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The Ultimate New Puppy Training Guide

Updated on August 4, 2011

Training Your New Puppy!

Bringing home a puppy is a big task, and is something that needs to be planned, and well thought out, long before actually bringing the new pet into your home! TRUST ME I have been breeding all different breed of dogs for all my life. As you will read, puppy's are alot like toddlers, and there are many things you can do to curb bad behavior as it arises, as well as teach and guide your pet to make the correct decisions around the home! The first 8 months of your puppy's life is when they need the most attention, teaching, handling, even nutritional needs are much more important at this stage in development!

Puppy Training

Puppy Training
Puppy Training

What is Covered

This guide will help you understand how to do the following and much much more!

  • Stop Bad Behavior When and Where it starts
  • Understand the importance of Crate Training
  • Learn how to command respect and keep eye contact
  • Learn how to effectively teach you new pet
  • learn about instinctive needs and behaviors
  • Learn about nutritional needs
  • Vaccinations and vet visits
  • Bathing

The following are some of the commands we will cover

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Lay Down
  • Shake
  • Go Home
  • Outside
  • Come
  • Go
  • Audible Stop (a noise used to stop unwanted behavior)

Puppy Training

Puppy Training
Puppy Training

Potty Training Your Puppy

Potty training your puppy can be simplified, and or handled in multiple ways, it is important to pick a plan and stick with it for the pets entire life! Consistency is a key factor in loyalty building as well as respect. The best way I have found to house break a new puppy comes from different strategies brought together. First of all, don't be gullible enough to believe your new pet isnt going to have accidents in your home! Its going to happen, when they are 8 weeks old they are in a  stage that is basically like infants coming into toddler stage. So this means all of thier organs are still small and developing, bladder included. A puppy may not be able to fully physically control their urinary functions up until 16 weeks.

The method I find to be most effective is a combination between crate training and designated area training. To employ this method you will need puppy training pads, and a crate large enough for the puppy to grow into. As a general rule of thumb, you need to get a cage large enough for the puppy to sit up in, turn around, and lie down. DO NOT GET A CAGE TOO LARGE! If your bringing home a lap dog, don't go out and buy the cage for the german sheapherds, if you do, you will be making the training, and house breaking more difficult, as it cannot effectively make the pet feel confined and can create anxiety Even Confusion. You need to be sure that your pet is comfortable in the cage, and the cage cannot be used for diciplinary reasons up until 10 months of age. The cage is to be used more like a home, and comfortable place for your pet to relax. Placing a few toys and a pillow in the cage can help this.

The way you need to execute this training method is to place the puppy in its cage when you are away, or the puppy is going to be left alone. When you return, immediately take the pet outside, or to a designated spot. Giving praise and or a treat only when the puppy expels waste. If you use puppy training pads, make sure you only place them in one area of your home. Don't go putting them in every corner as it will cause confusion. The benefit to using puppy training pads is that if your pet starts to go potty inside, the puppy pad is a lot closer than the back door! So when this happens, you are able to shout NO! and gently pick the pet up and move it to the pad! praising the puppy only if it uses the pad! DO NOT EVER rub your puppy's face in its own excrement. Contrary to popular belief this is a horrible way to train, and can lead the pet to unwanted behaviors like eating its feces, panic about using puppy pads, and anxiety in general. Remember your pet wants to make the right decision and is looking to you for guidence, When the pet has an accident, you must make sure to help the puppy make the correct decision next time. Be sure to let the puppy know you are unhappy with the behavior by verbally saying NO! or BAD DOG! and pointing right to the puppy's eyes, while making eye contact. You should never hit, or smack a puppy until 12 months of age. Once again this can cause confusion, anxiety and will make the training process harder. Treats a good tool for training a new puppy, and should be given only for potty training for the first week or until the puppy has figured out that treats are rewards for good behavior! After the puppy has figured this out you can slowly move into using it for teaching commands! You should always say TREAT when giving the treat, and before teaching a command! Keeping eye contact can help boost the training with the puppy.

Stopping Bad Behavior At The Source
Stopping Bad Behavior At The Source

Stopping bad behavior when and where it starts!

