PUPPY TRAINING TIPS

Ideally a puppy should not leave it’s mother and litter before the age of 8 weeks of age and this is the perfect time for you to bring your new puppy home.  When a new puppy comes into your family household there is a major alteration to the routine.  These puppy training tips are to help you during those first weeks and months when everything seems chaos and you have to have eyes in the back of your head to keep an eye on what puppy is up to.  This puppy needs to learn the rules of the pack and that you are the boss.  How do you do that?  Well, these tips for training your puppy from day one will set you on the path for a long and lasting relationship with your dog.

Puppy Training Tip No 1 – Socialisation

Puppy training and socialisation is imperative from the day your puppy becomes a member of the household. Nowadays there are many puppy socialisation and training classes for puppies from 8-12 weeks of age.  This is the critical age for bomb-proofing your puppy and exposing him/her to all sorts of people, dogs, sounds, sights and smells.  The more you can expose him to in these few weeks is imperative to his confidence and stability in situations later in life.  If you hide your puppy away not exposing him to anything, he will grow up being very fearful and nervous.  This can result in aggressive behaviour in situations where they are not comfortable – growling and fear biting is a common outcome for this type of dog.  An excellent book we would strongly recommend any potential new puppy buyer to purchase is this one below which will give you ideas for setting up an “errorless training management” system for your puppy so that you don’t have to correct behaviour problems later.

THIS IS A MUST HAVE FOR ALL NEW PUPPY BUYERSBEFORE AND AFTER GETTING YOUR PUPPYBy Ian Dunbar 2004 Hardback, 216 pages USAOutlines everything you need to know to select the right puppy, as well as all the crucial lessons a puppy must be taught during its impressionable early development. In clear steps, with helpful photos and sidebars, Dr. Dunbar presents a structured yet playful plan built around six critical developmental deadlines: 1. Completing your education about puppy education 2. Evaluating your prospective puppy’s socialization & training 3. Errorless housetraining and chew toy-training 4. Socializing with new people 5. Learning reliable bite inhibition 6. Preventing predictable adolescent problems **This new book contains the same material as “Before You Get Your Puppy” , and “After You Get Your Puppy”.

Check out some of your local puppy training and socialisation classes.  Find out if they use positive reinforcement.  Are they qualified dog trainers?  Do they just throw all the puppies in together and let them fend for themselves amongst other puppies or do they have controlled and corrective methods in place when puppies get bullied by other puppies?  You don’t want your puppy thrown in a confined area with other puppies and left to fend for itself with no possible escape if bullying starts.  Does the class include interaction with strange people?  Is there any sort of basic training such as sit, come, stay included in the classes?  Do they expose puppies to different noises and people with funny clothing on?  The classes which include all of the above is a well balanced puppy socialisation course and would be the type to attend.  If the class just includes letting a bunch of puppies interact on the floor together then that is not real socialization.

Puppy Training Tip No 2 – Handling and Grooming

From day one when you bring your puppy home get him used to being handled and brushed.  The best way to get your puppy used to this is by starting immediately.  Run your hands all over him/her, look in the ears, look in the mouth to check the teeth and gums, touch his/her paws.  Do this every day and also get other people to do the same – all members of the family should get used to handling him.  Invite friends over and get them to look in his ears, check in his mouth and touch his paws and handle them as though they are going to clip his nails.  Would you rather pay a vet the $$$ it costs to clip his nails or to even have to put him under anaesthetic to do the job?  The best training tip is to start playing with your puppy’s paws from day one so that you will be able to do the job yourself and save yourself a lot of money.  If something happens to your puppy later down the track and he/she is used to being handled then it makes things a lot easier for all.

Puppy Training Tip No 3 – Biting

Puppies need to bite.  At about 6 months of age they lose their baby teeth and grow adult teeth. In the litter if a puppy bites another puppy too hard the puppy that has been bitten squeals loudly.  This is how they learn how hard they should bite.  So when puppy comes home and starts biting our hands or feet immediately give a sharp squeal.  What the puppy needs to learn is NOT whether or not it should bite BUT how hard to bite.  Good bite inhibition means that when a dog goes to snap or bite due to sudden pain or fear that it will have a soft mouth and not do any damage.  The puppy should learn this by the time he is four and a half months of age.  Biting is a reaction to something and if your dogs goes to bite but doesn’t do any harm then you know he has learnt good bite inhibition at a young age.

Puppy Training Tip No 4 – Jumping

Jumping can become a problem as a dog gets older.  When a puppy is small and cute we encourage them to put their paws up so we can pat them.  Really, what is happening is that the puppy is learning it is ok to get up at people. Instead, if you puppy starts jumping, ignore the behaviour or turn your back, and as soon as he/she stands still with four paws on the ground and then give him/her attention and pats.  You can even reward this behaviour with a treat every now and then.  As soon as he/she jumps again turn your back and ignore.  The dog will eventually get the lesson.

Puppy Training Tip No 5 – Coming When Called

Probably one of the most important exercises your puppy will need to learn.  The puppy learns his name very quickly and will start to respond to it.  Make coming when called a game and crouch or sit on the floor and call him/her to you.  Have two people involved and calling the puppy between the two people.  An important tip for this exercise to get into the habit of is to use the puppy’s name to get his attention only.  Use the word “come” for his recall response.

Puppy Training Tip No 6 – Be Consistent

The most important training tip we can give is to be consistent with your commands and words.  If you want the puppy to lie down, use one word for one action.  For example, if you teach him/her to lie down to the word “down” then if the puppy is lying on the couch and you want him/her to get off and you use the word “down” expect him to lie down and not get off. You will need to find another word to get off.

REMEMBER:- Puppy training should be FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

There are so many more puppy training tips that it is impossible to go into them all here.  By going to a good puppy training school or class they will go into a lot more detail about training and give you the information and elaborate on the tips we have listed above.