How to train your new puppy
Puppy training should start as soon as possible or immediately you bring it home. Puppies learn very fast, that is why it is so important to establish rules as soon as possible. It is very exciting at first, when the puppy arrives. However enthusiasm may get in the way of proper puppy training.
In some cases, this process may call upon the involvement of the whole family. You will need to come up with the most appropriate schedule, for feeding, cleaning and training. Before you even bring the puppy home, there are some things you will need to purchase; a crate, some toys, a collar, puppy chow, a leash and a food bowl.
The most important thing is to first develop a routine, and show leadership from day one. Puppies need to have strong leadership for proper development. It is interesting to note that puppies will sense your confidence levels. This leadership should be maintained throughout the training process.
If puppies make out your weakness, they will develop negative behavior. This may be exhibited in anxiety, chewing, leash pulling and excessive barking. Therefore, if you desire a balanced dog, you need to show strong leadership from the start.
The most important aspects of puppy training include; house training, socialization, toilet training, obedience training and dog walking. Other areas of equal importance include exercise, play biting and diet.
House training/ crate training
A crate can be safe place for your puppy especially during those times that you might not be able to give full attention. A crate is important as it also complements house training. It serves many functions such as providing a safe retreat for your puppy, as a safe way to transport your puppy and it protects your home from damage.
The crate should be of adequate size to accommodate the puppy until he is fully grown. It should also have space for food and water bowls and also have some toys to play with. It is prudent to place the crate in a place where the puppy does not miss out on anything that goes on in the house. It should also be placed near an exit, in case you need to transport it outside. Check out dogbreedinfo.com for more information on crate training your dog.
Make the crate as comfortable as possible by placing a soft mat, carpet or blanket. You may place the carpet on one half of the crate and some used paper on the other half, in case you can get to the puppy when he needs to go. Make sure you change this paper every time it is soiled. You may use treats or tasty snacks to encourage him/her to enter. In the initial stages, leave the crate open so that the puppy is free to leave and enter.
Include words such as ‘bed’ for the puppy to develop an association with entering and leaving the crate. It is very important for you not to force the puppy into the crate. This might make him develop a negative association with the crate. Take as much time as is necessary for the puppy to recognize the crate as a safe and fun place to be in.
Once the puppy gets comfortable, you may start to close the crate for limited periods of time after the puppy has been taken out for toileting. In case he starts to whine, ignore him until he keeps quiet. If you respond to him, he may develop a habit of whining and barking for long to get your attention. Chris Loverseed from Positive K9 Training has some great information on puppy training on his blog. Check our his Melbourne dog training services on his site and Google Plus page.
It is also important to keep calm when you return to the crate to release him as he may whine as he looks forward to being released. After releasing him, take him to the toileting area immediately.
In the beginning, you may have to let him out every hour or so. However, as he gets older, you may only let him out after two or three hours. The crate is very important when you sit down to have meals as a family to avoid overexcitement.
House training, will require you to establish a routine. Puppies will perform best under a regular routine or schedule. Consistency is the most important thing for well trained dogs.
Many people will make the mistake of punishing a dog when they make a mistake. Punishment does more harm than good as it makes the dog afraid of you. There is a difference between a properly trained dog and a fearful one. Associate good behavior with treats and they will learn to do what is expected of them.
Before toilet training, understand that dogs are habitual animals. Also remember that as puppies, they cannot go for extended periods of time without toileting. Some of the common mistakes that people make include;
• Leaving the puppy indoors for too long which forces them to go indoors.
• Overfeeding and feeding them salty foods
• Irregular feeding times
• Wrong feeding times
• Wrong use of words such as good boy or good girl which they may associate with toileting inside the house.
• Leaving the puppy outside in the garden for too long.
• Punishing the puppy for toileting indoors.
Most puppies will urinate after fifteen minutes of eating or defecate thirty minutes after eating. This will however vary from one dog to another. Keep a record of feeding times and toileting times to help you in training. Use specific words for specific actions to help you in prompting the puppy later on.
You may also want to train your puppy to toilet while out on a walk so that he does not only toilet at home only. You may achieve this by waking up early one morning before your puppy has had the morning toileting session. Do not go back home until the puppy is forced to go while on the walk.
