For a puppy to blossom, he needs to have a framework imposed by his master. The education of a puppy is not a pleasure game, however, it is an essential step for the young dog which must be done as soon as possible. The soft, positive and respectful methods of the animal are to be privileged for better results.
Why is training your puppy important?
When you welcome this adorable ball of fur into your home, it is normal to want to cuddle it, pamper it and offer it a comfortable life. However, you should know that human good intentions are not understood in the same way with dogs. The canine codes are not the same as our codes.
For example, by offering your pet a place on your sofa, you think you are offering him comfort. The animal will understand that it has a place of dominant. The master’s place is the dominant one, the puppy’s is the dominated one.
A clear hierarchy is the first rule to respect when educating a puppy, and he will be reassured by this hierarchical framework. Learning will be easier and you’ll avoid a lot of mischief from your puppy. In concrete terms, your dog should have his own resting place, at ground level, in a quiet corner away from traffic. The master and his pet must find their place within the family, each in their own place.
A basket with a blanket or a cushion is the best choice for your puppy. For meals, the puppy should never eat before his owners. He should not eat from your plate or at the foot of the table during your meal. The puppy should have his own bowl and eat after you. If you can’t get your puppy to eat after you, feed him at least an hour beforehand or give him a snack before you serve him his bowl. Don’t leave his bowl full all day. The puppy’s meal lasts about 20 minutes, if he doesn’t finish, take his bowl away.
It is possible that the puppy will growl when you remove the bowl, this is a test to gain some dominance. In this case, adopt an authoritarian behavior by taking a deep voice with the spread arms to scold him. As for cuddling, again it’s up to you to decide which cuddles and affection you give and when. If the puppy comes to you for a hug, ignore him. By scrupulously respecting these attitudes, you’re setting a clear precedent for your pet’s well-being.
Teaching your dog the 5 basic commands
As soon as he arrives home, your puppy needs to be intellectually stimulated by regularly learning new commands. In addition, this will allow you to gain respect while creating a deep bond with your pet. Of course, you’ll have to learn to identify the perfect time to train your puppy. The puppy needs to listen, be attentive, calm and focused on what you’re saying. Attempting to teach new commands to a puppy that is unfocused will fail. It is important to always associate the command with his name. Your puppy needs to know that you are addressing him.
- Recall: For your dog’s safety and off-leash walking, recall is a very important skill. Start in a confined area, then move on to more crowded areas. You can get a tracking leash to work on recall with your dog safely. Use the “heel” command, just like walking on a leash. Use a toy and a treat as a reward. Let the dog go away and call him. If he doesn’t come back, be enthusiastic and insist. You can use a whistle to help you get him back. Once the dog obeys, reward him with treats or his toy. Repeat several times. In crowded areas, expect your dog to test you and refuse to return. In this case, you should not run after him, because he will think it’s a game that may last for several miles. The trick is to run in the opposite direction, calling him without turning around. Your dog will quickly follow you and learn the lesson. Never forget to reward him when he returns. You must train him gently and not get angry or lose patience.
- Sit: The second command to learn is usually “sit”. To succeed, you must hold a kibble high up so your puppy lifts his head and then press down on his backside while saying the word “sit. Repeat several times, offering the kibble when he does it on his own.
- Down/Up: Next, you can follow up with “down” by placing the kibble on the floor. He will naturally lie down to catch it. At the same time, you can teach him to “stand” by lifting the kibble.
- Stay/Come here: For most dogs, the “no move” and “come here” are the most difficult to memorize. By asking him to stay where he is, you are going against his natural instinct to follow you. Sit him down and gradually move away while repeating the command.
- Stop: When it comes to “stop”, you’ll have to take him on a leash. Stop regularly and say STOP. He will eventually memorize the word and the action.
Each successful command should be rewarded. For example, you can give him a cookie, pet him, praise him or give him his food bowl. This way, your puppy will know you’re proud of him and that he’s lived up to your expectations.
Setting up rules for a dog
You need to teach your puppy now what he’s allowed to do in your home and what he’s not allowed to do. If you don’t want him to get on the couch, you should immediately make him understand by putting him back on the floor, firmly saying “no” and showing him where his bed is.
The same goes for your bedroom. This room must be considered in his mind as a place where he is strictly forbidden to enter. At no time should you make an exception. Once you allow him to enter your room or get on the couch, he will never stop.
To be obedient, your puppy needs to have a comfortable life in your home. His meals must be taken at a fairly fixed time. A hungry puppy is an animal that will refuse to obey and will give you a hard time. He should have a quiet place where he can lie down to rest. Outside, he should have something to shelter himself from the rain and the ground, as well as a bowl from which he can drink.
