Once you bring your new dog home, it's smart to begin training immediately. But where should you start? What's the best way to train a puppy? Here are 10 tips and techniques you can use to help with the first stage in puppy training:
1) Understand the breed - This is by far the most important thing even before deciding on bringing a new pupy to your home. The breed of dog must suit you, your family and your lifestyle. Whilst all dogs require exercise to be balanced, healthy and happy, some breeds such as the Belgian Mallinois and Huskies are high energy and require additional exercise, if you are not able to provide this then sleect a lower energy breed. The same can be said with other traits found in different breeds, do your research!
2) Socialising - In order to avoid issues later on, your pupy needs to be socialised. Socialisation should be a constant routine, especially in the early years. Introduce your puppy to other dogs, different people and other animals. Always ensure that your puppy is calm when doing this, don't introduce other people or animals to your puppy when they are over excited.
3) House training - The last thing you want for the next 10-15 years is for your house to be used as a doggy toilet. House training is important from the early years. Your puppy needs to learn that toilet is done when outside, either in the garden or on a walk. This process is eased with routine, feed your puppy at similar times everyday and similarly let them outside or take them for a walk at similar times. At the begnining take them outside after they have eaten or had a drink, they will be more inclined to go to the toilet straight after.
4) Crate training - When it is not possible to supervise your puppy, a crate is used. It is important to make the crate comfortable right from the start and it is a great way to ensure that your puppy is comfortable through the night. It is also not common for a dog to go toilet in the same place that they sleep so crate training will also assist in toilet training, they will be more inclined to wait until the morning when you take them outside.
5) Separation anxiety - Your puppy be no douby be the cutest thing in your world where you want to spend every waking moment with it. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to separation anxiety. Get your puppy used to being on their own, start with short lengths of time and then gradually increase it
6) Chewing - Your puppy will love to chew on things, especially when they are teething. This can often be on expensive coffee tables, door frames or your expensive leather sofas. Chewing should be encouraged but directed. Corrections must be given when inappropriate chewing is happening, and redirection should follow with suitable dog approved chew toys.
7) Positive Reinforcement - Whilst trianing your puppy, and as a regular occurance throughout their lives, positive reinforcement must be given when they are exhibiting behaviours that you want. When they listen to instruction, or remain calm and balanced through distraction, reinforce the behaviour with praise or treats.
8) Basic Obedience - As soon as you bring your puppy home you can start practicing basic obedience. Teaching commands not only provides you with important control but provides structure for your puppy that they will like. Dogs are pack animals therefore through the hierarchy they take instruction from other pack members. It is your job to become the alpha of your pack so work on commands like sit, stay, lie down and come on command.
9) Keep calm and positive - Dogs are incredible animals and they sense energies. If you are angry, impatient or tense they sense it and they can easily replicate that energy. Remember, you are the pack leader and a role model to your puppy. Keep calm, positive and assertive, when giving instruction never do it with anger, always be calm and assertive.
10) Teach your puppy to relax - To make your life happier, and your puppy's life easier, teach relaxation, especially when there are distractions around. The last thing you want is for your puppy to be calm and relaxed when you are alone together but then to turn into wildly energetic whirlwinds when you start cleaning or when guests are around. The key here is to expose your puppy to as many different situations and possible, to always remain calm, and to provide positive reinforcement for good behaviour.