Training Your Puppy
You should begin training your puppy when she is anywhere from 9 to 12 weeks of age. While some early training can be started as soon as your puppy comes home, it’s often better to wait until she is around this age. Keep in mind that training can cover a broad range of topics. Start off with the basics – things like house-training and teaching her to obey your NO.
Learning to socialize is next on the list. Experts tell us the best window for your puppy to learn socialization skills is between 3 and 6 weeks – that’s the best time to ensure that your puppy grows into a well-adjusted adult. Socialization is about giving your dog the self-assurance to deal correctly with any social environment it finds it’s self in and is one of the most valuable and lasting lessons you can teach it.
Bottom line, a well-adjusted dog is one that is comfortable in a variety of situations and surroundings. It may be excited in a new setting, but not fearful.The key here, is to create positive experiences as you expose your dog to more and more new situations.
Even training your puppy for 5 – 10 minutes per day as soon as you bring it home will make a big difference in its social skills and adaptability. Keep in mind that puppies have very short attention spans, so keep your lessons short and fun. How short an attention span? That depends on the age of the puppy, its breed and how mature your individual puppy is. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep the training sessions within that 5 -10 minute range.
Depending on your puppy’s age and maturity level, sometime between 3 and 6 months of age, you should be moving the training into the area of the basic commands such as Sit, Heel, Down, etc. It’s important you have realistic expectations about your dog’s capabilities at this point – I don’t expect a puppy to be responding to the basic commands with any degree of regularity until they’ve reached 6 months of age.
Puppy training (well, all dog training for that matter) has three main components – known as “PCP” – that you need to keep in mind day in and day out when you’re training your puppy:
Patience is the key to any training program with your puppy. The level of patience you display while training your dog will have a direct impact on whether you have a happy, well-trained dog, or a miserable, misbehaving one.
You’re the adult here, remember? You’re the trainer, the leader of your pack (the Alpha Dog), and the one doing the teaching. You know that your puppy needs short and positive training sessions. You know you can’t teach it everything in one session, or even in a week of sessions. So, patience is the key. If you find yourself getting frustrated when training your puppy, end the session on a positive note, and stop the training. Don’t lose your temper and take it out on your dog. It’s not the puppy’s fault that you’re getting annoyed – ok, well, maybe it is, but it’s up to you to maintain control and restart the training on another day.
Consistency is the second most important component of training. It is very important that everyone in the family gives the dog the same commands and allow the same behaviors. I can’t stress this point enough. If your family is all on the same page in terms of training, your puppy will be trained more quickly and thoroughly than you can imagine. When someone in your family says “Sit” to the puppy, it will know that it means “Sit.” Not “Lie Down,” not “Ok, go eat your food now,” not “It’s ok to chase the cat.” Sit means Sit. Down means Down.
It is equally important to keep the behaviors consistent. You can’t have one family member letting your dog get on the couch and another trying to discipline it and telling it “No!” for the same behavior. It will only confuse it, with the end result that it won’t learn which behavior is right. So it will either try to do both, or neither.
Practice makes perfect. I really hate to use that old adage, but it’s true!. Repetition is the way to teach your dog a lesson – any lesson. Repeating the lesson over and over again will make it stick so deeply in your dog’s memory, that it’s likely that it will never forget it, and that’s what you want. You want the puppy’s reaction to your commands to become second nature, obeyed almost instinctively and certainly followed immediately.
For more information, visit Puppy Training
Author: chaz1323This author has published 20 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.