Puppy training has its challenges, but is oh so worth it. There’s nothing quite like raising a dog from puppyhood, bonding from the beginning, and taking a major role in shaping the habits you wish your puppy to learn early in life. Patience and perseverance allow you and your puppy to form a lifelong and mutually beneficial partnership.
At Longwood Veterinary Center, we believe deeply in the importance of training and socialization for pets, and we are here to offer advice and help you navigate the process. Here are a few tips to get you started on your adventures in puppy training!
1– Stick to a Schedule
It’s helpful for you and your puppy to adhere to a schedule when it comes to eating, sleeping, crate training, and going outside for potty training. Your pup should wake, eat, and go to bed at essentially the same time each day, weekends too. Take them outside often while you’re working on house training, and remember to be patient. New habits take time– for humans and puppies alike!
2– Praise Positive Behaviors (Profusely!)
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. When your puppy gets it right, it’s very important to praise them profusely. Make it clear to them that they’ve done well, and you are pleased! Your new puppy doesn’t arrive knowing the rules of the house– you have to explain those rules in a calm and clear manner.
Withholding attention from a puppy engaging in unruly behaviors can be a very effective training aid. For example, when an enthusiastic pup jumps up on you to say hello, communicate your disapproval by ignoring your dog or turning away. When your puppy sits in front of you, as a welcoming hello, shower him with praise and affection. Make it very obvious how you feel about each behavior, and with consistency and time, your puppy will begin to pick up on the cues.
3– Make Use of Rewards
In that same vein, rewards and treats are extremely helpful when it comes to training. Giving your dog a treat when he goes into his crate on command or does something you ask is a great way to reinforce those good behaviors. Positive reinforcement is the most effective means of teaching an animal and the only training method LVC recommends. You ask your dog to sit, and he does. Give him a treat. Rewarding the good behavior encourages it to continue. Your puppy will begin to associate doing what you ask with something he finds pleasurable.
4– No Nibbling!
Many puppies try to play with their new owners’ hands and feet by mouthing and biting. Though playful and seemingly harmless at first, this behavior should be discouraged. It will be very important to teach your puppy that biting of any kind, even during play, is a no no. One of the easiest way to prevent mouthing and biting from becoming a habit is by providing your pet with an ample supply of appropriate objects to chew on.
5– Appropriate Toys
It’s only natural for your puppy to want to chew and bite on things. Those little puppy teeth are coming in, and chewing is just a part of their nature. It’s important to supply your dog with appropriate toys, and things that are ok to chew and bite on. Scatter their chew toys around the house for easy access to help discourage nibbling on your hands and feet. If your pet starts to chew on you, a calmly stated “no” or “no biting” followed by presenting your puppy with a toy that’s appropriate for chewing is a great way to redirect sharp puppy teeth. Replace what they cannot have with something that is intended for them.
If you’re training a puppy, just know that it’ll be worth it in the end! All your effort will culminate in a sweet, well-behaved dog you can be proud of. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about puppy training tips, speak with your Longwood veterinarian, or chat with our team for more tactics and information!