Puppy Training Basics

When it comes to training a puppy, there are several basic guidelines you need to follow. This will ensure that you and your puppy enjoy the process, it’s easier to do and the outcome is a happy and well-behaved dog.

1. A puppy is sensitive and if your training is too rough or stressful, it will have a detrimental effect. So be gentle. The last thing you want is for your puppy to become fearful. This will inhibit its ability to learn properly and cause it unnecessary stress. You can still be firm, but careful.

2. Puppies, like small children, have a very short attention span, and get easily tired out, so training sessions need to be brief. Your puppy will learn better in short bursts and when he or she isn’t tired.

3. Be patient. If you think your puppy will be trained in no time at all, then you are being unrealistic. It does take time, especially since puppies are prone to forgetting things sometimes. There will be times when you need to repeat the same piece of training over and over, so if you allow for this when you embark upon training you will not become frustrated.

4. There is no point in attempting complex training procedures with a puppy. It needs to be kept simple and step-by-step. That way, your puppy will learn more quickly and the training process will be more enjoyable.

5. Like in humans, a puppy needs to learn confidence, and it’s up to you to help instill it within the pup. Reinforce the training with lots of praise. Be affectionate and take a break sometimes from training to simply play with the puppy and be its friend. It will soon learn the self-confidence it needs to grow into a well-adjusted dog.

How To Train A Puppy To Sit

Getting a puppy to sit is one of those basic commands that every owner wants their pet to learn. Think about how active a pup can be – getting him to sit is an achievement to be proud of.  Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to train a puppy to sit; it’s one of the easiest commands. In addition, it’s a useful way to quickly control him if the need arises.

As with the other training tips we’ve looked at, positive reinforcement is the key here. We don’t want to rebuke our pups if they don’t do exactly as we want. We want only to reward their good behavior.

One easy way to do this is with treats. Get some small, tasty dog snacks that are quick for them to chew each time you give them out, so that you can continue the training momentum. Don’t worry about them getting dependent on the treats as we’ll come to that in a bit.
To begin training: hold the treat in front of the puppy’s nose and then move it up and backwards so that your pup’s hind legs will naturally bend into a sitting position. If your dog simply walks backwards then move closer to a wall. Don’t push him into position.

As he moves into the sitting position you should always say “sit”. Always be consistent with dog commands and don’t overcomplicate them by adding anything extra like names. You should also use hand commands at the same time. As example, when you say "sit" create a fist with your hand. The same when you teach your dog to lay hold your hand out flat horizontal (level to the ground). When you command stay, hold you hand flat vertically. It becomes very helpful for your dog to understand what you commanded him.

As soon as his bottom reaches the floor and he succeeds in sitting, give him the treat along with lots of praise. This positive reinforcement will help him make the association between your “sit” command and the behavior you expect. Distance is also an important factor. It ensures that you have control with your commands as dogs can be out of arms reach.

Continue this routine several more times. After a time, start to reduce the treats, perhaps once every other command. Eventually you can phase them out completely. Your dog will still want to sit because you will be carrying on the habit of giving him lots of praise when he achieves the task. Your puppy will love that more than snacks!

Puppy And Child Training Tips

There are a few things to consider before acquiring a puppy if you have children, and there are ways of ensuring that both can interact safely.
Do your research carefully, and choose a dog breed known for being child-friendly. Highly-strung and hard to train dog breeds aren’t what you want around kids. Size is another consideration; how big will the adult dog be, and will it suit small kids?

If possible, discover before you bring the puppy home if it has had exposure to children, and if so how it reacts to them. One thing to take note of is how the puppy is while eating – if it guards the food then you should think twice as this could cause a big problem at home.

It’s not just a case of, once you have your new puppy, to train it to interact with children safely – the children have to be taught as well. Small children won’t necessarily understand the difference between a puppy and a toy, and may be too boisterous. They will want to pick the puppy up, but puppies can very easily squirm out of a child’s grasp and fall to the ground. Show your children that the puppy needs to be petted gently and not picked up. Give lots of praise when they are gentle with the pup. Don’t leave a child and puppy alone together.

