There’s a lot to think about when you’re training a new puppy and it can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done this before.
Here are some of our top tips for getting the ball rolling with your puppy’s training…
1) Decide on your boundaries
Before you start training your puppy, lay out the ‘house rules’ in your mind.
Will they be allowed to go on beds and furniture, for example? Will they have the freedom to go anywhere in the home or will certain areas be out of bounds?
If you’ve got everything clear from the very beginning, it avoids any confusion between you and your puppy that could derail your training success further down the line.
Being consistent with what you “tell” your dog is a key basis for successful training. If your puppy is allowed to do certain things at first and then gets in trouble for it, they won’t understand what they’ve done wrong.
2) Get your puppy neutered or spayed
Getting your new pup neutered or spayed doesn’t just prevent the likelihood of unexpected arrivals; it also has some big benefits when it comes to training.
Most puppies are calmer, less aggressive and often easier to train once they’ve been neutered or spayed. This is particularly true for male puppies but female puppies can also have a more docile temperament after being spayed.
3) Be confident in your approach to training
You may not have a great idea of what to do when you first start training your puppy but they don’t need to be aware of this!
If they sense that you’re not entirely comfortable, they can take advantage of this so it’s important to show from the very start that you’re the one in charge. You can do this by being firm and confident in your commands and when you’re holding their leash. Don’t hold it too tightly (although this is very common to begin with!) but don’t be too weak with your grip either.
Before they’re fully trained, your puppy has no idea how to behave “properly” and mistakes are an inevitable part of their learning process. Accidents will happen too!
4) Start with the “come here” command
Teaching your puppy to come to you when you call them will make things a lot easier when you need to take command of a situation.
5) Use plenty of praise and rewards
A rewards based training system works well for most puppies and reinforces the idea that successfully mastering training commands leads to positive experiences.
Giving them praise and treats when they’ve done something right helps with this but it’s important not to go the other way and punish bad behaviour. A simple “no!” should be enough for them to start realising that it’s not what they should be doing.
Don’t be tempted to reward failed attempts during training as this is only likely to confuse your puppy as they’ll come to associate this with getting rewards too, rather than getting to grips with a particular part of their training.
Ending training sessions on a really positive note with lots of praise and some play will help them to look forward to training and see it as something fun.
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