Bringing home your new puppy is very exciting! As a way to get your relationship off in the right way and build trust, start your training early.
What’s in a name? One of the most important things you’ll want to teach your new puppy is their name. This can be easy; simply using their name whenever you address them will soon get the idea across. Praise them whenever they respond – even if it is as little as them turning their head towards you.
Next comes toilet training. Your puppy’s toilet needs work like clockwork – they’ll want to go after waking up, after being fed and usually after playing. Watch how your puppy behaves at these times and learn their toilet cues – it’ll make toilet training a far easier process if you know what to look for.
Some behaviours to watch for are restlessness, sniffing, circling or a sudden trot toward the corner or another room – once you see any of these (and make sure you’re fast), scoop your puppy up and take them outside to do their business, with plenty of praise. Just be careful not to carry the puppy facing you – they can be prone to little accidents and you may not want to be in the direct line of fire!
If you are keeping your puppy in a room that doesn’t have direct access to your garden, it may be worth trying puppy training pads – absorbent pads that you can use to encourage your puppy to relieve themselves on the pad rather than on the floor. With the same regime – watching for cues and then taking them to the pad to do their business – you can successfully train your puppy to toilet on them, but you will have to make the extra step of transitioning the pad outside as they start learning. Simply put the pad outside when your puppy has access to the garden, and the puppy should associate going to the toilet with going to the toilet outside. Over time you can remove the pad.
Where your puppy sleeps is a very individual choices. Many choose to puppy proof a room for them to spend most of their early days in, while some prefer pens or crates. All of which have their own positives, and usually depends on your living situation and available space.
Crates are growing in popularity, and as dogs have a natural denning instinct, they use their crate as a safe place to get some peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of life in a busy household. While they are great tools for giving your place a dog to sleep and provide safe confinement when you can’t supervise them, puppies need plenty of interaction with other dogs and people, as well as mental stimulation and exercise, so should never be confined to the crate longer than necessary. The limit is usually overnight and no more than half of the day – as long as they are let out regularly for toileting and attention.
With the basics covered, you can then move on to trying to teach your puppy how to respond to commands such as sit, down and stay, as well as walking to heel and recall. While your puppy may not seem in full control of his legs most of the time, they are much smarter than they look and capable of learning plenty at a young age! However, try not to overdo it – five minutes of training will suffice, else you risk the puppy getting bored.
Puppy classes are a great tool for helping you get to grips with training, as well as give your puppy the opportunity to socialise with a range of other dogs. Also, if you start to face any difficulties or are unsure of how to correct a certain behaviour, your trainer will help you through this and most trainers offer one to one sessions as well as group classes.
Above all else, have fun! While it is likely you will spend quite a bit of time mopping up puddles and other unsavoury tasks, teaching your puppy should always be fun and is the perfect way to build a bond to last a lifetime.
If you want to know more about how to train your puppy in the early stages and what you may need, pop in store to chat with our staff, who will be more than happy to help.