Puppies too can be boisterous and nippy, so train them not to bite or nip at the children. Also, teach them that if they are going to chew something it has to be their own toys, not the ones belonging to the kids. Food is another area requiring training – don’t allow the puppy to snatch food from a child.

There are ways, aside from gentle petting, that a child can get involved with a puppy. If they’re in a pushchair then you can give them a ball to throw down to the puppy. Older children can help you hold the puppy’s leash when you go for a walk. They can also help feed and groom the puppy. Children will also enjoy helping to train the puppy to sit, stay or come. Before long, the child and puppy will have an unbreakable bond.

Puppy Training Options

It’s a big step, taking on a new puppy and training it. If you don’t make a good job of it you’ll end up with a situation that’s not great for the puppy or the family and household. That’s why, despite the cuteness of a pup, many people opt for an older dog – one who already knows the basic commands. No going through housebreaking, stopping barking or teaching to sit, stay or come. There are options, though, when it comes to puppy training. Do the puppy training yourself.

It will take time and effort to train your puppy yourself; however, it’s a great way to bond with him, and it can be a very rewarding experience. Give yourself the best chance of success by learning before you start. There are plenty of tutorials around, like training DVDs, guidebooks, and eBooks. Always bear in mind that you need patience and consistency; if you don’t think you have these qualities, then go for a different puppy training option.
Puppy training classes

If you want some support when training your puppy then this is a good choice. You get the class teacher’s expertise plus a chance to interact with other dog owners. It also helps your puppy get used to being around other dogs, although at times other pups may be a distraction. Look for classes in the local press or community centers, or ask the vet if they know of any classes being held locally. You may also see notices at the vet or in pet shop windows. If you can, ask around for recommendations as to how good the people running the training classes are. You want to be in an environment that both you and your puppy feel comfortable in.

Professional Puppy Trainer

If you can afford it, then one-on-one professional puppy training is the third option. Before you meet a potential trainer, draw up a detailed list of things to ask them before you commit to their service. These questions might include what methods they use, how long the course is, whether it’s something that can be reinforced easily at home, and so on. Don’t forget to get references, and testimonials if possible, before hiring the trainer.

Successful Puppy House Training

It must be said, puppy house training is not the most fun part of having your new pet. That’s partly because a puppy is like a toddler; easily distracted, forgetful, with a short attention span and a tendency to try and test the person in charge. There are a few simple rules you can follow though that will lead to successful puppy house training.

As with other aspects of puppy training, the first thing to remember is to go through the process with patience, persistence and affection, but also with a fixed and consistent training program. The length of time it will take will depend on your pup’s age and sometimes his breed as well as how you go about the process.

It needs to be said at the outset that you should never tell the puppy off or punish him for accidents during housetraining. This will have a counter-productive effect and may leave the poor puppy in fear of you. And accidents will happen; it’s inevitable. If it does, then tell the puppy “outside” or a similar word, but in a kind manner to help him understand the difference.

It’s important when you’re housebreaking a puppy to keep mealtimes consistent. Set a feeding time twice a day and stick to that. Don’t give your puppy food just any time. This helps maintain a regular digestive system in your puppy, which in turn helps with the timing of toileting. And as a plus, your puppy will respond well to a structured day that has boundaries in place.

You can help your puppy’s digestion by taking him for a long walk after mealtimes. As in humans, exercising has positive effects on all the body systems of your pup, including digestion, and walking will help him keep regular. This in turn will make timing easier.

Always use play and treats as rewards when your puppy has done well. Playing, perhaps by throwing a ball, will make the puppy eager to please you again. Also, since playing outside makes him happy, then he will associate other outdoor activities as fun, including relieving himself.

Try not to become too regimented with your puppy house training methods. It won’t happen straight away, it can take some time, and there will be accidents. Just allow for that and remain patient, understanding and kind. In time, your puppy will be fully housetrained.

Getting Your Puppy Used To Grooming

Your puppy’s physical state influences the way he feels and the way others perceive you as the owner. It’s important, therefore, to keep your puppy’s coat in good condition. If you begin to groom as young as possible, your puppy will quickly get used to this type of handling and won’t struggle during the process.

In order to get your puppy used to being groomed, you should start with a good knowledge of the most basic of dog grooming techniques, and that’s brushing.

