Nothing quite beats the joy and love one feels when they cradle a new puppy in their arms. Your puppy will seem to be one of the most precious treasures in your life, and it is… but it can become a nightmare if it’s not trained well.
If you’re keeping a dog, it needs to be trained. Period. A poorly trained puppy will grow up to be ill-behaved and become a constant source of trouble. The best time to train a dog is when it’s still a pup.
Understanding your puppy
Just like human beings, every single dog has a unique personality. Even if two dogs are of the same breed and display similar characteristics, their personalities could be totally different.
One puppy may be naturally good-natured and eager to please you. Another puppy may be more strong-willed and like to push its boundaries to see how much it can get away with.
As an owner, you’ll need to be aware of your puppy’s personality (you’ll know just by observing it) and you’ll need to train it accordingly. Most puppies can be trained effectively regardless of personality.
Walking a fine line
Generally, if your puppy is left alone for short periods, it’ll most probably sleep rather than getup to mischief. That said, you shouldn’t leave it alone for too long or all hell might break loose.
The same applies when training your pup to be alone in the car. Always leave a small gap in the windows so that it has air to breathe, and NEVER place your dog in a car when the weather is hot.
There have been countless cases where dogs have passed away because the stifling heat in the car caused them to have heat exhaustion. Generally, your puppy shouldn’t be left alone in the car for more than 5 to 10 minutes.
Ensure your puppy has sufficient room to move. If it’s in a crate, the crate should be big enough for it to move around comfortably. Do note that most puppies can only hold their bladder for about 90 minutes or so.
You’ll need to be back before it needs to go potty or it will just relieve itself in the crate or have an accident somewhere in the house.
When you return home after a short absence, you’ll want to greet your puppy in a loving tone. This will make it happy to see you. At the same time, you shouldn’t make a big deal out of your return.
Doing so will cause separation anxiety in your puppy every time you leave the house. As you can see, you’re always walking a fine line. Everything has to be done in moderation.
Patience, patience, patience
You can never have too much patience when training your dog. Always remember that it’s a young animal that needs time to absorb what you’re teaching it.
Some puppies learn faster than others. Do not compare your new puppy with your previous one or other people’s pets.
The 4 basic words:
Almost every dog will need to be trained to understand 4 words:
- Their name
When you’re training your puppy, you’ll need to keep using its name until it associates the sound of its name with an impending command that’s about to come.
Training your puppy to sit will ensure that it doesn’t try running across the road (it should always be on a leash) when you tell it to sit outside. As training progresses, you can train your dog to sit even when it’s close to a food bowl… and only begins gobbling up its food when you say “Eat!”.
Every time you call your puppy’s name followed by the command “Come!”, you should reward your little friend with a treat to encourage it. Over time, your dog will come to you whenever you call it.
The word “No!” is probably one of the words you use most often even if it’s not really a command to do anything. “No” will be very useful during potty training when your dog has an accident or if it does something it shouldn’t. Your ‘no’ should be firm and your dog should understand that it’s a sign of disapproval from you and it’s final.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to training your puppy, but they’re a good place to start. Be consistent with your training and remember that short frequent sessions are better than one long session.
Puppies get exhausted when the training is longer than 10 minutes. So, stick to around 4-5 minutes about 3 or 4 times a day. Have fun with your puppy and enjoy the process. Time will fly.
“If you give only 80 percent leadership, your dog will give you 80 percent following. And the other 20 percent of the time he will run the show. If you give your dog any opportunity for him to lead you, he will take it.” – Cesar Millan (Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems)