It is very important to realize that once you bring a new pup home, there will be adjustments, not just to your life, but also for the puppy. Like a small baby, a pup has to be taught many things. The sooner you start the training process, the better it is for both you and the pup. However, while most of us have the impulse to train the pup to sit, heel and shake hands; we tend to forget the foundational skills that should be the initial focus of the training.
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Do not get upset if the pup does something wrong or has a toilet accident. You may think that it has done that just to get on your nerves, but remember, it does not know that it was a wrong thing to do. You need to think of your pup as a toddler. It has no concept of what is wrong or right. Puppies always want to please their owners; they just need to know how to do so. Be calm, consistent and repetitive about what you want the pup to do. Puppies are easily confused if you react in different ways. If, for example, the pup is not allowed on the sofa, make sure to let it know that every time. Allowing it once in a while and then telling him to not get on it will only confuse the pup.
Reward your pup with an occasional treat, but with lots of praise when it does something right. All pups love attention and affirmation. The more you praise and pet it for doing something right, the more responsive it will become. Your pup has to learn how to behave in your house. The best method is to use reward-based training. Getting a reward every time it does something right will make it repeat the act and slowly become part of its behavior.
Training a Puppy to Use the Crate
A new puppy is scared and confused when it first comes to your home. All the sights and smells are new to it and while puppies love exploring their surroundings, it will also want a place where it feels safe. This is where training it to recognize the crate as a haven comes in. Purchase a crate that is slightly bigger than the pup. It should be able to lie down in the crate with outstretched legs. Place a blanket or bed inside the crate. Even better would be if you can get a blanket that carries the mother’s scent. This will depend on where you get your pup from. You can find all types and breeds of puppies for sale at PuppyJoy.net, where you could request them to help you with this issue. Introduce the pup to the crate by leaving some toys and a treat inside. You could give him his feed inside the crate for a few days, as pups will associate food as something good. Never try to force the pup into the crate. This will create a fear that will be hard to remove.
Gently close the gate of the crate after the pup has walked inside. Pet the pup, praise him and open the door again. Repeat this and slowly start extending the period of keeping the gate closed. The pup may cry initially when you close the gates of the crate. While it may be very tempting, do not open the gates till the pup has calmed down. This will teach the pup that calmness is better than crying out.
You must never use the crate as a punishment or leave the pup inside for more than three to four hours at a stretch.
Toilet Training the Puppy
It does not matter whether your puppy stays indoors or outdoors in the yard. It needs to be toilet trained. If your pup stays indoors, keep a close watch on it and the moment you see it squat, lift it and take it to the place designated as the toilet area. Once it has done its business, pet it and praise it. Make sure to take the pup out every half an hour and also about 15 minutes after a meal.
You can also repeat a cue word every time the pup squats at the designated toilet area. Give it a treat after the job is done. Your pup will associate the place with the reward.
Training to Stop Chewing Your Things
Just like babies, puppies need to chew when teething. Actually, puppies just love to chew on everything and anything. You need to train it to not chew on your things. You did make the house puppy proof – this will ensure that the pup does not chew on something dangerous like an electric cable. But, since the pup loves to chew, you will need to provide it with chew toys. Puppies also tend to chew when they are bored or excited. Take away the boredom with exercise and play.
Training a Puppy the Basic Commands
There are certain basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and ‘look’ that a pup needs to learn. Each command is taught differently. However, the common factor in teaching each of the commands is the reward system.
There are two ways to teach this command. Gently exert pressure on the pup’s butt. As the butt sinks and the pup sit, say ‘sit’ and offer it a treat as a reward. Another way is to hold a treat in your hand and move your hand over the pups head towards his back. Following your hand will result in the butt sinking towards the floor. As it comes to a rest, say ‘sit’ and give him the treat. Repeat this as often as you can. The pup will associate the word sit with the action and will start doing it in anticipation of a treat.
Once your pup has learned to sit on command, wait for some time before offering him the treat. Say ‘stay’ during this waiting period and then give it the treat. Keep extending the waiting period until the pup can sit for a minute before getting the treat. Next, after the pup has sat still for a minute take a step away while saying ‘stay’. Return to the pup and reward it with the treat. Start increasing the distance gradually while repeating the word ‘stay’. Remember to always praise the pup, and give it a treat. Soon, the pup will remain sitting once you say ‘stay’.
This one is rather easy. Start by running away from the pup. As it starts to run after you, say ‘come’ and wait for it to catch up. Praise the pup and offer it a treat. Repeat this for a few days. The pup will associate the word with a treat and will come to you when called.
Teach your pup to look at you when asked. Holding a treat in your hand, move your hand from the pup’s nose to your eyes. The pup’s eyes follow the treat in your hand. As your hand touches the bridge of your nose, say the word ‘look’. Wait for a few seconds and give the treat. Gradually extend the time between saying ‘look’ and giving the treat.
The Bottom Line
You need to have patience when training your puppy as you would with your child. Be kind, even if it makes a mistake and you will find yourself a loving, faithful friend for life.