Training a puppy is not all about to teach him to obey and learn some cool tricks, education, and socialization are the most important things to keep in mind while training a puppy.
A lot of you ask me often what is the most important thing to know about training a puppy, and my answer is always the same:
Start training your puppy early, be Patient, be consistent, and add more Patience!
If you spend a couple of minutes on this blog post, I'll show step by step you how to achieve a well-behaved puppy by your side in no time!
1. Before We Start
A puppy is a "family member" that you should educate and teach how to behave in certain situations.
Things to keep in mind before we start:
- Educating and training a puppy, regardless of race or size, will be a long process.
- You won't see results overnight, don't get frustrated.
- Remember that your puppy is a small "curious" animal that is learning everything from life.
- Try to enjoy the process, those moments of fun and joy with your puppy, also when he has taken your favorite shoe as a toy :)
- Patience and consistency are essential to success while training a puppy.
- Learn and research everything about your best friend.
- It is very important that you know well what care and attention your puppy will need. You need to know what behaviors are "normal" and which are not. This way, you can consult your veterinarian or dog trainer in time.
- The moment is now. Keep in mind that what you don't correct now that your dog is young, will be harder to correct when he grows up.
2. Puppy Checklist
3. Puppy Training Tips
Infographic Provided By All Things Dogs
4. when to start educating and training a puppy
A frequent questions that is asked to veterinarians and dog trainers is this: "At what age should I start educating my puppy?"
The answer is very simple: from the first moment when the new puppy or dog sets foot in the house.
I think the problem is that many owners confuse dog education with dog training.
They are NOT the same thing!!
Educating a puppy means, giving him rules of behavior to follow to improve coexistence with humans and other animals.
Surely you are already thinking about going for a run with your puppy, teaching him to sit, lie down, stay, sit pretty, etc.
Well, do not get too excited :)
A puppy is like a human baby; we can't start teaching him things and actions until he grows up and is aware. And when he does, we must teach him very little by little.
Until he is four months old, he will only want to play, eat, and sleep (something totally natural). So just focus on enjoying this time a lot.
We can start teaching and training our puppy when he is four months old circa.
Start very slowly, without hurry, and always using positive reinforcement. It is essential to use this method to strengthens the bond between you and your best friend.
5. Training a puppy to recognize his name
We are faced with another very important step: training a puppy to recognize his name.
You should keep in mind that the time it takes for a dog to learn its name is, on average, between 5 and 10 days.
Be patient, think that you are teaching your animal a new language.
It is normal that the first days are more complicated.
A good way to start training a puppy to recognize his name is by calling him when you have eye contact and always when you have a treat with you. Each time he looks at you when you call his name, reward him.
From there, continue the exercise, and you will see that in no time, he will respond perfectly to his name every time.
If he does not look at you, it has no sense to keep calling him 10000 times, Distract him, take his attention with something different for a few seconds, and start the training your puppy again.
Remember, keep it short!
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6. Start socializing your puppy
It is a sensitive and fundamental period so that, in adulthood, the dog has a balanced and self-confident character.
However, how to socialize a puppy correctly?
If, in the first months of your puppy's life, you only have it at home, when you go out for the first time, it is normal for him to be afraid.
It is very good that in those first months you walk with your pet through different places.
You dont have only to show him how to move around the city, but also that there are many types of :
- baby carriages and so on.
In the beginning, your puppy can be shy but do not worry. He will take security and confidence very fast.
- Socialization is a process that must be carried out gradually, avoid overexposing your puppy to stressful environments or situations that can trigger anxiety.
- Don't force your puppy to interact with other dogs or to experience an unpleasant situation. You could provoke the appearance of fears and phobias.
- Try to make the experiences you offer very variedly and positive.
- Practice the bite inhibition exercise every day so that your dog learns how to use his mouth as soon as possible.
- Make short five-minute sessions with YouTube videos in which you can put different sounds, such as storms, firecrackers, birds, etc. That will help your puppy to get used to them and not experience fear in real situations.
- Get your dog used to traveling by car, to use the collar and leash, even before having to go outside.
6.2 Puppy Socialization Infographic
Infographic Provided By Pupbox
7. Prevent separation anxiety
It is normal that you want to spend as many hours as possible with your puppy. It is so beautiful!
But the truth is that eventually, you will have to leave him alone sometimes.
One of the causes of anxiety and sadness for our pets is to spend a lot of time without us since they are social animals, they need company.
"It is defined as Separation Anxiety, the state of stress that the dog reaches when it does not have access to its owner.
This state does not occur because the animal feels a dependence on its human, but because he is not able to manage the situation of loneliness and separation."
7.1 separation anxiety signals - training a puppy:
When the puppy is left alone at home, he feels threatened, in danger, and a state of alert is activated in him that can lead to:
- Destruction of objects.
- Excessive barking or howling.
- Urinating or defecating everywhere.
- Excessive drooling, salivation or panting,
- Whining, or trembling as you prepare to leave.
- Continuous attempts to escape confinement, etc.
*These behaviors will make training a puppy more complicated; this is why I highly suggest you prevent this from happening.
