time and patience. Your puppy is doing the best they can!
- Lastly, don’t expect them to understand a command until you have taught them what it means
When To Seek The Help Of A Professional Trainer
Sometimes, your pup simply won’t stop problem behaviours. Or maybe you’re worrying about the meaning or repercussions of a certain behaviour he’s picked up. Very simply, you might not know how to train a puppy properly. In these cases, hiring a professional trainer is a very worthwhile investment. When looking for a trainer, find someone who you and your dog like and trust, one who uses positive reinforcement rather than punishment.
The end goal is to make sure you and your four-legged best buddy know how to love and respect one another. Yep, that’s a two-way street; you also need to respect your puppy’s limitations and preferences. Armed with these tips, we’re sure your puppy will be glad to train with you.