It is important to stop your pet while it is in the act of behaving badly, for example, when it is peeing on the carpet, not 5 minutes after. Anytime your puppy is doing something that is an unwanted behavior, you must get the pets attention, gain eye contact, and command NO! or BAD DOG! and immediately take corrective measures, or show the pet what you would rather it do. For example, if the puppy is peeing inside, Stop him in the act, and move him to the designated area, then encourage the puppy to continue this behavior in an acceptable area! If your puppy is chewing on something it shouldn't you need to catch him in the act, gain control, or attention, and say NO! BAD DOG! immediately after this give the puppy an acceptable chew toy and praise him after he starts to chew the toy! It is 100% important to use positive re enforcement and to stop the puppy in the act, so that there is no confusion about why he is being scolded and so that the corrective measure sinks in quickly! Remember no hitting, or caging until 10 and 12 months. 10 months for caging, and 12 months for a swat on the muzzle.

Crate Training

Puppy Training
Puppy Training

The Importance of eye contact

Eye contact is important when training your puppy. There are several reasons behind this! The first and most important being that instinctively dogs use eye contact within the pack to communicate, everything from hunting, to breeding. The way you can benefit from this is to gain the position of pack leader and making sure that your dog is looking to you for guidance, as you will learn while teaching this method, there are several things your dog can tell you by simply looking in your eyes. For example most guard dogs or protective dogs will bark at someone passing their territory, and usually if that animals pack leader is around, the dog will look to the leader for an indication of how to handle himself. If you are also looking to the passerby and are showing concern or approaching the person, the dog will do the same, If you make eye contact with your dog, and indicate how you are going to handle the situation, the dog will usually follow suite. This is assuming that you have established your role as the pack leader, and your dog is using eye contact with you. You should always use eye contact when giving a command, Pointing right directly into your puppy's eyes while training will help your chances of succeeding. Like wise if you are having problems gaining your puppy's attention, you should get right into the puppys lign of sight and make your presence know. Take control. And command respect and you will surely have created a loyal bond between you and your new puppy!

Puppy Bath Time

Puppy Training
Puppy Training

Training your pet how to behave during bathing

This can be a big problem for larger breeds. If your trying to carry a 150 lb. dog into your bath tub while its fighting you tooth and nail to get back out the door and escape defeat you can imagine life could be a little rough! The simple way to nip this in the bud is to teach your puppy at an early age, that bath time is fun! The puppy should be bathed about once a month, and during that time you need to be talking to the puppy, telling the puppy how pretty it is, petting it, comforting it, and being sure to reward for good behavior. When done correctly, your puppy should identify bath time as a pampering, and comforting experience. Do not allow the water to become an enemy of your puppy, or you will be fighting a losing battle for the entire life of the new pet! When selecting shampoo for your new puppy, stay away from flea and tick formulas until 10 months of age, also try selecting a formula with oatmeal, to help your puppy's scalp, and to add shine to your puppy fur. Bath water should be luke warm, and never hot! be sure that its not to cold either as this can cause you pet to become ill. Remember to keep eye contact and use positive re enforcement.

Puppy Training

Puppy Training
Puppy Training

Audible stop Command That can save your dogs life!

An audible stop command is basically non verbal communication. This is something that your pet can learn at about 6 months old. The idea here is to teach the pet to respond to a sound, such as a whistle, a clap, or the snap of a finger. The benefit of teaching a command like this is that it can offer you a way to gain your pets attention and stop any kind of behavior that isn't wanted. I live on a country road and I cant tell you how many times my Labs have started chasing off neighbors, or chasing kids on bikes, or cars for that matter. What I have found that works best for my larger dogs is a whistle, I carry my dog whistle whenever I am outside, and it works well. When I blow that thing, all 3 of them will sit down and look to me for instruction! Its truly amazing the loyalty you can build with a pack of dogs, as long as they know you are the Alpha, The Leader! The way I taught them to do this was while outside, I would let them run around, and staying close I would blow that whistle and say NO! SIT! anytime they where doing something I didn't like. After about 3 weeks of this they began to do it as a pack, anytime they would hear me whistle. I noticed shortly after that they were all looking at each other and me to guide them on what to do next. Using this to my advantage I was then able to teach them to stay, or come, or go, any time after I blew that whistle and they sat down and waited instructions! It is equally valuable if the puppy comes to you when you issue the audible stop command. The reason this can save your pets life, is if he should wonder near a road, or into traffic, or the puppy has lost focus and ran off to investigate a smell, you can quickly gain attention, and give a command that could save the puppy's life!

