If there’s one thing on this Earth that can be described as a labour of love, it is certainly training a dog; be it a puppy or junior. Naturally, there are many ways to train a dog, however, we find that the best way is with treats and toys; this is also known as “reward based training” where you reward your pet when they follow a correct instruction or do as they’re told.
But, where do you even start? Well, if you’re already this far you should know by now that you’ve come to the right place. Read on and we’ll share with you some of the best tips for each aspect of training a new forever-friend!
Essential Items and Must Haves:
If you’re serious about this you will need a few essential items to help you on your way. The first things we recommend getting are a dog crate and a comfy, you-smelling blanket. The crate will give your dog a place to rest and an area to call their own, while the blanket will keep them warm and allow him/her to familiarise your scent with safety. Next, you’ll need a toy or enriching treat that will keep your pup’s mind off of misbehaving, chewing on the good couch in the sitting room or going toilet in the kitchen.
At this early stage, food isn’t really a concern. You can keep feeding your new friend whatever your Reputable Breeder or Adoption Centre was feeding them, though if you wish, you can change over gradually at a later date. Also, stock up on plenty of newspaper because that’s what you’ll be using in the downtime from toilet training!
Finally, our own Pet Health Plans are ideal for any accidents that happen when your pup is figuring out their place in the world. At only €18 a month, you’ll receive free visits to all of our clinics, annual booster vaccinations, annual urine and blood tests, 10% off neutering and 20% off all Royal Canin Diets! See our website for more information.
The first few months of your pup’s life are critical to begin socialising, for it is in these early days that your pup will be at their most curious. It’s important to build on and continue this as your puppy gets older. Now, you may be thinking that there’s a knack to it, or maybe something that you yourself must be doing to help aid this socialisation… There’s not; all you have to do is take your puppy out and about as much as possible and as soon as they have settled in. Observe your puppy for signs of anxiety and, if things get too much, gently remove them from the situation. Remember, young puppies tire as easily as toddlers do, so keep encounters short with enough time in between for resting. During all encounters, protect your puppy from bad experiences. Young puppies have an innate ability to get themselves into trouble, so think ahead and try to prevent any unpleasant events from occurring. Remember: If their early life is pleasant and positive, your puppy will grow up feeling safe and confident to take on whatever else life may have in-store.
Scolding your pup for toileting accidents is the worst thing you can do. It is up to you to know when to bring your new pup outside for their business. This can include: First thing when they wake up, after eating, drinking or even playing. Routine is somewhat important, though your pup will display some indication of when it’s time for the toilet, such as: Excessive circling, sniffing or general restlessness. The goal is, of course, that when you open the back door your pup will immediately run out, do their business and then come back. That level of reliability will take time and a good routine.
So… You’ve managed to get your new puppy outside before they could get down to business in the sitting room. This is exactly what you want to be doing, weather depending of course! Once your pup has completed their task, offer them praise and a high value treat. This will trigger the “I do this I get treats and toys!” response from your pup. As we’ve mentioned, we think reward based training is the best kind of training! However, it is important that your puppy is not given free access to go outside; they will need to learn to ask first in the same way they must learn not to go toilet in the house!
Walking Your New Friend:
One of the hardest aspects of owning a new pup is bringing them on walks. At this tender age, your new friend’s walking ability is quite limited. Get your hands on a simple, decent collar and a simple, decent lead. Put both on your pup and allow them a period of acclimatisation as he/she gets used to the weight and feel of both the collar and lead. When you feel that your pup is ready, start by taking them on an easy walk, perhaps a few times around the garden or up and down the driveway. Gradually increase the walk’s duration, issue commands such as ‘Halt’, ‘Heel’, ‘Go’ and offer praise and treats when these commands are followed. Remember, as much as this is a learning experience for them, it might be just as much for you! And don’t worry; if you encounter any boo-boos or hurting paws on your walk you can visit our Emergency Clinic’s website.
One of life’s many joys is playing with a puppy. Their innocence, toddler-like movements and wild curiosity is a thing to behold; enriching for both pet and owner. Playtime with your new friend is an important aspect of a puppy’s development. It teaches them socialisation skills that will be necessary for them to have later on in life. You can play with your puppy indoors or in the garden, it’s entirely up to you and what best suits their needs. At this young age you can also introduce your children to your pup during playtime and allow them to bond (which can happen almost immediately), leading to a much better relationship further down the line. Having a few different kinds of toys at this stage can be helpful, but don’t go spending a fortune on anything too snazzy; simple toys often work best (and you’ll need new ones anyway, once they grow older and their teeth grow sharper).
So, with the above tips and tricks in your repertoire, you’ll be more than capable to handle any dog that happens to enter your life! If you have any other questions that we didn’t manage to cover, you can always ring us or have a gander here. We’d be happy to give you advice on how best to train your new friend!
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