A Guide – How To Train Your Puppy
Congratulations! You have a new puppy in your household which is really exciting and in this article, we will give you some tips (as best we can) on training your new family member.
Having a new puppy has its challenges and it is important to stay calm when things don’t always go to plan (not always easy)! The first few days are crucial and during this time you are beginning to build a relationship with your pup which will last for many years. Building trust with each other and a routine that suits you will help your pup to feel comfortable in their new home.
When you bring your new pup home for the first time, offer some food and water. The breeder is likely to give you a small amount of food the pup has been weaned onto. This will imprint some stability for your pup as food means survival. Don’t be concerned if your pup does not want to eat, it will come in time.
Feeling safe in your home
First of all, the most important job is to make sure your new pup feels safe. They have just been taken away from Mum and this is hard for any young animal. Avoid too many visitors in the first couple of days as your pup needs to get used to you and the new smells in your home. Get on the floor and let them come and smell you – dogs are very sensitive to smell and can smell up to 10,000 times more than we can as humans.
Having a safe place to go is really important and this can be a crate with the door left open with a blanket covering the crate, or a comfortable bed somewhere quiet. Let family members know how important this is as your pup will need a quiet place to be and of course will sleep a great deal in the early days.
Having a blanket that comes from the place you bought your pup from can be helpful as the smell will be familiar. An alarm clock works for a lot of folks, ticking gently under a blanket at night, can sound a little like Mum’s heartbeat and be soothing for your pup. The first few nights may be traumatic and your pup may cry quite a bit. Staying with them for a night or so can help them settle in. We stayed on the couch close to Kaya for five nights before she settled fully but settle she did.
Probably the second most important part of training is that your pup knows that doing his or her business in the house is not great!
Take your pup outside as much as possible in the first few weeks so that they learn to pee and poop outside and not inside. Every 15-30 mins or so, when possible.
Reward their behaviour by telling them how clever they are and go down to their level to express this, rather than stooping over them.
Giving a small treat for doing this can also help, but not always as they may expect treats each time.
Leaving a piece of newspaper by the door often helps a puppy to learn to go to the door when they need to pee. If they pee on the paper, that is a good indication that they are learning to ask to go outside. Always reward this behaviour even if it is by the door – less mess to clear up too!
If they do make a mistake, etc like it didn’t even happen, bring them outside and repeat points 1, 2 & 3 above.
Start as you mean to go on in your home
If you have any household rules you want to put in place, doing this from day one is important! Some folk don’t want their pups on the sofa or to go upstairs. This is your decision to make and important to stick to as your pup will work it out pretty quickly but it will get confusing for them if you change the rules mid stream! Once the rules are established, your dog will look for permission to get up on the couch or come up the stairs.
Use a baby gate to block the stairs or any other places they may not be welcome. Play with toys on the floor rather than on a sofa. Teaching them to have fun on the floor is a positive sign and they are quick to learn. Leaving the room for 5 mins and coming back can help them if they feel anxious that you are not there. Increasing this time slowly should help build confidence and help stop the dog developing separation anxiety.
Toys for your pup
Having toys for your pup is important and helps with natural behaviour. Puppies need to chew (this really helps with biting) which is an unpleasant part of having a puppy.
Hard eco-friendly toys are great and not full of toxic substances. We recommend Olive Branch, Yackers Bar and Antlers for example. Balls are good – eco-friendly and the correct size for your pup so they cannot be swallowed. Bigger is better especially as a pup – really important. Tennis balls are not ideal.
Raw marrowbones are an excellent treat for pups & adults alike. NEVER feed cooked bones!! Cooked bones become brittle and can cause serious injury to your dog. are not good and can be broken easily and splinter.
Kongs are good and can be kept in the freezer when your pup is teething to soothe sore gums.
Dentastix are not good and full of ingredients like sugar – actually NOT good for teeth!
Raw hide chews are full of toxic ingredients and to be avoided.
Natural chews such as Kaya Dried pizzels, rabbit ears, dried trachea, tripe sticks, yak bars, fish skins/cubes are the best option and will keep your pup entertained but again, always under supervision, until they are experienced anyhow.
Recall for your puppy
Recall is so important for many reasons, the first being safety for your pup.
10 top tips
- Begin recall inside your home and start with commands like “come” or “here” – being consistent is important as your pup will recognise and remember this. A whistle is also an option for some folks, your own voice whistle is easy! When your pup comes towards you, having given the command, reward them with a treat or give them a good fuss.
- Avoid letting your pup off the lead/harness until they are reliable in your home or garden. Using a long lead for more difficult pups can help and retains control. Most pups are inquisitive creatures and want to go and learn new things. Any distraction could be dangerous if near roads, so make sure you are confident before taking the next steps.
- Have “high-end” treats in your pockets – things like dried liver, kidney, or Pet Parlour Poultry or Fish Treats in a bag work brilliantly and smell is so important for recall. Just very small amounts are needed as you don’t want to fill their little bellies to quickly!
- When giving your chosen command, make sure it is happy and although this sounds crazy, opening your arms wide and being lower to the ground can be welcoming for your pup.
- If your pup does not immediately respond to your command, try not get frustrated (or at least don’t show it – hard sometimes I know)! Try to give the command when you really mean it and don’t keep repeating it. Think of a child in a sweetshop and how many times they ask for sweeties – often the parent gives in and this may give the wrong impression which is similar to your pup.
- Only give a command when you think you will have success. If your pup is about to chase a squirrel or rush over to another dog, you are less likely to have success with recall. Reward good behaviour with a treat and lots of fuss.
- Socialising your pup is a good thing and important, but when training for recall, it is easier and more effective to do it on your own. Some dogs will rush over to every dog and owner they see, which is not always popular with nervous dogs and their owners.
- Your pup may behave very differently when on a lead or long leash. This behaviour can come from you as the owner if you are anxious. There are more dog fights with dogs on leads for this very reason.
- Never tell your pup off for coming back (really hard in some situations) and control is really needed here folks. You must reward your pup for coming back to you, otherwise, you are giving completely the wrong message. Why would any pup come back to an angry, yelling owner? Your pup picks up on so many vibes and if you are furious it is unlikely they want to come anywhere near you.
- Playing hide and seek can be a really fun game for your pup and you can start this in your home. By teaching this sort of recall, you are training your pup that you should always be on their mind when out and about and that it can be fun to find you. Reward this behaviour with lots of fuss and sometimes treats.
That’s all folks. Please make contact with us if you would like any assistance regarding anything mentioned above, from food options to training treats to leads and harnesses, we can help you out at The Pet Parlour.