Toilet times may be when your puppy wakes up, after feeding times, after play/ exercise, when they start to move after rest, if they become excited or after every thirty minutes. Therefore you will be taking out your puppy out a lot. Make sure to reward him when he does go and even if he does not, take him back inside. With time, the puppy will start to move closer to exits when he needs to go. You will be required to be observant during this period.
Accidents may occur from time to time; but do not punish the puppy. Do not clean these areas with bleach or ammonia as these compounds do not get rid of urine smell but actually make it worse. Puppies will smell this and identify these areas as toileting areas. Other problems that may arise will be overcome with proper socialization. Medical conditions may cause the dogs to go indoors at the wrong times but they can be treated. Perfect Paws puppy training is a great resource for any puppy owner wanting to train their new family member.
Socialization is a process that helps a dog interact with its own species as well as other species such as cats and humans. Socialization may also include getting the puppy acquainted with the immediate surroundings so that environmental factors do not agitate or excite the puppy. It is a very important process for the proper and balanced development of the puppy.
It helps them cope with the surroundings and even deal with new situations in the future. This process also helps in dealing with problems of aggression and anxiety. Socialization should start immediately after vaccinations. You need to expose the puppy to as many positive situations as possible. This exposure should continue until the age of sexual maturity. Sites like the Kennel Club in the UK often list local clubs where you can socialize your puppy or dog.
Dog walking is the one thing that most dog owners look forward to. Problems arise when the dog takes too much of a lead and pulls. This discourages most dog owners into reducing walking times. It is important to teach your puppy to walk on a loose lead.
You may also teach your puppy to walk close beside you. Do not use a choke chain or an extending lead. Use a fixed harness or a flat collar instead. Reward the dog for good behavior as usual and do not yank the lead when the dog pulls too hard.
Teach the puppy to walk on both the right and the left, but avoid changing sides while walking as this may cause you to trip and fall.
If the puppy pulls, stand still and keep your hand at the same position. This is because in most cases, they will pull out of curiosity or because of the desire to get someplace fast. If you allow the puppy to go, they will associate this as a reward for pulling.
Use food treats, to reward your puppy. Hold the lead in your right hand and some treats in the left hand. Get your pup to notice the treats, and get him to come and stand beside you facing the same direction as you are then reward him. Sometimes the pup will rush away after the treat; stop and get him to come back to a position beside you, then reward. It is also important to reward him while standing still as he will associate the reward with proper walking.
When the pup starts to walk two or three steps on a loose lead, you may increase the time between rewards.
With time, the dog will identify the position beside you as a good place. This exercise will require a lot of patience. This is because when they first rush off after a treat, it might take several minutes before they come back and stand beside you. This exercise will require you to take one step at a time for several steps.
However, with every step, the intervals between reward times will reduce. Use your cue words only after your pup is able to achieve several steps on a loose lead. Check out the video below or search youtube for advice on training your dog to walk on a leash.
There is also a serious temptation to take puppies out on long walks or play with them for long. Most people will also over exercise dogs just because they are working breeds. It is true that working breeds will need more exercise, but this, is as adults and not as puppies.
This may however just tire them out because young puppies are not well developed to handle too much physical stress. If they get too tired, they may not want to go out in the future.
It is advisable to start with fifteen minute walks twice every day. When the puppy is six months old, you may increase walk times to thirty minutes. But when the dog reaches adulthood, you may walk him for as long as you want. Combine these walks with some training for a full work out.
Play biting is a completely natural thing for young puppies. However, it can really hurt when they bite you or even their play mates; therefore the importance of teaching them that biting is prohibited. You may achieve this by being a playmate, but using toys instead of your hands or your body. A clever way to help you train him is to yell out when they latch onto your clothes to make them think that they are hurting you.
Stand still and move the puppy away to something else such as a stuffed animal or toy. When they latch on to you, you may also stand still or shake them off if they do not let go immediately after you yell. In the end redirecting your puppy to something else other than your clothes, toes or hands works best. This exercise will also take a lot of time and commitment on your part. Check out WebMD for their guide on how to stop puppies biting.
When training your puppy to return, make sure you always reward him when he comes back. The puppy should associate coming back to you as fun and rewarding. This is because some things that we may be oblivious to may be more interesting to your puppies than you. These may be sounds or smells.
It is also important not to call your dog to show them your disappointment; always express joy or excitement when they return so that they are motivated to come back. You may also make use of various signals to call him.
For total success in bringing up a well-balanced dog, all aspects of training a puppy require patience, commitment as well as consistency.