Having a well-trained puppy is not only something to be proud of, but it also makes your life as a dog owner much easier. Believe it or not, you can teach your new puppy tricks as young as 6 to 8 weeks old. Dogs are extremely intelligent, and you can take full advantage it if you start off on the right foot. Eventually, you’ll have an obedient dog that will do pretty much anything you command him to (although he may not fetch you a beer). You’re going to need the right tools to start off, and this article will give you 10 tips for getting the most out of training your new puppy.
Get some treats, lots of them, as this is going to be your main incentive for positive training. Don’t dish them out too liberally, but instead try to limit them to your training sessions.
Set rules and be sure you know exactly what you’re going to let your dog get away with and what you’re not. Your dog should understand whether or not he’s allowed in bed or what rooms he can go into. Once you decide on the rules, make sure you are consistent and stick with them.
Dogs need their personal space for time-outs, cool-downs and a specific place to sleep.
Allocate a specific training time each day if you can. Some people prefer mornings while others prefer early evening. Staying consistent with this will establish a routine. In the puppy stage, keep the training times short, to begin with and increase the times as attention becomes more focused.
Teach the very basic commands to begin with, such as coming when called. It’s important he gets to know his name when you’re calling him. Other basic commands that a puppy can learn pretty quickly are ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘lay down’.
Be patient, as your puppy won’t get everything the first time, or even the 10th time, but he will eventually get it. You just need a little patience, persistence, and perseverance. Some breeds are slower and more stubborn than others, but all breeds can be trained. Take your time, and only try to focus one command at a time. Once a command has been mastered, move onto the next one but make sure to still reinforce the one he’s mastered.
Reward your puppy every time he does something right. Give him treats and plenty of praise, and you’ll increase the likelihood of good repeat behavior. This is called positive reinforcement, and it’s been proven to work on every dog.
Deter him from nipping, as this will likely turn into biting or aggression later on. Don’t scold or hit him when he nips, instead let out a yell or shout and hold your hand as if it’s hurting. This will let the dog know you don’t approve of the behavior. This may take some persistence before he gets it, but better to correct this early than wait until someone gets hurt further down the road.
Don’t ever encourage or reward jumping, as this can become quite a nuisance when they jump up at guests or strangers. You have to respect that some people are afraid of dogs, even if yours fis the cutest and friendliest dog in the world that wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Always end training sessions on a positive note by giving him treats and plenty of petting. Tell your dog he did well that he’s a good boy or girl. Give him five or ten minutes of playtime to finish off the session, and he’ll likely look forward to the next one.
Don’t expect too much early on. A puppy can learn basic commands in as little as 3 or 4 days, but it may take up to two weeks depending on the dog. Even so, sometimes things take much longer. Occasionally a puppy may continue to have accidents in the house up to 8 months old, but they’ll eventually get it. Training is a lifelong endeavor, and you need to be consistent. Whether it’s every day for 10 minutes or once a week for an hour two, stay consistent and soon you’ll have a great, reliable and obedient friend.