Have you just got a new puppy? Are you in over your head? If you need a little help and guidance with training of your pup in the first few weeks then read on.
Dog training can start at any age and the sooner the better. You can start very simple training from the minute you get your puppy to set boundaries and routines. If done properly training should be fun for you and your new dog.
To gain the best results, training should be based around positive reward. When your dog does as you ask, reward with something they enjoy. This maybe food or a favourite toy and a great reward means they are far more likely to do it again. When training first starts sessions will be short and you will need to reward your pup every time it does as asks, always verbally reward your puppy too. The idea is not to bribe but train. Try my cookie mix for some delicious training treats.
Never use punishment when you are training your puppy. This just causes fear and could lead to aggression if the relationship breaks down.
Reward all good behavior
Ignore bad behaviour and do not punish
Avoid triggering unwanted bahaviour
If unwanted behaviour occurs teach your dog an alternative acceptable behaviour.
What to aim for
7-8 weeks (5-10mis)
Teach you pup the house rules and what is acceptable
Start practicing walking your pup on a lead
Teach the SIT command.
14-16 weeks(15-20 mins)
Socialisation is really important
Stop your pup from biting
Start leaving your pup home alone for short periods
Start teaching commands- Sit, stay, come, drop it, wait, down, off and no.
How to minimise chewing
People are not always prepared for the chewing when they get a new pup. It can Be of varying degrees depending on the puppy. It can be frustrating when your puppy targets your favourite shoes or your new sofa!
By eliminating chewing opportunities and being consistent you can prevent your puppy from destroying your house.
Keep an eye on your dog to protect him from his nosiness and desire to want to chew everything. Take away things you don't want chewed and replace with suitable toys.
Contain your pup if you need to leave it alone. A dog crate is a great idea or shutting the pup safely in a small room. This limits the access to chewable items, and can help with toilet training.
If teething is the problem try popping their toys in the freezer as chewing something cool will soothe their gums.
Crate training your puppy
Crate training your puppy is very useful. It is a safe space for your puppy, like a den. Always make the crate a positive experience and never use for punishment.
Crate training is best started from day one so the crate becomes part of everyday life.
Crate training can also help with toilet training as dogs don't like to go where they sleep.
The crate should contain a bed, some toys, a food and water bowl.
At the start use the crate for small periods of time and keep the door open initially, build up over the first few weeks or so. Your puppy may come crate trained if you are lucky.
If your puppy cries to be let out try your best to ignore this and don't reward or fuss them. If you suspect your pup is crying because they need the toilet, take them out and give them an opportunity to go and if nothing then back into the crate.
Place the crate in a quiet area of the house so your pup is not continuously disturbed. There are special covers or an old blanket can be used to create a dark area to help with sleeping.
As soon as your pup wakes from a nap take them straight out and give them access to the toilet. Puppies bladders are small and the excitement of waking up etc means they need to go pretty much instantaneously.
This requires patience and perseverance. Don't punish your pup if an accident happens. Their bladders are small and so need the toilet much more frequently than an adult dog. By 4-6 months your dog should be fully toilet trained.
Repetition is extremely important. Have the same routine each day, from feeding and walking to sleeping. You should take your pup out after they have eaten and hourly initially when awake.
Control keeping your pup on a lead when you take them out to the toilet helps stop them wondering off and getting distracted. .
Consistency I always use command word every time they go, so they associate this with meaning go to the toilet such as 'pee pee' or 'toilet' this gives them a recognisable trigger.
Reward with praise and a treat to let them know they have done well.
It is extremely important to expose your puppy to as many situations as possible. The most important time for this is 4-16 weeks. A well socialised pup can navigate life much easier. For example if a dog has no experience of children or strangers this could cause them to be fearful or aggressive. If your puppy is nervous never punish them and try and turn whatever you are doing into a positive experience.
Here are some socialisation examples
Strangers coming to the house.
Travel in car
Natural appeasing Pheromones
There are a variety of products available that can help puppies adapt to everyday stressful situations.
Adaptil Junior helps to comfort the pup through the initial challenges it faces. It can reduce crying through the night, and support being left at home for short periods and car travel. The collar can be warn constantly and lasts for 4 weeks.
I have used this product for many years and have seen very positive results.
Puppy training classes
Puppy classes can be great for their development and very informative for the new owner. Having the resources of a trainer and the benefits of socialisation of the classmates is so beneficial. Its very important for your puppy to understand how to communicate properly with other dogs and help minimise development of unsociable behaviour.