You have just brought home a puppy, and your new four-legged friend is running around like an excited furry maniac. Will this energy level last forever? Can your puppy stay calm long enough for you to train and bond with your new puppy?
This quick-and-easy puppy training guide offers five basic puppy training tips that can help you train a puppy while also helping you to bond with her. So whether you have a Great Dane puppy or a Bichon Bolognese, you can get them started on the right paw.
First, we will answer two very essential questions:
When should you start puppy training?
How often should you work on training with your puppy?
When to Start Training a Puppy
So, when should puppy training begin? Although you may think that all your innocent little puppy needs now is cuddles and oodles of love, the earlier you start puppy training, the better behaved your beloved friend will be as an adult dog.
Earning your puppy’s trust should be a process you start as soon as they come home with you. This will help to make learning easier.
Your puppy should begin training as soon as just a few weeks of age. At only 8 weeks old, your furry student is ready and eager to learn.
How Long and How Often Should Puppy Training Sessions Be?
Now, how often should you work on puppy training? This may differ slightly for every dog and owner. But, as a general rule of thumb, you should try to go through training sessions with your puppy as regularly as possible. Ideally, once or twice a day or, as a minimum, three times a week.
The most important thing to remember about puppy training sessions is that you should keep your training sessions consistent, short and fun.
To start, sessions should be 15 minutes long. This helps your puppy learn their basic cues, and you’ll start to build a bond without either of you getting frustrated or bored.
Then, you can start working up to half-hour sessions and hour-long sessions. Once you see your pup’s attention fading, you know it is time to call it quits for that session. Keep these sessions lighthearted and fun, and don’t forget to give lots of praise and to reward your pup (positive reinforcement training).
Simple Tips for Training a Puppy
1. Reward Your Puppy’s Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement has been proven to be the most successful method for effective dog training. Negative or dominant training methods have been debunked and should not be used.
Dominant and punishment-based training theories don’t enable a strong bond between owner and dog, and they also create negative health consequences for your dog, such as stress.
Instead, think of your dog as an equal. Praise them for their good behavior. Reward them with healthy treats, like Wellness Soft Puppy Bites grain-free dog treats, or toys when they successfully complete a task or cue, or if they are simply being a good pup.
2. Steer Clear of Cue Repetition
Say things clearly and patiently, and only say them once. Dogs only need to hear a cue or request once. It is useless to yell and repeat the same thing over and over.
The basic steps for teaching your puppy a new cue are simple:
Step 1: Say the command ONCE
Step 2: Show direction
Step 3: Be patient
Remember to be consistent with your cue, no matter how slow the process may be.
Start with simple cues first. One-word commands are the best for your little beginner. These include commands such as “sit,” “down,” “stay” and “no.” Take it slow and easy.
Once these cues are under lock and key, you can move on to harder cues such as “roll over” or “play dead.” Remember to positively reinforce good behavior with praise, love or treats—like the Eukanuba Healthy Extras puppy treats.
3. Stick to Your Rules
Before you get a puppy—or as soon as possible after adopting one—come up with basic house rules. You will need to decide which types of activities are allowed and what boundaries you want to set for your puppy.
For example, is your puppy going to be allowed on the bed or couch? Are they only going to be allowed to be in designated areas of your home, or are they going to have free range? Whatever you decide is completely up to you. However, it is of high importance that you stick to these rules.
Changing your rules constantly will confuse your puppy, especially if they are just getting the hang of them. Make sure that every family member knows and adheres to the puppy rules, too.
Your puppy may need some time to learn the rules, but again, patience is key. Well-trained and well-socialized dogs with boundaries are healthy and happy.
4. Socialize Your Puppy
Puppy socialization is very crucial. Socialization will help your pup grow up to be a well-mannered companion. It will also help to prevent your puppy from becoming fearful of, anxious around or aggressive toward different people, environments and animals.
Socialization is the act of interacting and desensitizing your puppy to new and different things. These may include fellow canines as well as different environments, objects, people and animals.
Socialization can occur in a number of ways. In terms of introducing your pup to other canines, I recommend setting up some puppy playtime with other fully vaccinated dogs at a doggy day care or attending puppy classes; perhaps three times a week.
Socializing your puppy doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be a really fun, bond-building activity for the both of you. It will encourage your puppy to trust you and look to you for guidance in new or strange situations.
Scheduling puppy playtime with you and other family members is perfect for socialization as well as bond-building for all.
5. Choose an Appropriate Name for Your Puppy
It is not only important to choose a loveable name for your pup, but it is also important to choose a name that will work well for training purposes.
You need to choose a strong name; one that will not only be easy for your puppy to understand, but one that will be heard clearly.
This is preferably a name that ends with a strong consonant. Calling your dog something like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” would not only be difficult for you to call out regularly, but would also be confusing for your puppy. Try one-syllable names like Jack or Duke.
These five simple tips will help your puppy grow into a well-mannered canine and will also help you and your family build a solid bond with your new puppy.
Remember to stay positive and consistent, give praise and rewards, mix things up and give lots of cuddles.
By: John Woods
Featured Image: iStock.com/asiseeit