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The Ultimate Guide To Training Your Puppy

Updated on September 17, 2019
Luke Fitzpatrick profile image

In my spare time, I enjoy writing about parenting, productivity, and home improvement.

When you have a new puppy enters your home and family life, it can all be very exciting and new, especially for your new puppy. If you have young children in the family, a new puppy can be a very overwhelming experience and will provide a lot of happiness and joy to everyone. It is definitely worth investing time and effort into training your new family member.

The importance of training

Dogs are pack animals. They enjoy and need a leader in order to feel a part of the pack and to know who to please (their leader). As soon as you get home with your puppy, training starts almost straight away. You are now the pack leader and as soon as your puppy understands this, they will work towards making their leader (you) happy.

Training your dog also means leading a stress-free life. It is quite known that having a dog can relieve stress in humans, but having a dog can also cause a lot of stress if your dog is disobedient, does not behave and is not trained. Having a trained dog can mean making them, you and your neighbors happy. A well-behaved dog is always a pleasure to own and will contribute to the stress-free environment in your home.

The whole point of dog training is not to intimidate, scare or cause a dog physical, emotional pain. Training a dog allows humans to help a dog to learn how to communicate with another species (humans) and to help us provide for their very different needs and natural instincts as a dog. Not only will they feel better about having a decent leader, but they’ll also understand how to communicate with you, how to understand your commands and how you can all live happily and harmoniously together.

When to start training and how

You may be itching to take your new bundle of joy out for a walk to show them off around the neighborhood. You may be looking forward to taking them to the local dog park to start socializing with other dogs as soon as possible.

Sure, it’s great to socialize your puppy with other dogs, but it really is best to ensure all vaccinations and shots are given to your puppy before socializing and taking it out for walks. It is better to be safe than sorry. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t start training your puppy before taking them out into the big outside world.

Introduce their collar and lead

A collar or harness with a lead may be a little intimidating to your puppy. They won’t know what it is and maybe a little scared. The best thing to do is introduce it to the puppy when they’re in a positive situation. You may be playing with them, feeding them or giving them attention. That’s a good time to put the collar and lead on them so that they get used to it. If they resist or are a bit scared, offer some treats to lighten the situation and have them get used to it.

Take your dog for a walk

Not out on the streets or at the dog park, but certainly start walking them in and around the house or even in your backyard. This will allow your puppy to get used to you leading them around on a lead and help them to get used to the collar or harness. You can even walk them outside on the lead when they are being toilet trained to train them to go to the toilet where you want and not let them have free range of the whole yard.

Start obedience training

Between three and six months is a good window to start your puppy with obedience training. Start with basic actions such as “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “heel” and “down”. These actions will need to be consistently taught amongst family members so that they do not get confused. In other words, everyone should use the same words and actions when teaching the puppy.

Be the pack leader

Although your official obedience training doesn’t start until they reach three to six months of age, your pack leadership skills should start from day one. Many people are natural leaders in the workplace but melt when they are with their puppy and cannot figure out why their dog is being disobedient. The truth is, dogs love to have a leader they can follow and you should be that leader. Start being the pack leader right from day one to help them grow into a healthy, balanced and well-behaved dog.

Toilet training

It goes without saying how important it is to toilet train your new puppy. Not only will you ensure your home is kept clean, but you’ll also be teaching your puppy that you are the leader and you want them to go to the toilet outside. Remember that puppies under 12 weeks of age often don’t have full control of their bladder, so even if they are beginning to understand that they should be doing their business inside, they may not be able to control it.

Although it can be difficult at first to teach them where it is the right place to do their business, it is essential that you keep calm and understanding. Understand that it will take some time for them to get used to the rules.

Never hit your puppy if they make a mistake and go to the toilet inside. Instead, remain calm and quiet and place them in the place that you want them to go instead. When they successfully go to the toilet outside, it deserves rewards and you should show them that they have done a good job. They will soon learn that they need to go outside if they need to.

Basic commands to teach

You will learn quite a few basic commands at obedience school, but you can always start to teach them before going to classes. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to teaching commands, so be sure that everyone in the family knows what words will mean to them.

Sit

This is one of the easiest commands to teach, so it’s a great command to start your training with.

  • Hold a treat in front of your dog's nose whilst they stand, then slowly move the treat up in the air above them. This is to allow them to place their bottom down to look up further.

  • As they sit down, say “sit” to them. Give them the treat and offer praise.

  • Continue doing this so that they sit at their own accord when you ask them to.

  • You can then also ask them to sit before mealtimes, before leaving for walks, crossing the road or anytime you want them to remain calm and seated.

Come

This command is very helpful if your puppy needs to stay out of danger, gets away from your leash or if you happen to leave the front door open and want them to come back.

  • Place a leash on the collar of your puppy

  • Get down to their level and at a distance and say “come”

  • Tug gently on the lead until they walk to you

  • When the puppy gets to you, offer them a reward and give them affection

  • Continue doing so on the lead until they understand

  • Once they have mastered this move on the lead, remove the lead and do it in a contained and safe area, such as a backyard

Stay

Once your dog understands the sit command very well, you can continue from this and teach them to stay in their seated position.

  • Ask your dog to sit

  • Once they are sitting, show the palm of your hand and say “stay”

  • Move a couple of steps backward and reward them if they stay in position

  • Even if they only stay seated for a couple of seconds, it should be rewarded

  • Continue until you can take a few steps and stay back a bit further at a time

This command may take a little time to practice as it is a great exercise of self-control for your puppy and they are often quite energetic as a puppy.

Comments

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    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      18 months ago from South Dakota, USA

      You are SO right about being the pack leader. We had a German Shepherd that we raised from a puppy, and we made certain that she knew we were in charge from an early age. Nothing mean, just the usual techniques. Never, ever had a problem with obedience.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      19 months ago from UK

      I wish I had read this before looking after a young dog. I saw the value of training when friends brought their puppy to visit recently. Their training had certainly paid off.

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