Puppy Training Tips
Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for all the family. After choosing your puppy and preparing your home for the new arrival you may think that all the hard work is done, but it is important not to forget puppy training in the early stages of your puppy’s life. A dog that has been well-trained from a young age will be much happier and easier to care for. In this article we want to share with you our top tips for getting the most out of your puppy training.
Start as soon as possible
We’ve all heard the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, and although not entirely true, training is easiest and most effective when started from a young age. In their early years they pick up new skills and habits much quicker. It is also the best time to avoid development of any bad habits, as bad habits are much harder to break once they have been learnt. Things like jumping up or sitting on your lap may seem very cute when they are just a puppy but in some large breeds it can quickly become problematic
Make a list of commands
Start with the simple commands such as “sit” and “heel”. These can gradually become more complicated and include things such as “stay” or “paw”. When making a list you need to make sure the whole family is aware of the exact phrases for each command and avoid using these phrases in other contexts to prevent any confusion. For example, do not use “down” to mean lie-down and then say “down” to make them get off the furniture instead say “off” or “no”. This list can be added to and individualised to suit your puppy’s training.
Use positive reinforcement
Using a treat or positive attention to reward good behaviors is the best way to train your puppy. In the long term it may be best to use low calorie dog treats, such as carrots, or train your puppy to react to a clicker. This will ensure that they are not putting on excess weight from overfeeding treats during training. The treat or click should follow the skill or behaviour you are trying to teach as closely as possible to ensure they know what they are being rewarded for. For some puppies any kind of attention may be regarded as rewarding, so any unwanted behaviours should be met with a simple monotone “no”. Shouting will only confuse and possibly intimidate your puppy and may cause them to have negative associations with training.
Increase their experiences
Socialise and make sure they are exposed to a range of experiences from a young age. You should aim to introduce them to a range of noises, smells, people and other animals in a safe and controlled environment using positive reinforcement. When introducing them to new people, try and start with people who are in your family or good with dogs. The same goes when socialising them with other dogs. Start with dogs that you know are good with other dogs to avoid any negative associations forming.
Book some classes
If this is your first puppy, or you feel like you could benefit from some extra guidance, then booking some puppy training classes may be an excellent training tool. It is important to shop around and find a puppy training class that suits your training goals. Not only will puppy training classes help to give you some guidance and structure to your training, but it is excellent socialisation too! Your puppy will be able to socialise and meet a range of other dogs and owners in a safe and controlled environment.
Patience and repetition
Finally, don’t underestimate the time that puppy training may take. Some puppies will pick up training fast, while others may need a bit longer. Remaining consistent in their training will help consolidate their learning and ensure that they retain all they have learnt as you start to move onto more complicated tricks. Puppy training is an essential part of every puppy’s life. It can make your life easier by preventing any bad habits from forming and even having some fun tricks such as “paw” or “roll over”. Importantly puppy training will help your puppy to grow up into a friendly and confident dog. If you have any questions about training your puppy then our vets will be happy to help, just get in touch.