Puppy Training Tips
Training your puppy lasts forever, make it part of your daily routine from day one, and remember practice makes perfect, any progress is good progress, BE PATIENT!
A good starting point is the “SIT” command.
Get your puppy’s full attention by saying his/her name and ensure their focus is on you. Hold a treat at nose level then slowly move the treat backwards over the forehead, encouraging the puppy to follow the treat with their nose. Be sure to give the command “sit” repeatedly while performing this exercise until your puppy fully understands the command. As soon as the puppy sits, give the treat and praise. Avoid pushing your puppy into a sitting position.
Ask you pup to sit before meals.
Always use your puppy's name before giving the command. That way you will have his attention.
Train your pup by positive reinforcement. Initially always reward him with a food treat until you know that he understands what he is expected to do. Then only give the treat randomly, but ALWAYS give him lots of PRAISE when he does the right thing.
Train your pup at different times and in different places so that he doesn't become a dog who is only obedient in the kitchen at dinner time.
Stand with your puppy at your side and give the “stay” command and hand signal. Initially do not move at all but reward your puppy for staying still after a few seconds. When you feel your puppy is starting to understand this command, give the “stay” command and take one step away from him/her, then step back and give praise and a reward. Gradually increase the distance and time away from your puppy.
Always use a ‘release’ command (such as OK, Finish, or Free) when you have finished this exercise so your puppy knows it is okay to move away from you.
Be vigilant – remember every ‘accident’ is a result of your own inattention
Recognise the signs that your puppy needs to go to the toilet – sniffing the floor, circling, tail posture
Use a ‘toilet’ command when you see your puppy relieving him/herself in the correct place so he/she learns what you want him/her to do
Remember to praise your puppy when he/she toilets in the correct place
Never rub your puppy’s nose in their urine/faeces – this will make your puppy reluctant to relieve themselves in front of you and can lead to behavioural problems such as eating their own faeces
Ensure you clean up any ‘accidents’ with non-ammonia based cleaning products to avoid your puppy returning to the same spot
What if my puppy doesn't obey?
Have you got his attention? Try clapping your hands or changing the tone of your voice. You don't need to shout, you just need to be more exciting than the distraction.
Is he getting tired? Puppies have very short attention spans.
Does he understand the command or what is expected of him?
WALKING NICELY ON A LEASH
As with all your training, be patient and consistent. Ensure your puppy is well used to wearing a collar before attaching the leash.
- With the puppy in the SIT position beside you, start walking and hold a treat at the puppy’s nose level to prevent him jumping up.
- Give the command ‘Heel’ and keep walking while your puppy walks calmly beside you. Do not keep repeating the ‘Heel’ command continually, however, when he/she is succeeding, reward the correct behaviour by giving a treat and praise including the command, e.g. “Good girl, Heel”.
- As soon as the puppy pulls on the lead, STOP – the puppy will soon learn that if he/she doesn’t pull on the lead, he/she will get to go for a walk.
If puppies become bored in their environment they may chew and destroy items, dig or bark constantly. By enriching a puppy's environment owners can provide enough physical exercise and mental stimulation to relieve boredom and the associated anti-social behaviours.
Enrich your puppies environment by:
- Providing chew and play toys
- Provide activities to keep them entertained e.g. shallow pool filled with water
- Exercise your pup mentally or physically before going out for long periods of time
It is important to ‘expose’ your pet as a puppy to many of the things it will encounter in his/her everyday life with you as soon as possible. This includes, but is not limited to;
• Other animals in your household/lifestyle block/farm
• Other family members - especially young children
• Household appliances (vacuum cleaner, washing machine etc), lawnmower
• Travelling in the car.
Remember that your puppy’s ability to cope with these things is directly affected by your reaction to their reaction! For example, if the puppy displays fearful behaviour in reaction to the vacuum cleaner and you ‘reassure’ the puppy, telling him/her “it’s okay” and generally making a fuss of him/her, the puppy then learns that this is how you would like him to react each time he encounters this situation. Ignoring the undesirable (fearful) behaviour is the correct way to react, however if the puppy becomes unduly distressed, quietly remove him/her from the situation and try again later.
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