A huge number of people have adopted or bought new pets to help get them through the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions. It's really important to understand just how big a life-long commitment this is, and how important proper - and early - training and socialisation is for your pup, for his happiness and behaviour, and for your bond and relationship with your pup!
Bottom line: a well trained and socialised dog is a happier dog with better life outcomes. Training also helps strengthen the two-way trust and bond between a dog and his human.
As certified dog trainer and AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and Manners Program Director at Doggie Academy, Kate Naito, writes,
"puppyhood training comes down to two key components:
After all, once a loving and trusting bond exists, it’s much easier (and enjoyable) to teach your dog specific behaviors and commands."
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Our Top 12 Training Tips to help you.... and your Pup!
1 Have a structured Routine / Schedule
Dogs are creatures of habit and love having routines that they are used to. This includes having regular meal and walk times, which can also help when house training / potty training.
2 House Rules
Start as you mean to go on by setting down realistic House Rules – and sticking to them!
Are there areas of the house that are out of bounds?
Is your pup allowed on furniture, does he have his own chair?
Is he allowed in your bedroom, in your bed and so on?
You can relax some of these over time, typically as the pup becomes house trained.
3 Use easily understood language
Be consistent – and repetitive – in the phrases, cues, hand signals and rewards you use. Use a specific word or phrase for each action, situation or trick, and try not to use the same word for different actions. Have everyone involved use the same language and approach.
Dogs learn by repetition, so using different phrases for the same action can easily confuse them, and even undo some of the training progress already achieved.
4 Potty Training / House Training
When to start house training?
Young pups simply don’t have bladder control, so typically from 12-16 weeks old.
Rule #1 - be patient and use positive reinforcement!
Getting annoyed at accidents only makes your pup afraid of you. After cleaning up after accidents, you should also remove the smell with a pet odour neutraliser so that he doesn’t want to go again in the same spot.
If you see the accident happening, try and bring your pup out to the correct spot.
If you didn’t see it happen, scolding you pup after the event is pointless anyway (always remember - Positive Reinforcement!). While they will understand that you are cross with them, they will have no clue why.
Bring him out early every morning, and at regular intervals throughout the day. Always bring him to the same spot (maybe on lead first couple of times to establish routine) as his own scent will act as a prompt. Remember to praise him when he goes, as well as rewarding afterwards with a treat, toy or playing a game with him.
Get to know the signs that your pup needs to go: these could include Circling, Sniffing the floor, Barking, Scratching at the door or sitting by the door.
Worrying about leaving your dog home alone?
We all lead busy lives, and can't always take our best friends with us, so it's natural we worry about how they are coping when they are on their own, and want to stay connected.
Pet Tech can really help them - and us! There is a wide range of Remote Cameras, most with 2-way Audio and Video, some with remote Treat Dispensers, real-time Alerts, Multi-User option, Alexa Compatible.
5 Crate Training
Some people are a bit uncomfortable with the concept of having a crate for their new pup, but the reality is that many dogs love the comfort and security offered by their own snug space. Make sure to get the right size to allow for movement and growth, but not big enough for it to be used to poo in the corner.
Start by placing a trail of treats into the crate, with his blanket and favourite toy in the crate at the end of the treat trail!
Remember you can also use the crate to easily transport your puppy to the Vet or other places or outings.
6 Socialisation – Start Young
A well-socialised pup or dog is not only happier, it is less likely to be fearful and/or aggressive in unfamiliar settings or around strange dogs or humans.
Starting young makes it easier for you and him, as there are fewer established habits or behaviours that need to change. Make sure all vaccinations are complete before taking him to the dog park.
7 Acclimatise your pup to different settings, sounds and locations
Socialisation is not just about introducing your pup to other dogs. Getting your pup used to different settings early on is important. This can include external noises such as traffic, as well as being around strange dogs in the dog park (when vaccinations are complete).
Part of this should also include getting him used to the car – ideally start with short trips to somewhere he really likes e.g. to a nearby beach.
8 Leash Training
Start this indoors or in your garden at first, so that it’s not an additional challenge or distraction when you starting taking your pup for walks, or to the park or beach.
9 Mouthing, Nipping, Biting
Puppies explore the world with their mouths, which means those razor sharp little teeth are never too far away. If your pup gets forceful with their nipping, the advice form the experts at Pet Sitting / Dog Walking platform Rover.com is to let them know.
A tip from the team at Rover.com is to do this by exclaiming “ouch” and removing the body part they are chewing on for about 30 seconds. If that doesn’t calm them, after your next “ouch,” completely separate yourself from your pup for 30 seconds.
Pet Tech – Connected Pets:
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10 General Training
Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical, and love training and learning new tricks. A well trained dog is happier, and healthier. Training your dog has also been shown to strengthen the trust bond between you and your dog.
As soon as you bring your new pup home you can start basic training cues such as sit, stay, and come. Remember, it’s still a young puppy, so short training sessions, and be patient!
According to PetMD contributor Louise Murray, DVM and vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, your puppy’s primary socialization window closes at 16 weeks, making it crucial for your puppy to experience as many new and positive environments, people and animals as possible. Focusing your energy on proper socialization will help lay the foundation for a loving, happy relationship between you and your pup for years to come.
While travelling with your dog is fun, it does bring it's own challenges!
Our 11 point checklist will help make sure you go properly prepared.
Puppies have a natural instinct to protect things they love. Taking things away from your pup when they’re enjoying them may actually reinforce this behaviour, so use distraction (trading for some other high value item).
12 General Handling
Finally, the experts at PetMD recommend you get your puppy used to being touched or handled. Do this by gently rubbing their ears and paws while rewarding them. This will get them used to having those areas touched and will make veterinary visits and nail trims less stressful when they are older!
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