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Puppy

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Puppy Training

Puppy Training

It’s important to begin puppy training as early as possible to avoid your dog developing bad habits that can be hard to lose later on.

Puppy training can be a great time to bond with your new mate. There can be a real sense of achievement when you accomplish a trick together. Remember to have patience, and rejoice in your puppy’s achievements with treats and pats.
Toilet training is where you probably want to start, but there are many other aspects that make for a well-trained pet.

Good puppy manners are something that’s important to be taught early, and is a big part of training. This involves things like teaching your dog how to react in certain situations and the ability to socialise with other animals and people.

All of these skills help to make your puppy to have “good puppy manners”. The best part is you don’t have to be a qualified dog trainer to be able to train your puppy


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How to Train a Puppy

How to Train a Puppy

Dog obedience is crucial for a happy pet/owner relationship. Learning a few basic puppy training tricks will have you well on your way to successfully training your puppy.

PUPPY TRAINING FOUNDATIONS

Motivate your puppy

As soon as you bring your puppy home, step into his mind frame. Dogs are pack animals and like to follow a leader. If you act like one, your puppy’s biggest motivation will become making you happy.


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How to Train a Puppy 2.1

How to Train a Puppy 2.1

KEEP IT CONSISTENT

The only way your puppy will ever learn is if there is a clear and consistent connection between your puppy’s actions and your reaction.

If your puppy does something right, reward and praise him enthusiastically. If he does something wrong, make it clear you’re not happy or ignore him.

For example, if you don’t want your puppy on the furniture, say ‘No’ loudly and guide him off every time he climbs up. Then praise him every time he gets on the floor.

If you fail to be consistent, your puppy will be too.


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How to Train a Puppy 2.2

How to Train a Puppy 2.2

PUPPY TREATS

There are no free rides when it comes to treats. Make your puppy earn every one of them.

It’s best to avoid handing out puppy food as reward every time. Start gradually replacing the treat with praise. Once your puppy has learned a command, give the treat every other time, then every third time, always praising enthusiastically. Pretty soon, your puppy will work for praise and the very occasional treat.


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How to Train a Puppy 2.3

How to Train a Puppy 2.3

CORRECTING MISTAKES

Dogs are not spiteful. If your puppy is doing something wrong, it probably got the idea it was okay. You have to teach your puppy otherwise.

First, catch them in the act. Dogs can’t connect a punishment to an action hours or even minutes ago. Never hit your puppy. Instead, when you see your puppy doing something wrong, say, ‘No’ in a sharp tone. When your puppy stops, praise him and give him something else to do like ‘Sit’ or ‘Come’. Praise him abundantly for responding.

Remember, puppy training does not have to be harsh. With so many different training methods available, choose one that best suits you and your puppy. If it doesn’t work, just try another one.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy

How to Toilet Train a Puppy

Toilet training should start as soon as your puppy gets home. Puppies urinate frequently and success in housetraining depends on anticipating their needs – they should be given the opportunity to relieve themselves as often as you can. You can usually tell when a puppy ‘wants to go’ because he or she will look around anxiously, walk in circles and start sniffing in suitable corners looking for a place. That’s your cue to whisk your pet outside.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.1

How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.1

COMMANDS

Whatever the weather, puppies should be taken outside after they have woken up, or had something to drink or eat. Once out of the house, say a command such as ‘Go Now’ so they know it’s OK to relieve themselves. Praise them when they go, but ignore them when they fail. And if you do find a puddle inside, don’t tell your pup off as they may become frightened to go in front of you, instead if you catch them in the act tell them a firm “no” and take them to an appropriate place for them to go. Never, ever ‘rub their nose in it’.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.2

How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.2

PAPER TRAINING

If your dog does not have access to outside, you can train them to use newspaper or wee pads. Praise them with lots of affection when the newspaper is used and ignore them when it’s not. Be careful not to get in the habit of praising with food treats, because you run the risk of overfeeding. Puppies go to toilet around 12 times a day, and sometimes even more! If you want to retrain them to go outside at a later date then over time, move the newspapers towards the door and then out into the garden. Take a small piece of soiled paper outside, as the puppy recognises its own unique scent and will want to reinforce it.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.3

How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.3

TEACHING YOUR PUPPY TO WAIT

An alternative method to paper training is crate (puppy playpen) training, where puppies are taught to wait in their own, special space before they’re taken outside. The key is to give them an opportunity to relieve themselves at least every two hours, especially after eating, sleeping or playing.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.4

How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.4

DEALING WITH INDOOR ACCIDENTS

If your puppy has an accident, don’t be angry. Always clean the floor thoroughly to remove the odour from the spot; otherwise your puppy will continue to go to the toilet in the same place.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.5

How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.5

RETRAINING AN ADULT DOG

When it comes to adult dogs, start by keeping them confined to a designated space. Make a point of taking your dog outside on a regular basis, and when he or she ‘goes’, offer lots of hugs and praise. Same as for puppies, if there is an indoor accident, neutralise the area to prevent them going there again. For more on training an adult dog, view our training and obedience section.


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How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.6

How to Toilet Train a Puppy 3.6

STICK TO A ROUTINE

Toilet training is an important part of general puppy training, and the way it is handled can have a real impact on your relationship with your puppy.
If you stick to a strict routine, your puppy or adult dog will quickly learn to be clean in the house, the first step to being house trained. But don’t get complacent, or your dog’s toilet training can lapse. Continue with the toilet training routine until you are sure that your puppy knows never to go indoors and can wait to go outside. Gradually phase out numerous outdoor trips, but if there are any accidents just start increasing the number of visits again.


