Puppy training tips
Posted on 3 April, 2017
All puppies need some basic training and attending puppy training classes is something owners should consider. It helps their dog socialise, learn commands like come, sit and stay, and for them, it’s a chance to meet other local dog owners.
You can start teaching your puppy from day one. Here’s some top tips for ensuring your training gets off to a flying start.
One of the first things is to get your puppy house trained and into a routine for doing their toilet outside. All puppies need to urinate after waking up, so take your pup outside every time it has had a sleep. After eating, puppies will usually urinate after 15 minutes and defecate within 30 mins, so again make sure you pop them outside.
Using words such as ‘wee wees’ and ‘poo poos’ just as the dog is going to the toilet, can help teach them what is expected when you say those words in future. Always praise your dog every time it goes to the toilet outside to reinforce the correct behaviour.
Remember, your dog will have accidents inside to begin with, but only tell them off (with words such as ‘no’ not physically) if you actually catch them in the act. Dogs live in the moment, so won’t be able to understand if you are telling them off for something they did an hour ago.
Once you get into a habit of regularly taking them to the outside and praising them when they go , it won’t be long before your puppy understands what is needs to do.
Lead & collar
Puppies shouldn’t go out for a walk until they have had their final injection at the vets, usually around 10-12 weeks. It’s a legal requirement for dogs to have a collar on outside with a name and address tag, so as soon as you get your puppy, put one on.
Give them lots of praise when you first put their collar on. You can make it into a bit of game and once they have the collar on distract them with a toy, so that they forget they are wearing it.
Young pups will be a bit hesitant at first to walk whilst on the lead, but using treats to encourage them to come towards you will help them get the hang of it. Once they understand, just keep repeating it and walking them around the home and/or garden for short periods throughout the day.
When they are ready to explore outside they should be used to walking a little on the lead, and hopefully their natural curiosity will do the rest and your pup will willingly walk with you on the lead.
Perfect recall can take some time, but as soon as you get your puppy, you can start teaching them to ‘come’. It’s one of the most important commands that could save your dog’s life by being able to call them away from danger, such as a busy road.
Using the word ‘come’ rather than their name works best. The key is to only have one word for each command, so as not to confuse the dog. People often use the dog’s name in all sorts of scenarios, such as telling them off, calling them etc. hence why it can be more difficult for the dog to understand what you want when you say their name.
You can teach your dog to come by holding out a treat, saying ‘come’ and then praising the dog by giving them the treat when they come to you. Repeat this whilst moving further away and the dog will soon start to associate ‘come’ with coming to you for a treat. Even as a dog gets older its always useful to have treats on hand and give them one every now and then when you call them, just to keep reinforcing the command.
Remember to make it fun
The early weeks with your pup are important for bonding and the more time you spend with them the better. Dogs are eager to please and teaching them some basic commands is a good bonding experience, and will ensure you enjoy a great relationship together. It also means your dog will stay safe.
However, make sure you it’s always fun for your puppy, so it doesn’t seem like training, and don’t overdo it. Puppies get tired easily - little and often will gain the best results. And remember positive affirmation is the most effective training method, so always reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour.