10 Things to Train Your New Puppy
You need to start training your puppy the minute they come home.
1 Household routine and rules
The first thing they need to learn is their daily routines and household rules.
Where their food and water dishes are located.
What times of day they will eat.
Where their toys are kept.
Where their bed is.
What time they go to bed.
What time they get up.
Where they goes to the bathroom.
Routine is very important to puppies, it makes them feel secure when they know what is about to happen.
Every household has rules, it is up to you what they are and what you implement. Do you have one sofa they are allowed on and one they are not, let them know. Invite them on the sofa they are allowed on with a “Good” and lift them off with a stern “No” the one they are not. Consistency is the key. They will understand the difference between the two sofas, but only if you and everyone else in the house consistently keep them of the one they are not allowed on.
Can he take a toy away from another dog in the house? Absolutely not, it may lead to dominance issues later on.
Can he jump up at the door when the post is being delivered? I would advise against it as he will may start destroying post when you are not there.
2 Collar, harness and Lead Training
Some puppies take to a collar immediately with no problems; others hate it with a passion. The first step is to get them accustomed to the feel or the collar or harness. Put the collar on when there are other things to keep your puppy occupied, such as when you are in the middle of play or going outside. If they start to scratch at the collar, distract them with play. After a short while, remove the collar and build up slowly. The lead needs to be associated with play time to ensure they see it in a positive light. Again small steps, do not attempt to make them walk on the lead to begin with, play with them and get them to see the lead as a fun time thing. Maybe put the collar and lead on before they eat and take it off after so the association is entirely positive.
3 Teach them words
There are three very important words that they need to learn from the minute the enter your life. The first is their Name, you use their name to make them look at you. Say their name and clap your hands, when they look at you, praise them with a happy voice, a nice smile and a treat. The second is NO, it means stop what you are doing, use a low, stern voice, or a quick, sharp “No” to make them look at you, then use the third word. The third is GOOD meaning I like what you are doing. Use a positive tone and smile. These three words need to be understood before any other.
4 Crate training
This can be learned from two months old. It is their secure and safe den where they can relax and not get into trouble. Do not forget to always have water available in a crate. You can get holders to put on the side to stop them tipping. Feed in the crate, rest in the crate, have toys in the crate so they can play in there if they wish.
5 House Training
This may be started by their mum before they come to you. They will follow her and if she has access to a toilet with them, they will follow her and copy her. See my blog on House training your puppy.
6 Handling and respect training
You must be able to handle your puppy whenever you want and they must learn to respect you and see you as the leader of the house. Many dogs have hot spots that they do not like touching. To avoid this, you must ensure you regularly pick them up, stroke them all over, including sensitive areas such as their muzzle, paws, tail, rear end and tummy. Check inside their ears and look at their teeth. Gently pull their tail to ensure they do not see this as a threat as they get older. Do small amounts of grooming daily. Once you have done all this give them a big hug and a treat. These are life skills they need to learn to enjoy life with you. They need to realise that you are their leader and can do whatever you want to them, and it will never hurt. It is not sufficient for them to tolerate handling, they must really enjoy it, even by strangers, as when they need to go to the vet or the groomer, and this will be a necessity. A high percentage of bites come after the handler got hold of their collar. Teach your puppy to enjoy having their collar help by getting hold of it to give them a treat, only do this once they have associated your hands with positive outcomes, such as strokes, play and treats. Never ever get hold of the collar to reprimand them as this will get big negative association with their collar being held.
7 Gentleness Training
As with housetraining, mum has started this, it is up to you to continue where she left off. Do not let them mouth, this can very quickly become a problem. If they chew you, say “No” and immediately replace your hand with a chew toy. Firmly correct him if he has played too roughly repeatedly and end play.
8 Avoid biscuit Training
Giving your puppy a reward for good behaviour is a very successful way of training, but if the only reward they get is food, when they are not hungry, they will be less likely to respond to your request. This becomes very hazardous if you recall them in a unsafe situation and they ignore you.
Meet as many people as you can and get them to pet your puppy and maybe they can give your puppy a treat to your puppy that people are friends. As soon as your puppy has had all their jabs, they can meet other dogs. The more the merrier. The more dogs they meet at a young stage in life, the less likely they are to be dog reactive. Socialisation is best between 8 and 16 weeks, by six months of age, the window of opportunity starts closing.
10 Home alone
The number one doggy problem is being home alone. To avoid this, when you first get your puppy, it is very important that you immediately teach it to be home alone for short periods of time. Even if it is only 15 minutes, your puppy needs to learn that this is part of life and does not mean negative things, just a time to rest and relax. You may hear the term “Separation Anxiety” thrown around a lot, but in truth, it is often that the dog is under stimulated and is bored, so they make their own fun by destroying the furniture. Ensure your dog has been played with (remembering that puppies should be limited to one minute exercise per week of their life per day) and when you leave them, they have water and a huge variety of toys of all textures. Treat balls with a portion of their food in make a great time consuming treat. To ensure they are secure and safe, young puppies can be left in a crate for very short periods and if you need to leave them for longer periods, confinement to small areas that contain their crate and a separate toilet area. (See the blog on crate training) Build the time your puppy is left slowly until you are able to leave it for a couple of hours with no problems (at 8 weeks they usually have an hour bladder capacity, at 10 weeks they have two hours, at 12 weeks they have three and you can then add an hour per month of age until they are 6 months old, no dog should be left for longer than 6 hours without a toilet break!)