When to start training a puppy is a question frequently asked. It is also a debatable question among some dog owners. From my experience, puppy training starts right from the moment your puppy comes into your life.
As the owner of this puppy, you are responsible for your puppy’s training from the time you first set eyes on him. Of course you will be giving lots of love and cuddles while bonding with him, and this will help to build his trust in you.
Training a puppy can be fun and rewarding when the training is approached with patience and understanding of your puppy’s reactions to his big new world.
Along with puppy’s trust he must learn that his responsibility is to follow your instructions. If you fail to teach him to obey you right from the beginning you will have difficulty in controlling him and this will cause frustrations on your part, and confusion to your puppy.
Win Your Puppy’s Trust With Kind and Firm Control
- Take on the role of Pack Leader and win your dog over so that it becomes natural behavior for him to look to you for direction and approval.
It is a dog’s natural instinct to follow the Pack Leader; that is how dogs function. In other words a dog naturally looks for direction and if you, as Pack Leader, are not strong in this role your puppy will grow into the habit of taking on the role of Pack Leader; this of course will cause mayhem for you, your family and friends.
In the role of Pack Leader, it is your job to keep calm and in control of all situations, such as:
- When visitors arrive at your home
- When out on a daily walk
- When meeting other dogs
- When meeting strangers
- When meeting children
You must be ready to deal with all situations and even though your puppy is young, it is important for you to make him understand his place in each event and exactly how you expect him to behave. In saying that, all training and discipline must be done in a positive manner. Never hit, yell or physically punish your puppy as he will lose respect for you and your role as Pack Leader will be destroyed.
Add Fun to Puppy’s training program with activities like:
- playing ‘fetch’
- walking in the park or on the beach
- swimming to retrieve the stick you’ve thrown in the water
Whatever activity your puppy enjoys the most, make it fun and puppy will reward you with good behavior.
Talking about good behavior, your puppy will respond well if you reward him with a treat. A treat can be affection such as pats, cuddles and telling him that he is a ‘good puppy’, or whatever words you choose. But, having chosen your words of praise be consistent with those words so that puppy knows, when he hears those particular words, that you are pleased with him.
If you choose to use treats or food for rewards, don’t use them every time. Alternate treats with affection as previously mentioned.
Most of all, do not reward your puppy if he does not respond to you. Keep rewards for first time responses from him and for his good behavior.
When Training a Puppy Patience and Encouragement Will Bring Results
- Continue encouraging your puppy and seek to get his responses to your commands better each time, until they are perfect.
Above all, endow your puppy with love, treat him with respect and let him know when you are pleased with his behavior. Keep him motivated; let him know what you want from him and, by doing so, you can expect all training to be positive.
Doggy Dan, professional dog trainer certified by the NZSPCA, has all the solutions required to assist you with your puppy training problems.