An Introduction to Training Your Puppy
When you first take your puppy home everyone is very excited to have this cute little bundle as a new family member, but, what must be established early on is what training and rules you are going to put in place. Training your puppy is not just about getting him to go outside to the toilet. Its about teaching them to have acceptable behaviours in and outside the home.
Firstly establish some ground rules for everyone in the house to follow.
Never feed your puppy at the table unless you want to encourage a lifetime of begging.
Decide straight away whether you want you dog to be able to get on the furniture or beds, if not don’t start the habit or only allow them on invitation.
Its not a good idea to not let your puppy get into the habit of hanging on your trousers, puppy’s teeth will get strong and clothes could be ripped. You could trip and puppy could be hurt apart from the fact puppy won’t distinguish between people who think its funny and those who’ll find it annoying. Just gently take their mouths away and give a gentle push while making the ah ah sound. It doesn’t matter what sound you use, but distraction through sound is a great way to stop unwanted behaviour. Once puppy learns the sound you use, it can be used from a distance and can save many a plant, electric cable or piece of cake.
Don’t allow mouthing because when puppy is older it WILL hurt. Tell your puppy off if it mouths, use your distraction sound with a firm ‘NO’. Immediately offer them a toy instead to mouth. Its best to always have a toy in your hand when playing with puppy.
Dominating your puppy in order to make him behave is regarded as old fashioned now (observations on wolves living in the wild show they live in family units cooperating with each other). Try to think of yourself as a more mature member of the family who will guide your puppy to be well behaved and offer gentle correction when he steps out of line. Get your puppy used to you touching their food by sometimes feeding them by hand, this will help stop any food guarding.
Keep in mind that puppies learn by result. Young puppies love to explore and experiment, they will repeat behaviours that give them pleasure such as playing with a ball. They will not repeat behaviours that get no result or are unpleasant, for example disturbing an ants nest and getting stung. reward your puppy with treats and praise when he obeys a command or does something good. Make sure you set firm rules and apply them in a consistent way.
Consider enrolling your puppy in an obedience class, this will help you learn techniques to easily train him and develop appropriate strategies for responding to your puppies behaviour. Its also a great time to help you bond with your puppy and for him to socialise with other dogs.