The importance of puppy training
Having a well-behaved and socialised dog is easy if you begin training them when they’re a puppy.
Now that you’re spending more time at home, this is a great opportunity for you to get started on teaching your puppy everything from toilet training to best behaviour and responding to cues.
Puppy training tips
- When praising your puppy (or adult dog), pat them under the chin or chest as this is more affectionate than a pat on the back or the head.
- Training should be done in short but regular sessions throughout the day. We recommend five minutes sessions, four or five times a day to ensure your puppy is giving you their full attention during training.
- Don’t let your puppy do things when they are young that you don’t want them to do later in life (e.g. jumping up onto furniture or sleeping in your bed).
- Praise and positive reinforcement are very important when teaching puppy commands.
- Never yell at your puppy or punish them for disobeying or ignoring your cue – positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog.
- A tiny dog treat or highly-flavoured food is the best reward when your puppy has done what you’ve asked them to, but remember not to overfeed. Treats should only make up 10% of their daily diet.
- Teach your puppy the five basic commands – sit, drop, stand, stay and come. These form the basis for more advanced tricks later on.
- When teaching commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘drop’, get down to the level of your puppy.
- To teach your puppy to ‘come’, attach a lead to their collar, let them wander away for a while and then call their name and the command ‘come’ while holding a treat. Reward them with the treat once they come over to you and repeat the process until your puppy learns to respond to the cue even without getting a treat as a reward.
- Puppy training is best begun at eight weeks of age and puppies are operating at full learning capacity between eight and twelve weeks old.
- Your voice is your best training aid – use a happy tone for praise, a clear tone for commands, and a firm tone to say “No”.
Enrolling your puppy in a dog training course is a great way to learn the basics. While Greencross Vets’ Best Behaviour Program for puppy training has been temporarily paused to ensure the health and safety of our clients and team members, you can always find out more information on how to train your new puppy by contacting your local Greencross Vets.