IntroductionBringing a puppy into your household will bring a lot of joy and excitement to your home. You’ll probably be tempted to spend all your time playing with your adorable new family member. However, quality time in the form of training is just as important as playtime. Your dog will likely have fewer behavioural problems and be able to follow house rules. Moreover, the right training for your puppy means you’ll have a dog who is better adjusted and has a stronger connection with you. Apply these five indispensable strategies to get started with training your puppy.
1. Training environment and duration
Start by choosing the right environment for training your puppy. Puppies can be easily distracted, so a quiet setting without a lot of activity or noise is best. As for the duration of training, you might want to dedicate around 15 minutes a day. This can be worked into your everyday routines, like during walks, bathroom breaks, and feeding times. Build up the duration gradually. It’s best not to overextend your puppy with too much training or a very rigid training schedule from the start.
2. Use positive reinforcement
You can start training your puppy as soon as they arrive home. Be patient and loving when training your puppy. Reward-based positive reinforcement is likely to be the most humane approach
, according to the RSPCA. This approach could yield the best results because it’s about setting up your puppy to succeed, and it’s focused on rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing unwanted behaviour
or asserting dominance. Furthermore, your puppy will be more likely to love being trained as well if you keep it fun and positive. Use verbal praise, pats, toys, and treats to motivate your puppy, but remember to avoid overfeeding if using food. Undesirable behaviour should be ignored, as this usually causes dogs to stop doing it when they don’t receive attention for it.
3. What to teach your puppy
You’ll want to start with the basic commands before getting into more advanced commands with your puppy. Stay calm and firm, and be consistent with the commands, rewards, and your own behaviour when training, so your puppy will be less likely to become confused or agitated.
● Basic commands - Teach your puppy basic commands like sit, stay, down, wait, and come. Use their name before the command, and reward them immediately when they successfully perform the behaviour.
● Undesirable behaviour - With undesirable behaviours like whimpering, nipping, and biting, discourage your puppy by ending playtime as soon as they nip or bite. Give them chew toys and remove access to anything you don’t want them to chew on.
● Walking - Walking is another essential aspect of training. Teach your puppy to walk with you rather than pulling you. Use treats and verbal praises to encourage your dog to follow you when you change direction.
● Toileting - Teach them toileting outside with pats, praises, a snack, or their favourite toy.
● Handling by others - Train your puppy to get used to being handled by vets and other people. You can do this by touching them all over their body when cuddling and playing. Reward them with treats when they stay calm while doing this.
4. Puppy preschool
Socialisation and new situations and people are important for puppies as they develop. Your vet and other local associations might run puppy-training or obedience schools. It’s a good idea to sign up to learn specific training techniques as well as for socialising your puppy. They also give your dog exposure to new situations, smells, and people. All of these elements can facilitate a more successful at-home training regime.
5. Daily practices to support training
Routines let your puppy know what to expect and help him/her adjust and settle more quickly. Given this, try to keep feeding, exercise, and sleep times the same every day
. Toileting times should also be consistent. For example, you could take them out for toileting first thing in the morning, after each meal, after naps, and the last thing before bed. Use physical barriers like baby gates for no-go areas in the house.
If you don’t want your puppy jumping on beds, make this clear from the outset. Chewing household items, jumping guests, and playing with household appliances could be other behaviours you’d like to discourage in your puppy. Finally, regular, short periods of alone time for your puppy can reduce separation anxiety and build his/her confidence. This could be in a familiar setting like your puppy’s bed or sleeping area.
ConclusionTraining your puppy could ultimately make your life easier, keep your dog safer when you’re out, and encourage a stronger, trusting bond between you and your puppy. Choosing a quiet, distraction-free environment for your puppy’s early training is essential. Positive methods are much better than negative or punishing approaches. You should train your puppy in the basic commands, and ignore negative behaviours to discourage repetition. Walking, toileting, and adjusting your puppy to handling by others are also important things to train your puppy for. Along with good daily practices to support your training regimen, attending puppy school is a good idea as it will teach you formal techniques for training your puppy and expose your dog to socialisation. Keep it fun and positive, and your puppy will likely respond with the great behaviour you’re looking for.