Puppy training should start as soon as your puppy sets paws in your house. This will ensure that your puppy will grow into a well-trained dog that’s a joy to have in your family. Puppies are capable of learning from a very young age and begin to do so before you even bring them home, such as learning lessons from their litter mates. Training your puppy will not happen overnight but by teaching young dogs the rules of the house and appropriate doggy manners from the get-go, you will be giving your puppy a great start in life. When you teach your puppy good habits from the beginning, you will save yourself the time and frustration of having to retrain or correct any bad habits they pick up.
Social Skills for Puppies
One of the first things you’ll want to do is socialize your new puppy. Between the ages of 7-16 weeks, your puppy develops the crucial social skills that are going to affect him all his life. This is the age that can make him or break him socially. Socializing young puppies teaches them to be strong, brave, and well adjusted. And, lack of socialization, creates nervous and fearful dogs. One of your number one priorities is shaping social skills by exposing him to people, sights, sounds, taking him out for car rides, and other safe activities where the pup will not be exposed to Parvo.
Another area that you’ll want to work on from the start is establishing your role as leader. In all social structures there is a leader and your dog is not it. By teaching your puppy to respect and listen to you, you will in turn gain your puppies respect and all future training will be easier. Puppies and dogs without an established leader are left to make their own decisions and that’s never good. Establishing leadership over your puppy doesn’t mean your puppy should be afraid of you nor does it require you to force your puppy into submission. Strong leadership means that your puppy looks to you to provide for his direction, guidance, boundaries, limitations, and physical needs.
Basic Puppy Training
This is the time you will also want to begin basic puppy training, such as potty training, crate training, bite inhibition, training your puppy not to jump on people, not to dig, chew furniture, to sit – whatever your rules and expectations will be for your grown dog, begin teaching them when you bring your puppy home. Young puppies require consistency, direction, and will need to practice what they’ve learned over and over, perhaps hundreds of times so a lot of patience is key. When you are training your new puppy, always remember to:
- Praise your dog for good behavior.
- Handle your dog by petting, patting, holding your puppy, touching paws, mouth, etc. so the puppy gets used to being handled and restrained.
- Teach your puppy simple commands to obey and expect him to do it. No praise or treats until he does.
- Give your dog permission to play, get in the car, eat the treat – whatever it is teach them to look to you for approval.
- Be consistent and don’t change the rules midstream. For instance, if the couch is off limits, it is always off limits because by allowing the dog on the couch ‘sometimes’ will only confuse your dog.
- Correct behavior quickly, as the puppy is doing it. Never hit a puppy, don’t hold grudges, lose your temper, or otherwise create fear.
- Never give commands unless you are prepared to follow through.
- No means no. If you deny your puppy something, don’t cave in if they bark, whine, etc.
- Give your dog structure, guidance, and love every day!