Training Dogs; Starting out, house training a puppy!
In the first of a series of articles helping you with training dogs we are going to look at the basics of house training a puppy. When you first take your puppy home it can be hard to know how best to help it settle in over the first few hours and days. We will explain some of the best ways to take the stress away from both your new puppy and you. The first real challenge in training your dog can be to house train it. Teaching it when and where is acceptable to toilet and establishing good behaviour from the start.
We have written a series of articles on training your dog from its first days in your home through to tips and tricks for basic commands and beyond. Lookout for the links on the right hand side that will take you to the more advanced training techniques. Undoubtedly a well trained dog can be a truly fantastic addition to any family. Where as an untrained and unruly pooch can be very stressful, exhausting and expensive!
Training Dogs - Bringing your puppy home!
Bringing your new puppy home for the first time can be very exciting but remember that for the puppy it can be a very stressful experience. If possible pick up your puppy in the morning so that it has all day to get used to its new environment. With this stress there is a good chance that the puppy will be car sick so it may be a good idea to ask the breeder not to feed it that morning. What you dont want is for the puppy to associate the car with unpleasant experiences. Ask the breeder for a cloth or piece of bedding from its previous home that will stil lcarry the scent of its parents and litter mates. This should help reduce the stress felt by the puppy.
When you arrive home it is important that you allow your puppy the recover from the stressful journey. Whilst you may be excited to play and show off your new puppy to family and friends, your dog needs time to adjust to its new family and surroundings. Many people make the mistake of shutting a new puppy in the kitchen or laundry on the first night but that can be very distressing for a puppy so recently separated from its parents. Consider instead allowing your puppy to sleep in its crate or bed in your own room.
Our article on Dog Crates and Kennels
- Choosing the best kennel
Having a kennel gives a dog its own special place to call home. A piece of territory where it can feel safe and rest between walks and play. Instinctively dogs in the wild would look for, or dig, shallow...
Training dogs - use of a crate
Many people are reluctant to use a crate for their puppy in the mistaken belief that it is mistreatment and cruel. Undeniably leaving a puppy alone for hours locked in a cage is appauling, however use of a crate can have significant benefits for puppy and owner. It can rapidly speed up the house training process and provide your puppy with a secure, snug place to rest.
Remember that even domesticated dogs still retain many of their wild instincts. In the wild dogs would instinctively find small, sheltered areas to sleep. Just big enough to turn around and lie down in. With a comfy bed inside, a crate gives your puppy its own 'den' to feel safe in.
The fundamental purpose of the crate is about rewarding and encouraging your puppy to live an obedient life. Encouraging your puppy to make decisions that are entirely in tune with your own wishes. Crates should never be used as a punishment. By placing the crate open in the room, your puppy's own curiosity will have it explore it. By reinforcing its visits with treats and praise, your puppy will soon associate the crate with pleasure. Early on, your puppy may whimper when shut in the cage, but if you allow it to play outside after a period of good quiet behaviour, it should soon learn how good behaviour is rewarded. After a period of time, your puppy will choose to go looking for their cage when they wish to rest and will tolerate the door being closed quite happily.
note; The crate is your puppies home. A place to rest and feel safe. It should not be used as a punishment for bad behaviour .
Reinforce good behaviour with a treat
- Five great ideas for dog treats
Dog treats can form an essential part of the relationship between you and your dog. A well behaved and trained dog can bring a lot of pleasure to any family. A misbehaving dog can cause a lot of distress and...
House training your puppy.
As mentioned before when house training your dog, a crate can be a very useful tool. By instinct dogs are very reluctant to urinate in the same place that they sleep. When your puppy is in its cage its own instincts encourage it not to go unless absolutely necessary. There will still be accidents but providing you regularly take your puppy out to urinate it will house train a lot quicker than if given the freedom of the house where it can designate its own toilet area.
If your puppy shows any sign of needing to urinate then you must immediately take it outside to a designated spot. Use a command word during the process and give praise and reward upon completion. Although accidents will still happen your puppy should soon learn that urinating outside is an activity that carries reward and will certainly prefer that to messing in its own bed.
Moving on to basic training.
Now that your puppy is house trained and responding well to your early dog training techniques it is time to move onto some of the basic commands that all dog owners need to safely care for their dog. Read about our training tips for teaching your dog the basics;