There’s no getting away from the fact that puppy training is, at times, incredibly frustrating and time-consuming.
To make it easier, we’ve devised a brief training guide stuffed full of advice from experienced dogs owners and professional dog trainers.
It’s split it into three areas — boundaries, obedience, and misbehaviour — so we pretty much have you covered for the first few weeks and months of pet parenthood.
Get started today — the earlier the better with dogs —with our brief guide to puppy training, and ensure your pup will grow into the strong, smart, and well-mannered canine he/she can be!
Establishing Boundaries For Your Puppy
Boundaries are going to play a significant role in your dog’s life, not only in keeping them out of harms way but in providing them with a sense of security with which they feel comfortable and safe.
Baby gates are your best friend when establishing boundaries for your puppy; use them as a tool in general housetraining, specifically in designating their own private den and teaching which areas of the home are blocked off or restricted.
The next most valuable tool is your voice, and in this case, a command like “go to your spot”. Teaching your puppy a command like this early on will work wonders throughout their life, particularly in preventing things like running to the door when someone comes to visit or jumping up at the dinner table.
Alongside a baby gate and a strong command, the next weapon in our guide to puppy training is, of course, treats. Using dog health supplements and treats as rewards for your puppy not only helps encourage good behaviour, but also ensures they grow up to be fit and healthy.
Teaching Your Puppy Obedience
You want your puppy to obey you whether you’re at home, crossing the road, or at the vets. So, rather than only relying on equipment and treats, your primary tool of choice should always be your voice.
To teach your puppy obedience using your voice and commands, you first need to get them to pay attention. Distractions are a huge obstacle to learning for your pup — everything from squirrels, other dogs, cars, and their tails can get in the way. So first things first, when your puppy gets distracted, rather than focusing on the negative behaviour and punishing them, divert their attention toward something positive that you want them to do instead.
The trick is keeping your puppy engaged. When they jump instead of sit or take off after a cat, they’re not disobeying you; dogs don’t have a concept of right or wrong and, therefore, are just acting according to their energy levels and what they know best. This makes a tired puppy with a consistent training regime a well-behaved puppy.With these points in mind, you can effectively use commands like “good boy” and “that’s it” to positively reinforce good behaviour. As mentioned, dogs need to learn what’s good and what’s bad, and the best way to do this is not by getting upset when they do something wrong, but praising and encouraging your puppy when they do something right.
Dealing With Puppy Misbehaviour
No matter how prepared you are, puppies are always going to misbehave. Dogs are naturally curious animals, and inevitably their curiosity for everything from your mother in law’s nether-regions to the next door neighbour’s bin will get them in trouble.
Teaching your god voice commands when they’re young and engaging them in positive reinforcement rather than punishment is key in treating misbehaviour. But there’s also specific pieces of advice for specific situations. For example, if your pup likes to chew everything in your home, buy them treats and toys with a variety of different textures and put one in their mouth whenever they chew something you don’t want them to.
For puppies that bark like crazy when left outside, instead of shouting at or ignoring them, go out and comfort them as soon as they kick up a fuss. Show them that everything is okay, and soon they’ll become calm and quiet.
Finally, for those that constantly tug on the leash, invest in one that connects to a harness from the front, rather than a retractable leash that snaps and actually encourages dogs to pull.