Still, it is very important that our dog learn to manage his loneliness.
To help your puppy not feel alone when there is no one at home, I recommend you limit the space occupied by your pet, so he can feel safe and secure.
You can get it done by acquiring a pet fence, similar to those used for young children; you can easily find in pet stores or amazon.
Make sure that the puppy has food and fresh water available, and also a crate or/and a warm bed.
- For the first five months, don't leave your puppy for more than 3 hours alone.
- Don't get overexcited when you come back home.
- Also don't be dramatic with your puppy when it is time to go.
- Make arriving and leaving uneventful.
- Give your puppy the chance to go potty before leaving him alone.
- When you leave home, make sure the puppy has had enough exercise.
- Consider crate training.
- Distract (with something to chew or stuffing toys like kong) the puppy during the first 30 minutes you leave (critical period); it will alleviate its frustrated feelings and reduce destructiveness.
7.3 Separation Anxiety Infographic - training a puppy
8. How to choose the right crate - Infographic
8.1 Crate Training tips - infographic
Infographic Provided by best dog crates
9. Training a puppy not to bite
Training a puppy not to bite is not that difficult; it needs only some consistency in correcting this behavior.
You have to think, It is totally normal for our puppy to bite us because when they are so young, they just want to explore everything and nibble on everything.
Also, due to the period of teething, they suffer a lot.
And YES, curiously biting things, relieves that pain.
That's why it's normal for them to bite our shoes, our furniture and even bite us. But if it's normal, it doesn't mean we should allow it.
Training a puppy that he shouldn't bite us, should be corrected from the first time he does.
With a simple "Shhh" or "No!" It is enough,
never use force.
After the correction, we will give him right away a toy for puppies, and encourage him to bite the object.
This way, he learns that he can bite his toys and not our hands or shoes.
Remember, Be patient :)
Checkout my recent article about how to stop puppy biting!
9.1 Training a puppy not to bite infographic
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10. Potty training a Puppy
Yes, I know perfectly how annoying it is when our puppy pees and poops inside the house, EVERYWHERE...
That's why it's important that you start training your puppy from the first day.
This is the stage of training a puppy where patience and consistency become more important!
Very often, you will have to go outside with him to the park, so that your puppy learns to do his needs there, away from home.
Physically your puppy can't hold pee, and I guarantee you that it is not about obedience or disobedience.
So, you shouldn't get mad at him for the fact that he does his needs where he shouldn't.
Pro Tip: It is important that the place where he pees outside is a different surface than the rest of the house.
When your puppy will surely make pee, after:
- Eating or drinking
- Leaving the crate
- Or when he smells very interested the floor
- When he waits at the door
Of course, there may be many other occasions when the dog can pee inside, but after one of the events listed above, it is very likely that it is going to happen.
I recommend you to take the puppy (2 - 5 months old ) outside at regular intervals of 2-3 hours (even for 10 minutes), or after one of the events listed above.
Remember, be patient.
10.1 Potty Training Infographic - Training A puppy
11. Training a puppy to walk on leash Infographic
12. When to start training a puppy physically
From birth to fourteen or sixteen months of life, our puppy will devote all his energy to play, know the world, and to make new experiences.
But you should not force him to exercise to develop more muscle, that will come much later.
Until he is four months old, you should not take long walks with him, it is more advisable to go to a park and that he plays and runs as much as he wants with other dogs.
After four months, you can start taking walks with him, but never force him; instead, start training his brain with some basic obedience commands.
And after 18/24 months, you can go jogging, backpacking, hiking or biking, without any problem, and remember, do these activities always on cool days.
13. Train your puppy to sleep in his own bed
Dogs choose to sleep and rest in the place of the house where they feel most comfortable and this does not always coincide with what we have thought for them.
Many readers comment that they have spent a lot of money on a house or bed for the dog, and then their furry friend chooses to sleep on the floor or in the kitchen near the garbage can.
Observe your puppy, identifies where your puppy prefers to sleep, or where he chooses to rest most often.
Then, you can put a towel or bed there and gradually enter the command “place.”
After some time, test if your puppy has properly learned the command, say "place," and reward every time the fact that your puppy actually goes to his bed.
14. Train your puppy in positive
You may not know it, but it has been shown that it is more effective training a puppy by strengthening positive behaviors than by punishing negative ones.
The term "positive" means that the reinforcer is presented or added immediately after the behavior.
Positive reinforcers are usually pleasant things for the puppy, or things for which he is willing to make some effort to get them.
Combine clicker training in your positive reinforcement sessions.
You can read more about clicker training and positive reinforcement in here: Clicker Training
15. Positive reinforcement dog training tips - infographic
Infographic Provided by barksfromtheguild
Educating a dog is very hard; it requires a lot of energy and patience.
But believe me, at the same time, it is very rewarding since you are forging what will be a future balanced, happy, and well-behaved adult dog.
Personally, I lived two very different puppyhoods with my dogs.
Every dog is a world.
Just enjoy it.
And share this blog post to spread the word and help other puppy owners.