If you are attempting to train your puppy right now, I know exactly how you feel. Training your puppy is certainly no mean feat and can leave you feeling frustrated and your furniture looking worse for wear. This is especially true if you’re a first-time puppy owner as there will, without a doubt, be a number of holes in your training methods and what you need—but that’s okay! Puppy pads, potty training, positive reinforcement, a clicker, puppy obedience training, socialization…it may all sound a little alien to you right now but don’t worry. The important thing is to first realize your errors in your dog training mistakes and then correct those mistakes as soon as you can, and consistently work toward your end goal of owning the smartest puppy in town—or at least having a fairly well-trained dog that knows how to use his potty and demonstrates positive behavior when required. To kick start training your dog, we’re going to take you through seven of the commonest mistakes that pet parents make when training a puppy at home. Don’t worry, we’ll also show you how you can correct them. Now sit…relax and read on!
Scolding your pup (especially after the fact).
No matter how cute our furry bundles of joy are, they are not going to do everything perfectly. He may have gotten into the garbage, only for it then to appear all over your kitchen. He May have torn apart your new, expensive and cozy slippers. However, I hate to break this to you: puppies don’t know any better. It’s up to us, their owners, to puppy-proof our home so this doesn’t happen, and it is very much up to us to provide positive reinforcement when our pup does something right (and when they do something wrong). Puppies are incredibly reward motivated, so removing whatever it is that he isn’t supposed to have, replacing it with what he can have, and rewarding him for it, will be a far more effective training method.
Not puppy-proofing your home
As mentioned above, your puppy can hardly be blamed for getting into somewhere he shouldn’t have been and destroying something because he truly does not understand the difference. How is your slipper different than another soft, squishy toy? Make sure that you make a conscious effort to puppy-proof your home and not to leave anything that you don’t want chewed up, lying around. Be extremely careful of leaving wires plugged in where the puppy can potentially gain access to them, and hide the cords once unplugged. Your puppy will spend at least the first year of his life going through a learning period of what he can and can’t be chewing—so help set him up for success as best you can!
Failing to crate train him right away
If you have a household where someone is home the majority of the time, you may not see a need to get your puppy used to his crate – why would you crate your puppy if you were always home? That said, there will inevitably come a time where you will need to leave the house, and you certainly don’t want your pup to roam free. This is not only dangerous for the pup, but it is suicidal for your prized possessions! You also do not want your pup to associate their crate with you leaving, as it will become a sad and stressful place for him to be. If you are, in fact, home for most of the day, place your puppy in his crate for small periods of time (say, 15 to 20 minutes), and making him as comfortable as possible. When you let him out, give him tons of love and affection and let him know that he’s done a great job. If your pup doesn’t associate being in his crate with something negative like their human leaving, it is a lot more likely that it will become a safe place for him—and one they enjoy being in for small periods at a time.
Not training your puppy from the get-go
When it comes to training your pup to do the basics (sit, stay, going to the bathroom outside), it is never too early to start training him. Don’t let him have free reign to do whatever he likes for the first few weeks and then suddenly try to put him to work.You could end with a pup ignoring you and doing exactly what he wants to do and on his own terms. As soon as they join your family you need to establish that this is what is expected from him and there are boundaries. It will take a lot longer—if ever—to get him to fully understand this way of living if he’s had the run of the house and were able to do whatever he wanted.
Not socializing your pup
It is important to socialize your pup as much as possible. From the moment he enters your home, it’s best to let him know that this is the new “normal.” Depending on his previous situation, he may have only had exposure to a handful of people and his litter mates. If your pup has not had all of his jabs yet, start by letting people come to you in your own home and he can slowly get used to socializing that way. However, as soon as he is ready, get out there and visit the local park or lake and try to socialize him as much as possible with people and pets in a controlled situation. Before you know it, he will love “walkies time” and go dashing for his leash.
You may be surprised to hear this (and find it such a difficult thing not to do), but consoling your pup after a scary situation is a definite no-no. Whether it’s a loud noise, a new person, or a new situation, showering him with love and affection after he goes and hides under the bed, whines, or shows fear is simply something that must not be done. Your pup is going to become confused and will start to associate acting scared with being showered with affection—something that you absolutely do not want. You want your pup to turn into a well-rounded—and hopefully fearless—adult and if this becomes a pattern, your dog is much more likely to become constantly nervous and/or aggressive.
Hitting your pup and “rubbing his nose in it”
I cannot stress exactly how much of a no-no these last two mistakes are. Both of these acts will only make for a nervous and fearful dog and, I promise you, no good will come of it! You do not want your dog to refrain from certain behaviors simply because they fear you, as it is certainly not the point of having a furry friend. Positive reinforcement is much more effective both in the short term and in the long term for a happy, healthy, and well-balanced pup.
If you have ever had a puppy come into your life, chances are you’ve made one or more of these common mistakes while teaching your puppy—and it’s perfectly understandable! However, now that you know exactly what you shouldn’t be doing, you can get on with teaching your pup a few things that will benefit him and hopefully save those furry slippers from a puppy mauling. Happy training!
Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!