How Do I Get Started With Puppy Training?

Puppy training is a great family activity and can be a bonding experience. If you take the time now, you’ll be much happier with a well-trained dog.

Let’s take a look at some puppy training basics:

Your Puppy’s Motivation

Just like humans, dogs are social animals naturally accustomed to living in “packs.” Your puppy will be a member of your family, but it’s up to everyone to teach him the rules he has to abide by. He’ll come to respect the rules you lay out for him. All it takes is for you and your family to lead the way.

It’ll take some time for your puppy to learn the ropes. What’s important is that along the way you show him positive reinforcement. Many people will reprimand their puppy during training when they do something “wrong.”

But this isn’t the way to go about teaching him. Instead, motivate him by showing him praise or petting him when he follows the rules.

If praise isn’t enough to motivate him, that’s ok. Try using treats in moderation or playing fetch as a reward for doing a good job.

Getting Started

The best time to start training your pup is the moment he enters your home. Show him right from wrong the first day and continue to teach him the rules as he grows up. If you miss something along the way, don’t believe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any problems during training.

Be Consistent

There’s a strong connection between you and your puppy, so clear and consistent communication is key when you’re training him. Teach him positive actions by rewarding him, and “No” by guiding him to do the right thing. The important thing is you’re explicit in teaching him right from wrong; otherwise he’ll get confused. If you’re not consistent, he won’t be either.

Treat Rewards

Giving your puppy a treat or kibble can be a good way to reward him for learning. But don’t give him any free rides. He’s got to earn that treat. This shouldn’t, however, be his only reward. It’s ok to start off with treats, but over time gradually replace treat rewards with praise. Pretty soon praise will be all he needs, and treats can be used just as a treat.

Correction

Misbehavior from your puppy is expected. But it isn’t out of spite, it’s because he probably thinks that it’s okay to act that way. It’s up to you to teach him otherwise. Remember to catch him in the act and not to punish him for something he did in the past. He won’t know what you’re punishing him for unless you connect it to an action that occurred very recently. (Click here to learn about some commands every puppy parent should know.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Never hit him or scold him. Instead, say “No” in a sharp tone when you see your pup doing something wrong and give him praise when he stops.

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