Dog Training

When its time to train your puppy

Dog training classes 

Most owners can benefit from attending good training classes, and training in the company of other dogs is very useful because of the realistic distractions this involves. Ideally, you should start your classes as soon as your puppy's vaccinations are complete, but classes can be invaluable for older dogs too! Every puppy needs to be taught good manners and have constructive lessons in basic control. This includes responding to its name, how to greet and behave politely around people and dogs, coming back when called, walking nicely on the lead, sit, down and stay on command, and allowing itself to be groomed and examined by you and your vet. As a dog owner you also need to learn what laws affect you and your dog.

It is important to find a good dog training class to teach you how to stimulate your puppy and show you methods to use that can prevent and correct different types with a good service. It is vital that you are patient with your puppy - do not expect too much too quickly as all young animals need time to learn what we expect of them. Puppies learn at a very fast rate, so it is essential that you understand the importance of teaching useful and positive lessons early on that will benefit your puppy throughout its life and help to prevent the most common (and predictable) training and behaviour problems.

Be prepared for adolescence

Adolescence can be a difficult time for even the most experienced of dog owners, a period during which your puppy's behaviour may deteriorate considerably.  Try not to worry - it soon passes!.

Teach him to play nicely

It's possible that puppy may test the boundaries by giving you a little nip, so any game which encourages him to bite is obviously a bad idea (bites hurt, irrespective of the biter's cuteness). The rule of thumb is no wiggling fingers in front of puppy in a provocative fashion.

There may also be times when he tries to get physical. He wants you to tug on a toy he's picked up, so you tug. He pulls harder, egging you on. Should you respond? Afraid not… rough and tumble at this age will probably end in tears and is, therefore, a bad idea. When it comes to physical play, if you're in control and everything is reasonably calm, then okay. But if rough begins to outweigh tumble it's time to stop. Aggression is only a growl away.

Take the lead

It's so easy for a puppy to dash out into the road when not on a lead. We've seen it happen and although (thank goodness) the puppy wasn't hurt and no one was injured, the dog, his owner and the driver of the car that had to stamp on the brakes were all pretty shaken by the fact they were inches from disaster.

So it's essential that your basic puppy training includes walking on a lead. Start indoors where he is comfortable and you can control the surroundings. Place a few healthy treats in a bowl on one side of the room, and from the other, let him walk next to you on his lead, towards the bowl. Next, try walking with a treat in your hand and your puppy alongside you on a loose lead, using the treat as a lure.

Gradually build up this process; avoid pulling on the lead as he may resist and you'll quickly end up playing tug of war with him. Once comfortable indoors, begin training him to walk on a lead in the garden, if you have one. Remember to be patient and to praise him when he gets it right. You know that walking on a lead is nothing to worry about, but he won't, until he's shown otherwise.

Leaving him home alone

Imagine the day when your puppy is left home alone for the first time. The big sad eyes, the whining, the lonely staring out of the window - and that's just you. But it doesn't have to be that way, for puppy at least. With some careful preparation you can alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety (which can be anything from whining to chewing the leg off your favourite chair) such that it's really not a problem at all.

The key is to gradually build up puppy's experience of being away from you. Start by leaving the room for a few minutes at a time. Extend the periods of time you are gone. Then (deep breath) step outside on your own for a couple of minutes. As long as he's not distressed to begin with he should be quite happy pottering around, happy in the knowledge that you'll be back soon.

When, after a week or two of trial separations, you decide the moment has come to leave puppy for an extended period, make sure that he's been out for a wee, he's got water to drink and a bed to lie in. Leave him and try not to worry - he'll be a lot happier about the experience than you will!

And so to sleep

While all this boundary testing is going on your puppy will need sleep - and lots of it. You'll already know how much time he loves to spend with his eyes closed, of course, but this extended play will tire him out even more, so let him sleep.

If you do need to encourage him to nod off, try the following:

  • Calmly put him in his bed and stay with him for a couple of minutes while he settles
  • Leave the room and close the door. If he whines or makes a fuss, steel yourself and leave him be. He should drop off soon enough if he's tired
Don't be afraid to ask

If you have any specific problems during this time, speak to your breeder or dog trainer and they will advise you how best to overcome them.  Problems with puppies are usually easily solved so ask for advice sooner rather than later, as problems can be harder to rectify in the long run if you don't correct them by training the desired behaviour.As a new puppy or dog owner, you will be aware of the responsibilities that come with dog owning and caring for your dog. However, you will also benefit from the incredibly rewarding and pleasurable experience of dog ownership.

In time, with the correct training and care, your puppy or dog will hopefully become a well-adjusted adult who is a pleasure to own and a credit to you and the dog society at large.


Latest Posts