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Puppy School

Puppy School

You may think you can do it yourself, but many dog owners discover that going to puppy school is a positive experience.


Top of the class

Having a well-trained puppy brings its own rewards – your dog clearly knows its boundaries, and thrives under such parameters; and you have the confidence of knowing your dog will obey you regardless of circumstance.

For that reason, professional puppy training can be a valuable long-term investment. Going to puppy school serves many purposes: it teaches your puppy specific commands and also teaches him how to learn; it teaches you how to teach; and it teaches your puppy to be comfortable with other people and other dogs.


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Puppy School 1.1

Puppy School 1.1

Where to go

To choose a good trainer or training facility, check with your vet and friends for recommendations and then visit. Know the trainer or facility before you lay down any cash.

A simple checklist:

  • You’re the pack leader, so start early. If your puppy needs extra work, consult a trainer. Time invested in training your pup will pay off in companionship for the rest of your dog’s life.
  • Don’t gauge quality by price. A competent, experienced trainer may be very reasonable in price.
  • Trust your initial impression of the trainer.
  • Check your puppy’s tail – it should be wagging. Is your puppy comfortable? Does he like the trainer?
  • Check out the training course and methodology. What and how do they teach? Do they cover everything you want your puppy (and yourself) to learn?
  • Check experience and credentials. Is this a summer job for someone or a lifetime passion?
  • Is the trainer patient? Different puppies learn at different rates. Some are shy while others are bold. They may need different methods to succeed.

Observe a class. Both people and dogs should be relaxed and having a good time – smiles and wagging tails all round.


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Teaching Puppies Good Manners

Teaching Puppies Good Manners

Puppies are born only knowing how to be dogs, so it’s normal for them to jump, bark, nip and even bite. As you will soon discover, most normal, healthy puppies go through phases (some of them more than once) that can make you wonder why you wanted a puppy to begin with. But with the right amount of puppy care and attention, you can teach your puppy how to behave and grow up to become a model citizen!

Social skills

It’s important to socialise puppies to as many new experiences with people and other dogs as possible, while they are still young enough to take everything in their stride. Their first big learning period begins at about three weeks, when the eyes and ears first open and they start to explore the big wide world around them.

The next big jump is between about 7-12 weeks, which, confusingly, is exactly the same time your vet will tell you to keep your puppy away from public places while vaccinations take effect. But even so, there are ways around this apparent contradiction to ensure your puppy grows into a well-adjusted, sociable dog.


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Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.1

Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.1

Developmental calendar

  • If you can’t take your puppy into the world, bring the world to your puppy!
  • Invite people to your home to help your puppy get used to people of different sexes, ages, heights, builds and races. Encourage them to wear different types of clothing. Arm everyone with treats!
  • Ask friends to bring around friendly dogs that are up to date with their vaccinations.
  • Puppy parties are also a great way to introduce your new pet to similar aged pups. Ask your vet about puppy parties in your area.
  • Take your pup out in the car for short trips. Not only does this get puppies used to car travel, but also gives them the chance to see the world. It also gets them used to loud motorbikes, lorries, sirens etc.
  • Socialisation sound tapes are also available and can be a helpful training aid.
  • Think about everything your puppy may encounter in life and write a check-list. Then cross off each item as your puppy encounters and accepts it.
  • Remember, don’t do anything as a one off. Repeated exposure is essential for training.

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Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.2

Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.2

Actions and reactions

Whenever your puppy encounters anything new, act confidently as if there’s nothing to worry about. Try not to be too anxious or nervous yourself, your puppy will pick up on your signals and think something is wrong. An occasional “good dog”, a bag of treats, and a calm attitude is all you need. Constant and dramatic reassurance will only serve to increase fear.

Out and about

Once your puppy’s vaccinations are completed (10 to 12 weeks), it’s time to step things up a gear.

Walk your puppy on the lead along pavements in quiet streets, building up to busy traffic areas.

  • Visit dog-friendly shops, pubs and cafes.
  • Take your puppy to a beach (first checking the local regulations) and as many other environments as you can think of.
  • Again, remember to repeat the experiences whenever possible.

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Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.3

Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.3

Name familiarity

  • Say your puppy’s name over and over during enjoyable experiences, such as when he is eating or when you are petting him.
  • Never shout their name if you are angry – puppies must associate their names with good things.
  • Make sure all family members are consistent – if your puppy’s name is Ben, use Ben and not Benjamin, Bennie, or Benji which will all just lead to confusion!

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Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.4

Teaching Puppies Good Manners 2.4

Bite inhibition

  • Your puppy needs to learn that it’s wrong to bite people. All puppies ‘mouth’, especially during teething, but this shouldn’t be tolerated: continuing to mouth into adulthood can cause some serious damage.
  • Tell your friends and family to make a loud, high-pitched yelp and then turn away from the puppy if it bites or mouths them. This is a much more effective way of getting through than a reprimand or playing more roughly.
  • This response must be given even if the pup does not hurt you – even gentle mouthing should be discouraged.
  • The pup must then be ignored, to show bad behaviour means the game is over.
  • Your puppy will quickly understand that this kind of behaviour is wrong.