My smaller dogs do well with the snap of a finger, remember this is to stop unwanted behavior, after 12 months old if you are issuing the audible stop command and the puppy isnt responding, begin disciplinary crate training. Making the dog respect your wishes, and stopping him from unwanted behavior. When using the crate to discipline, it is important to make sure the puppy understands what is going on, Tell him BAD DOG anytime you are locking the door to correct behavior, be sure he isn't confused that he is being place in the crate because you are leaving, make sure he can see out, or hear you from another room. Let him wait for 30 minutes to an hour and then let the puppy out of the cage avoiding eye contact for a while to let him know your disappointed.

Teaching Commands

Teaching your puppy to respond to commands can be pretty easy, the trick is that if you notice something is working, use it! And use it consistently. As you have read! Eye contact is key to training, so use it here as well. Lets go over the first command your pet should learn, it is also the easiest. SIT! given as a verbal command, with eye contact. Grab a few treats, and spend around 30 minutes teaching this command. First sit down on the floor with your puppy, gain control or attention, and begin the verbal command. While telling the puppy to SIT! in one motion pres on the puppy rear legs in a down ward motion, and gently pull up on the puppy head, just under the chin, and make it look at you! As soon as this is done, give a small treat, and lots of praise! once the pet has began to move around or loses focus, give the command again, in the same fashion several times for about 30 minutes. Once your puppy has began doing this without you pressing on the behind or pulling on the muzzle, you need to start using an hand signal, or command. Once the puppy is responding to the verbal command and keeping eye contact with you, Begin executing the verbal command with a hand signal. The best way i have found to do this is to place your thumb in your palm and with the back of your hand facing the puppy, bring the hand in one steady motion from your waist to your chest. Doing this several times while giving the verbal command will help you in teaching other commands. Your puppy may not get it the first few times, but if you are consistent you will succeed. It is also important to consider how many treats you are feeding the puppy during training, i usually get 1-2 milk bones and break them down into smaller pieces. Instead of giving 5-6 whole milk bones for a training session. If you get the treats out before you start, you will save you and your pet the belly ache sure to follow when using more treats than necessary.

The next thing to train your puppy after he has learned to sit is LAY DOWN! Given as a verbal command, The best way to teach this command is to sit on the floor with your pet, and give the command for sit. While the puppy is sitting you should then place your hand flat on the floor and say LAY! or DOWN! While pressing gently on the puppy's shoulder blades, it is important that the puppy is paying attention to your hand being flat on the floor or showing the puppy your palm with all of your fingers pressed together, while making eye contact with you during this step, as soon as the puppy is laying flat, reward and praise him. repeating this several times over 30 minutes each day until the puppy is following the command. Use the commands to sit and lay down for a few days before moving onto a new command, giving it time to set in for the puppy.

STAY! This can be a hard command for some puppy's. The best way to teach this command is through trust. The puppy has to trust you, in order for you to use this method of training. If you have been using positive re enforcement with the puppy up until now this step shouldn't be to much of a hassle and most puppy's can pick it up pretty quickly! Unlike previous steps this command needs to be taught over a weeks time, employing it randomly, and rewarding and praising once achieved. What you need to do is gain control or attention, and while standing in front of your puppy, say STAY! and show the puppy the palm of your hand (much like how a police officer signals stop when directing traffic) Then slowly back up and away from the puppy, towards an exit in the room. Keep eye contact while backing away, and if the puppy should decide to move, Regain its attention and give the command again. Once you are a few feet away from the puppy break eye contact, and move to the exit. Once you are at the exit turn and make eye contact again and give the command to stay! Then exit! wait a few moments and if the puppy hasn't moved, go into the room and reward and praise. If you find yourself having trouble with this approach, you can try to show the puppy that he will be getting a treat if he listens. This method should only be used as a last resort, because depending on the puppy's personality the first method may not work, however it breaks away from positive re enforcement and can cause unwanted behavior later in the puppy's life. These behaviors being looking for food remnants, and scouring for left over treats. If you notice your pet is doing this stop him immediately because it can lead to problems with the pet being around kids, especially kids with food.

