Welcoming a new puppy to the family is an exciting time, you may want to spend your days cuddling and playing with your puppy, however, remember to set aside some time for training them too.
A well-trained dog will save you a lot of time as your pup grows, will have a stronger bond with you and will also be less likely to develop behavioural problems, have accidents, or other issues, such as getting lost.
Reward-based positive reinforcement puppy training is always the most effective and humane type of dog training.
We all love a puppy!
Here are a few tips and tricks for any new puppy.
When should I start to train my puppy?
Don’t wait to train your puppy… start today, start the day you bring them home.
You are training your puppy with your everyday actions. Remember, it’s not about obedience at this young age.
Think about this……If your puppy jumps on you with excitement and you pat him, you are training him that jumping equals attention. If your puppy barks and you pat him and tell him it’s okay, you are training him: if I bark, I get patted.
Your puppy is smart; he starts learning from his mum the moment he is born. The mum dog continues to teach her puppies until you take them home. So as soon as you bring your puppy home, you are the one teaching them their puppy manners.
Start training your puppy right NOW!
The First 10 puppy training steps are important
1. Your puppy’s routine
Creating a routine when you first bring your puppy home, will help them feel more comfortable in their new environment.
Show your puppy where his water, bed, crate, and toys are located.
Be consistent on feeding, sleeping, and playing.
2. Your puppy’s name
Your puppy’s name will be his life-long connection to you.
The purpose of a name is to get your dog to look at you, to pay attention to you. So, his name is actually a command. The command is “look at me and wait for my next command”, whether that is COME or SIT or anything else.
At this stage of your puppy’s life, you want to build value to his name. Every time you use your puppy’s name, reward him with a treat and/or praise.
In a few days to a week, you will notice your puppy responding to their name. But don’t stop there… keep teaching that their name equals positive happy things.
The name should only be used in positive situations. Do not use his name to correct bad behaviour. I know this is extremely difficult, I still have trouble remembering not to use my dog’s names when telling them NO.
Use your dog’s name only when you want him to come to you or get his attention for a positive command, this will help enormously in your future recall training.
3. Potty training
Potty training is at the top of every new puppy parent’s list.
It’s important to understand that an 8-week-old puppy does not have full control of its bladder yet. You must be patient and expect accidents.
Creating boundaries and limiting freedom at this stage of your puppy’s life is going to save your sanity and possibility even your dog’s life.
Baby gates, a playpen, and a crate will help create not only a safe spot for your new puppy but will make potty training 100 times easier.
Take your puppy outside where you want him to go to pee.
4. Puppy mouthing, biting, and chewing
One of the most common questions from new puppy parents is how to stop puppy nipping. Those puppy teeth are sharp, and they hurt A LOT!
Nipping/biting are natural behaviours for a puppy. They use their mouth to explore the world, just like a baby.
Be consistent in telling your puppy you do not like being nipped or mouthed and eventually, she will outgrow this phase.
Set your pup up for success by removing items you don’t want them to chew on. Give your dog appropriate chew toys to discourage them from chewing clothes or furniture, and end play time when they get too rough or begin biting.
5. Build trust and bond with your puppy
So, you ask, “How do I build trust with my dog?” It’s simple,
Always be kind to your dog. This may seem basic, and it is. But if you scream, hit, kick, or push your dog she will never trust you.
Spend time bonding with your dog. Patting, walking, playing, training, watching TV curled up on the lounge together, are all great ways to bond with your dog.
Always be consistent in training and expectations. Your dog will never know what to expect from you if you are not consistent.
Be your dog’s advocate. As a dog parent, it is your responsibility to protect and keep her safe. Introduce her to new situations slowly until she gains the confidence to feel safe. Don’t ever put her in stressful situations where she feels insecure or threatened.
6. Puppy socialization skills
Socialise your puppy as soon as possible, it will be important in creating a balanced dog. There is a small window that is considered the ideal time to socialize a puppy, between the ages of 3 weeks and 16 weeks.
Socialisation is about your dog being comfortable in any situation he may encounter throughout his life. Going to the vet, loud sounds like fireworks, the vacuum, body handling, people of all sizes and colours, and yes other dogs, and so much more.
Frequently introduce your dog to new sights, sounds, and smells. Keep things slow, you don’t want to overwhelm your new puppy!
Take a puppy class to help introduce your puppy to other puppies. Never introduce your puppy to a strange dog or take her to the dog park at this age. These situations are too unpredictable if something goes wrong it will do more harm than good.
7. Body handling
Your puppy needs to be comfortable with you touching and handling different parts of his body. I don’t think this is stressed enough when raising a puppy.
Think about all the times you will need to hold or touch your dog:
- Nail trims
- Cleaning ears
- Vet visits
It’s important that your dog is ok being handled, especially by vets and other people that they may not know. As you cuddle your dog, get them used to being touched all over their body, including lying on their back for a tummy rub.
Gradually you can move and gently flex and extend their joints, examine their feet, open their mouths, and look inside their ears. When they are calm while you do this, you can reward them with a treat.
8. Crate training
All dogs should be comfortable staying inside a crate. A crate not only creates a safe place for your puppy to be but there could come a time when they need to be in a crate for an emergency.
Start crate training early as a young puppy so he is comfortable in a crate.
9. Basic commands: sit, down, stay
I recommend focusing on the above steps before training their basic obedience commands. You will have plenty of time after your dog is about 16 weeks old to train him how to sit.
If your puppy is adjusting well and doing well with learning his name and bonding with you, then it doesn’t hurt to start basic obedience early.
If you’ve never trained a dog before, I suggest signing up for a puppy training class right away. Not only will you learn the training skills, but as mentioned above, your puppy will get exposure to other puppies and situations that will help in the socialisation skills.
Teach your young puppy how to SIT, DOWN, and STAY in a fun motivational way by using Farmer Pete’s dog treats, toys, or a game.
10. Walking a puppy on a lead
It’s important to teach your dog how to walk with you rather than pulling you. Grab a lead in your right hand and Farmer Pete’s pet treats in your left hand. Start walking. When your dog pulls out in front, change direction. Reward your dog with a treat, for following your change in direction. Consult a trainer if you still have problems. Never consider using a ‘choker’) chain, as these can cause serious injuries.
Conclusion: What's the best guide on training your puppy
Puppies are a lot of work. But they are worth every sleepless night, potty accident, and destroyed shoe. Always be patient and consistent in your training, and before you know it, you will have a well-behaved young dog that will give you unconditional love!