The best advice for someone who wants to know how to train a puppy is to be prepared! As well as the importance of pre-buying all the necessay accessories – ie, bed, food bowls, food, collar, leash, poop bags, toys, crate – if you want to get off to the best possible start with your puppy’s training, you’d do well to acquire a basic understanding of how your puppy learns and develops and put a plan of action in place – before your puppy arrives.
Plan a Routine
Just like children, puppies thrive on routines. It helps to make them feel settled and confident. If you don’t already have a dog, and maybe you even work and are away from the house for part of the day, it’s a good idea to sit down and work out a schedule of exactly what you need to fit in where. If you commit the schedule to paper, you are more likely to stick with it and this will have a hugely positive impact on your puppy’s training development.
Your puppy will need lots of human contact in the early weeks so this may even require employing a dog sitter (or friendly neighbour) to begin with so that your puppy is not left alone for too long. When learning how to train a puppy you’ll also need to schedule in exercise and obedience training sessions for your puppy and, of course, regular trips outside to give him puppy opportunity to toilet.
But establishing routines is about more than just time management. Certain elements of your daily routine can also help to establish your position as your puppy’s pack leader. For example, feeding your puppy only after you have eaten, and building in frequent periods of ‘time out’ during the day – where your puppy has quiet time and is completely ignored – are both simple but highly effective ways of showing your puppy who is in charge.
The number one cause of problem dog behaviour is an imbalance in the relationship between dog and owner. If you can start off on the right footing from day one, you will find it much easier to train your puppy because, quite simply, a puppy that clearly understands its place in the family pack will naturally show respect and be eager to please.
Train the Family
If you’re going to be introducing the puppy to a family housesold, with other adults or children in situ, then you’ll all need to sit down and talk before the puppy arrives. The number two cause of problem dog behaviour is inconsistent messages from owners.
It’s all very well you having a rule that your puppy will not be allowed to sleep on your beds or climb on the furniture, but if your children (or partner) have other ideas and often encourage the puppy onto their beds for a cuddle, then you’re fighting a lost cause. Your puppy will be receiving conflicting messages and will have no understanding of what is right or wrong.
If you have young children who are not capable of understanding how to behave with your puppy, then they will require constant supervision. Older children, however, can be set clear guidelines and, preferably, even be involved in training sessions. You should also set their expectations about how the puppy is likely to behave – eg, that there will inevitably be some mouthing and play biting – and instruct them on the best ways to play with the new arrival. One of the best ways to involve your children is to show them how to train a puppy too!
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Filed Under: General Dog Training