How to Train a Puppy
Puppy Training Basics
Your new puppy probably seems perfect to you, but he has a lot to learn! Make sure not to write off odd behaviors as personality quirks. Training can help him develop proper pet manners. Even the friendliest neighbors, including those who love dogs, will be resentful if your puppy barks incessantly, wanders on their lawn, soils their yard or tears up their flowers.
Basic training could also save your puppy’s life - knowing a simple command, like coming when called, could help keep your puppy out of danger.
Creating Good Habits
To redirect inappropriate behavior, follow these basic steps:
- Get your puppy’s attention by using a low-pitched, serious voice. Say “ahhh!” This will startle him, and he will stop what he is doing and look to you for further direction.
- Provide an acceptable alternative behavior or distraction.
- Praise correct behavior. In an upbeat, high-pitched voice say “good puppy!” and reward him with calm petting or a treat.
The behaviorists at Purina believe positive reinforcement is not only the best technique for establishing a good relationship with your puppy while training, but that it's also the most effective. Positive reinforcement consists of associating a reward with a desired behavior. If you use positive reinforcement during training, your puppy will learn to associate training time and behaving well with praise, affection or treats. Punishment as a form of training may lead to stress and anxiety for puppies and may weaken the relationship you have with your puppy.
Puppy Training Tips
Here are some tips to help make training your puppy more enjoyable for both of you:
- Be patient. Keep showing your puppy what to do until he responds, then praise him.
- Never lose your temper or strike your puppy. He won’t understand why you are angry, nor will he learn from such treatment. Instead, he may fear you. When he responds, praise and pet him or offer a treat.
- Use puppy treats as a reward to help strengthen the behavior you request. His primary motivation should be to please you, not to receive a snack.
- Be firm and consistent. Always be sure to use the same tone of voice and the same words when giving a command.
- End each training session on a positive note. If your puppy hasn’t mastered a new command, go back to one he can carry out and praise him for doing so.