For newbies, training puppies can be difficult and frustrating. So many other dog owners are always giving out conflicting advice, making it hard to know which tips are safe and effective and which just don’t work. The problem lies in relying on unqualified people for instructions on how to properly train your pup.
Stop listening to them; this is why we have dog trainers and experts! These people have trained countless furry friends for years, and they have all the best tips to go by that others may not even know about. Relax – they have you covered.
The best part is that this advice is free! Read on to master puppy training like the professionals.
1. Start early
The best time for training is right away. When puppies are first able to open their eyes and walk, you can begin training. At eight weeks old, puppies are intelligent enough to understand the most basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” As they progress in age, you can start to do more complicated training exercises and take them to obedience classes, but it is good to get a head start. (Debra Horwitz and Gary Landsberg)
2. Socialize your puppy
Socialization is a very crucial part of a puppy’s training. It involves taking him on fun outings to meet other people and other pets while exploring new environments. This lays out the foundation for your pup’s temperament and activity for the rest of his life.
Properly socialized puppies will usually be calmer, happier, and friendlier than other dogs! The best time to start doing this is around eight to twelve weeks old. A warning: do not force your puppy into a situation it is especially uncomfortable with. If he is uncomfortable, try again later. (Association of Professional Dog Trainers)
3. Never stop training
So many dog owners believe that once their puppy has one command down, there is no need to keep practicing it later on. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Dogs need to keep learning throughout their entire lives. Here’s why:
- It strengthens your bond. Puppies and dogs need lots of love and attention from their owners. The stronger the bond, the more loyal and loving they will be.
- The “use it or lose it” rule. When you stop training your puppy on one command, they are not likely to remember it very well later on in life. Keeping his skills fresh is ideal.
- Engaging your pup’s brain tires him out in an enriching way. Dogs are on their best behavior when they are asleep or resting; training is a great way to do this while still paying attention and care to him.
- It makes him happy! Puppies love to learn. They love playing, and though you may not realize it, training can be like a game for them.
4. Use positive reinforcement
Puppies learn best through the use of positive reinforcement. They aim to please their owners; doing so gives them a feeling of accomplishment! When you use these positive techniques, you are training your furry little pal to keep up the good work, something that they desperately want to do anyway! Here’s what you need to know about this method of training:
- Reward good behavior. This involves giving him a treat, words of encouragement, his favorite toy, and/or positive physical reactions like a signal or petting! Be sure to mix it up and combine some of these to keep things exciting. Different dogs are motivated by different things.
- Use a happy and excited tone of voice. Dogs can begin to understand the training words that you use, but they do not understand English or any other language, for that matter. The tone of your voice is what matters. When you sound happy, they will be happy!
- Stick to certain verbal phrases that your pup will come to recognize over time. Usually, dog owners elect to use phrases like “good boy” or “good job!”
5. Spend lots of time together
Puppies are just beginning to explore their strange, new surroundings. They are introduced to sounds, sights, and smells that they have never known before. This can lead to fear and confusion, which is normal but not ideal for training. If you want your pup to get past being afraid, you must spend time bonding with him. You should:
- Spend a lot of time training in fun ways. It strengthens your bond while being fun for your pup.
- Play together! Sometimes, the best way to get a puppy to want to train is to play with him. Once he has a lot of fun and discovers that his surroundings aren’t that scary after all, it will be easier to go about getting down to business.
6. Teach your puppy how to be alone
Unfortunately, you can’t always spend time playing with your puppy. Most people have work, errands, and other engagements that keep them from taking care of them 24/7. This is why you need to teach your pup that it is okay to spend some time by himself. Dogs are social beings, so they get stressed and lonely when you leave. This may be tough to handle at first, but they will get used to it. If you don’t do it now, you only make things worse for your pet later.
How to Do It
You should begin training your puppy to be alone by confining him to a safe area while you are still home. Going straight from being home all the time with him to leaving for hours is not ideal. This safe area could be a pen or a spacious crate. Even an area with baby gates attached to doors can be a good idea!
To get him acclimated to this new environment, there are a few things you should do.
- Start by quietly walk out of the room while he is occupied. Return almost immediately and reward him with a treat. You can stay out of the room for longer as this training progresses.
- When the puppy stays quiet for longer periods of time, come back and check on him occasionally; reward him and quietly leave again.
- If he whines, do not let him out immediately. He will begin to associate this behavior with being let free, and he will do it every time he’s in this space. Instead, start with short periods of confinement, doing only what he can handle.
- After your pet has gone through the necessary basic training, he can stay home without being confined while you are gone.
There you have it! These are some of the tips that you need to succeed and keep both your puppy and you happy. It is never too early to start training; be confident, patient, and positive. With time, you will see the results you were hoping for.
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!