Shake! Once the pet has learned to pay attention you you and your hand signals you are ready to teach him to shake! What you need to do to teach this command is to command the puppy to sit, and stay, using hand signals and eye contact, and once the dog is seated, kneel down and grab the paw, while saying, Shake? Using the voice inflection of asking the dog to shake helps! This command is more of a request than a command! And be sure the puppy understands this. The commands are things the puppy must learn to obey. Where as shake should be more of a "hey friend, how are ya" or a "thank you, for listening" The way to execute this is to ask the dog to shake? While grabbing the paw, and shaking it! Do not reward until the puppy has discovered that this is a new command, and that he need to react by volunteering his paw to you! Once the puppy has done this on his own, repeat the request several times while offering rewards and praise each time for his obedience!

COME! This is a fairly easy command to teach and should be used more with a hand signal than eye contact, the reason being of distance, if your puppy is out in the yard and just out of eye contact you must use another way of letting the puppy know you are talking to him! What you need to do is start indoors, with a few treats in hand. Command the puppy to sit, and stay! back away from the puppy and after a few minutes or so give the command to COME! While giving the verbal command, give the same hand signal as you do for sit, only waving towards yourself instead of using one steady motion. After the pet comes, immediately reward, and praise and exercise this over the next week with the puppy!

OUTSIDE! This is a great command, and should be used to replace the "go potty?" or "go pee?" Instead of asking the pet to go pee, or potty, Simply tell the puppy every time you are outside and he is going potty, Outside, Good Dog! Outside! Good Dog! After a few days you should be able to ask the puppy OUTSIDE? and getting some sort of result. Some puppy's will bolt for the door, others dig at your knee, some may even show excitement, when this happens take the puppy outside, and reward him when he goes potty!

GO! is a command that should be used to scold the puppy! At about 7-8 months old begin teaching this command when the puppy is exhibiting unwanted behavior, or when he is bothering you or a guest. Teach this command by pointing away from the puppy and saying GO! if the puppy is confused about how to react, gently pick him up and place him in his cage. Don' close the door, however command the puppy to stay, and trust that he will obey your command. If after several tries the puppy is still coming out of his cage, close him in for 15-20 minutes. After he has gone, and stayed away on his own for a few moments you should find the puppy and offer a reward, telling him good dog go! Good Dog Go!

Puppy Training

Vaccination VET Visits And Nutrition

These three things aren't related to training your puppy, however they can have a huge impact on how well they respond to you. Vaccination, and VET visits are vital withing the first six months of your puppy's life. The puppy needs to be vaccinated before 12 months old with ALL of his shots. Although the shots should be administered throughout the 12 month period and not all at one time on the 12th month. Like wise it is important to de worm all new puppy's because most of them are born with the parasite, after 8 weeks you can administer a de worming gel via oral syringe. The easiest way to be sure nothing is missed is to take the puppy for a VET visit just after you have made it a part of the family.

Nutrition, This is a HUGE factor in everything from health to behavior, to potty training. I personally use Royal Canin dog food, because they offer specially formulated foods for baby dogs, puppy's and then the breed specific food that is to be given after 12 months of age. The best part of the Royal Canin Diet is that it is formulated to stimulate brain development, immune system, and it even stimulates the diet. All while maintaining a high quality food. The other thing that i like is that they offer breed specific foods. One for Labs, One for Chihuahua's One for Pits etc. The reason I enjoy this so much is simply because its so obvious that a Chihuahua's nutritional needs are different than a Lab's.Each food caters to the pets specific nutritional and health needs!


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