Housebreaking your puppy
A puppy can become potty trained very early, so don’t get the wrong idea that he’s a baby. As soon as your puppy arrives, you should start potty training him. On average, puppies become housebroken between 4 and 6 months of age, depending on the animal. Don’t worry if this training is not integrated before 7 or 8 months, some puppies need more time. Nevertheless, start applying the basic rules as soon as possible.
By 3 months of age, a puppy is able to understand commands. You should be tolerant of small accidents that may occur, but not accept them. A puppy that is starting to be housebroken may occasionally fail to hold back or forget himself under the influence of an emotion. This is not serious, you must persevere in the education of cleanliness that comes gradually. You must never punish your dog for peeing at home, nor put his nose in it.
The method is simple: about 15 minutes after feeding, take your puppy outside until he does his business. Once he’s done outside, reward him to teach him that this is the right attitude. If he forgets at home, ignore him and never clean up in front of him. Instead, take him outside immediately. Take your puppy to the bathroom regularly. Systematically reward good behavior and learning will happen quickly.
Teaching your puppy to walk on a leash and on foot
Walks are a time of great joy for dogs. It’s a whole new adventure for a puppy. You’ll want to start by teaching your puppy to walk on a leash before moving on to walking on foot. The earlier you teach your puppy to walk on a leash, the easier it will be for you, as a pulling puppy is easier to control than a 100-pound dog. In the beginning, it is difficult to get the puppy’s full attention when he is outside, they often pull, as they are excited to discover the joys of walking. It is important to teach him very quickly not to pull on the leash. Initially, a retractable leash should not be used. The best thing for a puppy is to use a training harness and a leash of about 1 meter.
Learning to walk on a leash is a regular task to be done with your puppy, the sessions should last about 20 minutes and can be repeated several times a day. To ensure your puppy is receptive to the lesson, take him out into the country first to let off steam and do his business. Now you’re ready to start the lesson. Choose a place with little traffic at first so the puppy won’t be distracted. You can start at home indoors or in your yard, if you wish. Put the leash on him and start walking at a slow pace. Each time the puppy pulls on the leash and your arm starts to move forward, give a gentle jerk backwards while firmly saying “heel”. This will be very repetitive at first. Don’t get tired, just repeat and repeat. As soon as your dog obeys the “heel” command, praise him. This can be done with treats, verbal rewards or petting. Later, increase the difficulty by doing the exercise in a more crowded area. The first level of difficulty will be a park with other walkers and dogs. The second level will be in the city with the noise of cars. Finally, the third level is a walk in the market with lots of people and smells.
Progress slowly through the difficulty levels. Once the leash walking is integrated with the “heel” command and the recall, you can start the lesson again at the first difficulty level without leash and so on. Some dogs can’t concentrate for long and become very active after a few minutes. This is a sign of a behavioral disorder that makes the dog hyperactive and very sensitive. You should talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible and he will help you solve this problem by using an anti-stress collar for example.
Successfully training your puppy
During this training phase, your patience will be sorely tested, but you must never give in to violence. Violence is counterproductive. You can’t afford to raise your hand on your puppy for anything. He may become fearful and aggressive later on.
You must learn to praise and reward your puppy. Yelling at him or punishing him severely is out of the question. It’s the behavior you need to correct, not the animal itself. So, if he does something right, you can simply give him a treat or a playtime. If he’s overstepping your boundaries, you should simply tell him “no” in a more terse tone than you normally would.
Keep in mind that just because you’re bossing your puppy around doesn’t mean he’ll like you any less. On the contrary, the more you take care of him, the more you’ll earn his respect. It’s not for nothing that a dog’s owner is usually the one who took care of his education when he was young.
There are many accessories to help you train your dog. For example, the clicker which is a method of education carried out with the help of a small metal box which makes a noise of “click” when the box is pressed. This allows to indicate to the animal a good behavior, it associates the noise with the reward. This allows you to teach your dog tricks and exercises through a positive reinforcement technique. The training muzzle will allow you to prevent your puppy from biting or eating its droppings. The training collar will help you stop your dog’s bad behavior from a distance. The anti-runaway collar will keep your dog in a defined area to avoid running away or damaging the flower beds.
Don’t forget that a puppy is like a human, it has a whole life to learn and to be stimulated. Positive and caring education is a process that you will have to repeat regularly, especially when the puppy becomes an adolescent and tries to test you. You will need to be patient. Some breeds are easier than others to raise, but in the end, you are doing it for a good cause. Don’t hesitate to ask the advice of a dog trainer before you start learning or if you encounter any difficulties.