Brushing has been universally acknowledged by expert dog groomers as the single most important step in grooming.
The benefits of brushing are many. These include:

  • Better blood circulation
  • Shinier and healthier coat
  • Better bonding between puppy and owner

Like all puppy grooming techniques, there’s a right way and a wrong way to brush, and caring owners like yourself will want to know they’re doing it right.

Here are the FIVE essential steps to successfully brushing your puppy:

  • Brush against the growth of the hair first with a slicker brush and then with a medium or wide-toothed comb.
  • The slicker brush removes all the loose hair and the comb takes care of the tangles.
  • Brush your puppy along the hair growth and make sure you reach the skin as you brush his way.
  • Then use a flea comb over the coat to get any fleas and remove any remaining tangles. Part the coat and start from the root and then comb through.
  • If your pup’s paw pads are hairy, then clip them using electric clippers. Do not clip the hair in between the pads. Clip only the excess hair.

Brush your puppy’s hair regularly to prevent it from matting. Matted hair is painful to detangle, and can make your puppy averse to being groomed the next time.

If you brush your puppy regularly then matting is unlikely to happen; but if it does use a detangle solution and a medium toothed comb and gently tease the tangles apart.

Don’t wait until your pup is dirty or matted to introduce him to grooming. That would make him associate the experience with unpleasantness. Treat the process as a way of petting your puppy and he will enjoy the attention and care. Check out our Dog Grooming page for more information.

Training To Stop Puppy Biting

One of the most important parts of puppy training is to stop puppy biting. Although biting is a natural part of your puppy’s behavior, if left unchecked it can lead to you having a potentially dangerous situation as the dog grows. If you don’t want to run the risk of your grown dog biting someone, you need to put a good training plan into action from the outset. No-one wants to end up with a dog that bites people or other animals.

The key to successfully training puppy not to bite is for everyone in the household to know how to deal with it, starting with the kids. Puppies bite while playing with their siblings, and they will do the same with children. It’s important that all the family members react the same way to a bite.

If you watch a litter of puppies playing, you’ll notice that when one of them gets over-excited and nips another, the bit puppy reacts by letting out a yelp. This is exactly what you and the family need to do too. As well as yelping or giving an “ouch”, withdraw a little and stop playing with the puppy. He or she will soon learn the reason why you pull back. If your puppy looks about to nip you then doesn’t, give lots of praise.

It helps to give your puppy something to bite on during the training. Use toys designed for puppies rather than household objects like shoes, otherwise you run the risk of getting more than one pair chewed up! Have a variety of toys in different materials and textures to satisfy the puppy’s desire to bite and chew. You may find he or she has a favorite toy, and this will be the one to use when training.

Like the other tips, again you need a bit of patience and understanding of a puppy’s natural behavior when it comes to training to stop puppy biting. It’s worth it to have a dog who won’t bite in the future.

Teaching Your Puppy To Come When Called

One of the principal skills you will teach your puppy is when to come when called. Puppies love to explore, and smell things, and if you want them to pay attention to your command you need to make it rewarding for them to do so. In other words, make yourself more interesting than the surrounding attractions.

The best place to start training your puppy to come when called is inside a confined area. A garden is good, but you can do it in a room as well. If you can’t use a confined area then keep the puppy on a long leash. If you don’t then you are likely to end up chasing the puppy as it runs off to explore and doesn’t respond to your calls. It may take a little longer to train the puppy in an open space as there will be more distractions there such as other dogs.

The trick is to get the puppy’s attention away from the interesting things around it. Call the puppy’s name and say “come”. When your puppy does come to you (and it may take a little while) give him or her lots of praise and a treat. Over time you can phase out the treats as the puppy will come to you just for the praise.

Keep the lessons short; a puppy has a small attention span and prolonging a session won’t do the puppy or yourself any good. In fact, you may find yourself becoming impatient. Use a light tone, not a stern one, as this is likely to confuse the puppy or make him think you’re angry. At the end of the lesson give more praise and lots of hugs.

A puppy instinctively wants to please. If you carry on teaching your puppy to come when called in a steady and consistent way, it won’t be too long before the puppy has more freedom and you have the peace of mind knowing that he or she will obey your command to come when called.


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