Are you wondering when or how to start training your puppy? The short answer is right NOW! The following puppy training basics will help you and your puppy start learning today!
It’s never too early to train your puppy.
You should start teaching and training your puppy from the moment you bring him home. Day one. You may have never thought about it, but you already started training your puppy with your everyday actions. Think about this…
If your puppy jumps on you with excitement and you pet him, you are training him jumping equals attention. If your puppy barks and you pet him and tell him it’s okay, you are training him: if I bark, I get petted. Get it?
Your puppy is smart; he starts learning from his mom the moment he is born. The mamma dog continues to teach her puppies until you take him home. So as soon as you bring your puppy home, you are in charge of teaching him puppy manners.
Following are 7 puppy training tips to help you get started today:
1. Your Puppy’s Name
Your puppy’s name will be his life-long connection to you. A name is so much more than a just a name. The purpose of a name is to get your dog to look at you, to pay attention to you. So his name is actually a command. The command is “look at me and wait for my next command”, whether that is COME or SIT or anything else.
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Teaching a puppy or dog his name is pretty simple, call his name and as soon as he looks at you give him a lot of praise and/or treats. Repeat this several times, take a break and repeat. Over the next few days to a week, you will notice your puppy learning his name.
The name should only be used in positive situations. Try not to use his name to correct bad behavior. Trust me, I know this is extremely difficult, I still have trouble remembering not to use my dog’s names when telling them NO. Use your dog’s name only when you want him to come to you or get his attention for a positive command, this will help tremendously in your future recall training.
Still looking for that perfect name for your new puppy? Find 300+ Best Dog Names for Your New Rescue Dog.
2. Daily Routines and Your Puppy
When you first bring your puppy home, he’ll need to know where his water, bed, crate, and toys are located. Show your puppy where he will go outside to go potty. Do not overwhelm him right away with the entire house; the best way to introduce your new puppy to his new home is to choose a small area that he can learn for the first few days.
3. Potty Training
You’ll want to potty train your puppy right away to keep your sanity! It’s pretty simple, but it takes a lot of consistency and patience. Follow these steps and your puppy will be on his way to going potty outside soon.
It’s important to understand that six-week-old puppies do not have full control of their bladders yet. You must be patient, and expect accidents.
4. Puppy Mouthing, Biting and Chewing
How do I get my puppy to stop biting me?! This is one of the most common questions I hear. Those puppy teeth are sharp and they hurt A LOT! But nipping is a natural behavior for a puppy. Being consistent in telling your puppy you do not like being nipped or mouth and eventually, she will outgrow this phase. In the meantime, read How do I get my puppy to stop biting me.
5. Build Trust with Your Puppy
To grow a healthy relationship between you and your puppy, she needs to trust you. Just like any relationship between people, if you can’t trust someone, you aren’t going to want to listen to them. Same goes for your dog. So you ask, “How do I build trust with my dog?” It’s simple, follow these 4 steps and you will build a trusting relationship that will last a lifetime:
- Always be kind to your dog. This may seem really basic, and it is. But if you scream, hit, kick or push your dog she will never trust you.
- Spend time bonding with your dog. Petting, walking, playing, training, watching TV curled up on the couch together, are all great ways to bond with your dog.
- Always be consistent in training and expectations. Your dog will never know what to expect from you if you are not consistent.
- Be your dog’s advocate. As a dog parent, it is your responsibility to protect and keep her safe. Introduce her to new situations slowly until she gains the confidence to feel safe. Don’t ever put her in stressful situations where she feels insecure or threatened.
6. Puppy Socialization Skills
Socialize your puppy as soon as possible, it will be important in creating a balanced dog. There is a small window that is considered the ideal time to socialize a puppy, between the ages of 3 weeks and 16 weeks. Frequently introduce your dog to new sights, sounds, and smells. Keep things slow, you don’t want to overwhelm your new puppy! Meet new people in a variety of situations, take your puppy to public areas to introduce her to even more news sights, sounds and smells. Take a puppy class to help introduce your puppy to other puppies. Never introduce your puppy to a strange dog, or take her to the dog park at this age. These situations are too unpredictable, if something goes wrong it will do more harm than good.
There is a great article on the AKC website, Puppy Socialization: Why, When, and How to Do It Right.
7. Basic Commands: Sit, Down, Stay
If you’ve never trained a dog before, I suggest signing up for a puppy training class right away. Not only will you learn the training skills, but as mentioned above, your puppy will get exposure to other puppies and situations that will help in the socialization skills. Teach your young puppy how to SIT, DOWN, and STAY in a fun motivational way by using treats, toys or even a clicker.
I hope this puppy training guide helps you get on the right track with your new dog. Puppies are cute, fun and loving, but also a lot of work. Remember to be patient and consistent in your training, and before you know it, you will have a well-behaved young dog!