Puppy Training Guide
Your puppy is an open learning funnel and training this learning funnel is key to your dog’s success. The puppy learning funnel closes around 16 weeks of age. Implement these 10 puppy tips the moment your puppy is welcomed into his new home. We’ll train your puppy to learn the importance of polite manners from the beginning. Taking the time to train your dog or puppy is what sets everyone up for success!
1. Enroll in Puppy Class (Using Positive Reinforcement)
After your puppy’s first set of puppy vaccinations, enroll yourself and your puppy into a Positive Puppy Group Class. Choose a dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement. This means no yelling, pushing, yanking or pulling your puppy around. During classes, choose treats your dog loves!
2. Socialize Your Puppy
Puppies are sponges until 16 weeks of age so show them the world now. Introduce them to friendly strangers, cars passing by, loud sounds and so on. Ask friendly strangers to give your puppy treats. Your puppy will learn people are fun.
3. Create a Set Potty and Play Schedule
This is a dog training secret! A set schedule provides reminders, so your puppy is given plenty of opportunities to potty. We live busy lives and forget it’s been hours since our puppies have had a chance to potty. Two- to three-month-old puppies can only hold it for a couple of hours max! Place the schedule on your refrigerator for quick reference. Also, all members of your family should follow this schedule.
4. Participate in Supervised Puppy Play Time
Supervised dog training means a professional dog trainer is monitoring puppy play at all times, and it’s a great way for puppies to learn dog etiquette. Supervised sessions invite puppies under 5 months old and allow a maximum of 10 puppies to play at one time. This ensures everyone has a positive experience. Stay away from dog parks, as no one is monitoring play sessions (no one with professional experience, that is). This is the #1 reason dogs become aggressive, as they are bullied by an adult dog and learn other dogs are unpredictable.
5. Crate Train
Your dog’s crate is his sanctuary. He feels safe and can relax in his crate so make it fun to be in his crate. Feed meals in his crate and provide special food stuffed toys to enjoy while relaxing in his crate.
6. Have Patience (Mistakes Will Happen)
Mistakes are part of the learning process. Have patience and invest in a good enzyme cleaner for potty mistakes and follow your set schedule. If teaching your puppy a new behavior, setbacks happen so stop and figure out what caused the mistake and vow not to let it happen again. If your puppy makes multiple mistakes, he may be confused.
7. Teach the Trade Game
Never chase a dog or puppy if he has something in his mouth. As you show your puppy a piece of cheese, say, “Trade.” When he drops the item, pick up the item and give him the cheese. After a week or two of practice, your puppy will learn to drop items when he hears the “trade” cue. This method will not reinforce your dog to pick up random items in hopes of trading. Rather, he is rewarded for dropping the item for cheese. 🙂
8. Keep Training Sessions Short (1-2 mins)
Practice once or twice daily and keep sessions to 1-2 minutes long. Even if your puppy is doing well, end the session. Use a timer or count out 5 treats and practice until these treats are gone. Puppies’ attention spans are limited for right now so keep it short and fun.
9. Teach Him to Enjoy Body Handling
Puppies are sponges, so teach them to enjoy body handling now. Click/treat as you touch his ear, paw, tummy, look in his mouth, lift his tail, touch a toenail, pick him up or restrain him with a hug (preparing for vet visits).
Click and treat your puppy during vet visits with a goal of using 60 tiny treats while the vet is examining your puppy. Give your puppy 5 treats in a row while he’s getting a puppy shot. 🙂
VIDEO: Body Handling
10. Prevent Puppy Biting
Puppy teeth on human skin is not allowed so squeak the moment you feel his teeth touch your skin. The squeak tells your puppy this hurts you. Then, reward your puppy when he removes his teeth from your skin. Also, if your puppy is really excited, wiggle a toy next to your body. This redirects him from your skin and onto a toy.
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