Training a puppy
Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Puppies. They are so cute, but, they can be a tad disobedient, so it is important to train them, right from the get go!
One of the most important things to keep in mind when training your puppy is to make sure you are consistent in your methods. Your puppy should be able to know what you expect from him and when he does, he will be more confident, which is a win for you and your pup!
Positive reinforcement is one of the best methods for training a puppy. This is where you give your puppy a treat to enforce the behaviour you want them to do, whether that be sitting, staying or coming to you. This way, you are training your puppy with something she values. Never punish your puppy when training her even if you are frustrated. This can just cause dogs to be confused and unsure of what they are meant to be doing, and worse of all, they could become scared. It is so important to build a relationship with trust and patience.
When choosing what treat to give them, try making it something really special, something they can't resist! The better the reward, the faster they will learn! When you are giving the treat, remember to praise them. Something like, "good boy/girl" is a good one and say it in a happy high voice. This shows them that if they do something good, you are happy and if you are happy they are likely to get that yummy treat!
When should you start training and for how long?
From around 8 weeks old is a good time to start training a puppy but make sure the sessions are very brief and always end on a happy note! A 5-10 minutes session is more than enough, but you can do this 2-3 times a day.
What a some basic commands?
Sit: Probably the easiest command is the good old sit. To teach sit, hold a treat to your puppy's nose. Then lift your hand and the treat until his head follows your hand. This will naturally cause his bottom to lower to the ground in a sitting position. Once he is sitting, say the word sit and give him his treat and praise him.
Practise this command a few times a day, and also at times you want him to sit, such as when you are giving him his dinner.
Come: This is a really important one, in fact it could be a lifesaver, especially if your puppy slips out of her leash one time! Start this training session indoors. To begin, sit with your puppy and say “come (name)” and then give her a treat. They do not have to do anything in this step except stay beside you. Keep practising this a few times.
Another way to do this would be to have someone hold her in one room, while you either go to the end of the room or another room entirely. Then call her, with the come command. Make sure you are using a happy, enthusiastic voice and give her plenty of praise and her treat when she comes to you! The point is that if every time she comes to you, you are excited to see her, then she will have no reason not to come when called!
Stay: So what is the opposite of come? Stay of course!
Start teaching stay once your puppy has mastered the sit. Get him into a sit position and hold your hand up, palm forward and say “stay,” while you slowly move away from him. If he moves out of the sit then come right back toward him and start over. This can get a bit tedious, but it will eventually happen! Once he remains in the stay position even if you have only moved ever so slightly away from him, praise him with his treat! Once he stays, increase the length of time you keep him in the stay and then you can use the come command.
Remember to reward his his treat and plenty of praise.
You eventually want to be able to work up to a stay command where you can move out of eyesight and then make him come to you on the come command!
You should also consider puppy training classes. The puppy will be learning in a group situation, with real life distractions. They are a great way for your puppy to socialise and meet all types of people and other puppies. Puppy preschool is not only good for your puppy it is good for you too, it teaches you to understand your puppy and gives your more bonding time together too.
Lastly, training a puppy takes repetition, time and perseverance. But have fun with it too! xx