Raising a well-behaved, loyal dog from a wiggly, wild puppy can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, but only if it’s done right. When you first get a puppy, training needs to start immediately before bad habits set in. Whether you’re going to train your puppy yourself or hire one of the qualified local dog trainers in your area, there are some basic training steps that need to be tackled right out of the gate.
1. Choose your dog’s name wisely
Finding a name for your fluffy little bundle of joy is probably something you’ll want to go straight out of the gate, but it’s important to weigh your puppy’s name carefully before deciding. For the purposes of training, a short name with strong consonants can be exceptionally helpful. Names like Cosmo or Jack will allow your dog to hear the name more clearly and the strong ending perks up your puppy’s ears.
When you first start saying your puppy’s name do your best to always associate it with something pleasant and fun things and don’t use it to discipline, otherwise you may inadvertently train them to ignore it or run from it.
2. Decide on the house rules before the puppy’s in the house
Whether you’re raising a puppy on your own, with your partner, or as a family pet, deciding on the “house rules” before the puppy arrives is crucial. The house rules are a list of the things your puppy can and can’t do. These can include where he’s allowed to be (on furniture or off), what rooms are off limits, where he should do his business, and where he’ll sleep. Once you’ve made the house rules, you need to stick to them to instill good behavior.
3. Provide a safe space and the ability to relax
Coming home with you is exciting for your puppy, but it’s also very stressful. To help them settle in, give them a place that’s safe and private and where they won’t be bothered by any other pets or people. Reward him when he stays relaxed and happy and helps him relax when he first comes home by giving him a hot water bottle and a ticking clock. These will help simulate the warmth of his litter mates and the nearby heartbeats.
4. Deal with the jump up
It’s adorable for a tiny puppy to jump up when they’re small, but it’s not so endearing when they’re full-grown. Jumping up is a common way for dogs to want to greet people, but it should be nipped in the bud early. Don’t scold them or reprimand them when they do this, just ignore them and turn away until the behavior stops. Never encourage it by patting, praising, or even greeting your dog until they settle and stop jumping.
5. Tell him to come when called
The recall is vital with a dog. Proper recall can actually be lifesaving when it comes to dogs, preventing them from being in a dangerous situation or protecting them. This is why it should be taught early. Teaching your puppy to come on command helps establish your position as the alpha. To help them learn to come, get on their level and call their name until they come. When the puppy comes, shower them with encouragement and positive reinforcement.
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