Training Tips

The secret to a happy, healthy pet/owner relationship is the establishment of who is the boss. In order for this to be most effective it should be set from the beginning. A naughty, disobedient puppy may appear independent and cute, but as an adult the willful pet can spell disaster for both the owners and the animal. At the same time, training is fun and very rewarding for you and your puppy. Puppies have an amazing capacity to learn complex commands quickly.
 
Puppies
Most professional dog trainers feel that at five or six months you can begin to seriously train your puppy. However, there are some things they can start learning the minute you get them home.
  • Learning to recognize their own name is probably the first lesson. Use their name frequently - in a bright animated tone to get their attention. Be consistent; don’t call them Freckles one minute and Freckie the next
  • Repeat their name while their eating or playing. When they look up at you at the sound of their name, encourage eye contact by continuing to talk to them as long as they look at you. Soon, they will learn to interpret your looks - stern and disapproving or smiling with praise.
  • One thing you should avoid is calling them over to you for a reprimand when they’ve done something wrong. They will naturally decide not to come the next time you call them.
  • Get the young puppy accustomed to a collar and leash. Start with a narrow, soft collar at first, letting them wear it all the time until they get used to it.
  • Next, attach a lightweight lead to the collar. Make sure the lead is long enough to reach the ground, and let the puppy drag it around for a few days.
  • The next stage is to pick up the end of the lead without occasioning a tug-of-war. Holding the lead straight up, walk along, coaxing the puppy to walk with you.
  • If they lag behind or run ahead, use no more than a few gentle tugs to emphasize your point. If you try to stay close to them, the puppy won’t be too uncomfortably aware of the lead, and won’t come to think of it as an unpleasant restraint.
  • Remember that a young puppy has a very short attention span, so keep all training sessions short and frequent rather than long and irregular.
  • Remember, too, that halfway measures just won’t work with puppies. Their mother would bite them sharply enough to make them howl if she were training.
  • Always be firm and consistent.
 
Chewing

All puppies need to chew - partly because dogs are chewers by nature, and partly from curiosity. The very best way to avoid destruction of furniture and personal belongings is to be sure that the puppy always has appropriate things to chew on.
If you catch them chewing on something they shouldn’t, take it away from them quickly and reprimand them sternly. Don’t just yank it out of their mouth as you can damage the teeth. Cultivate a stern, firm “NO!” that is not necessarily loud, but sharp enough that they get the idea that you are displeased. Remember, some time you may find them chewing on something dangerous, such as an electrical cord. It will be imperative that they obey your command.
 
The Graduate
By the time your puppy is four to six months old, they’re ready for obedience training. That is, they’re ready to learn more complex command such as “heel” and “stay”. These lessons, however, are too involved to go into here.We have included a list of obedience trainers in the area. We recommend that you take the time to sit in on a class or two before actually starting. This will help you decide which trainer’s style you prefer.