Bringing a new member of the family home is one of the most exciting times but can also be the most challenging. There are many things to consider when getting a new puppy, such as what food should the eat, vet visits, and knowing when it is the right time to start training. Puppies are a lot of “work” and it is important for us as pet parents to give them the time and consistency in their training to set them up for success. Puppy’s are capable of learning from a early age and training is an essential part of your pups development. Puppies have short attention spans so training session should be kept short but occur often throughout the day.
We put a list together of the top training tips for your new pup:
Potty training is an important part of pet parenting. Puppies succeed on a regular schedule. A schedule teaches them there are times to eat, play, rest and times to do their you-know-what. It is important to take your pup outside often to avoid any accidents however generally speaking a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age.
- Take your puppy outside often—at least every two hours—and immediately after they wake up, during and after playing, and after eating or drinking.
- Pick a spot outside, and always take your puppy (on a leash) to that spot. While your pup is relieving themselves use a specific word or phrase that you can use in the future to remind them what to do. With our girl Juno, we always used “go pee” and now she knows that “go pee” means do your business.
- Reward your puppy every time they eliminate outdoors. Praise, praise, praise and more praise. Every time your pup does their business outside make sure to make a big deal about it and give a reward (preferably treats since most puppies are highly food motivated) Puppies are easily distracted and if you praise too soon, they may forget to finish until they’re back in the house.
- Ensure your pup is on a regular feeding schedule. What goes into a puppy on a schedule comes out of a puppy on a schedule. Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that they'll eliminate at consistent times as well, making housetraining easier for both of you.
- Remove the water dish about two and a half hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood that they'll need to relieve themselves during the night.
Many new dog owners cringe at the idea of crate training but it is a useful and important tool for your pup. Dogs are den animals and will seek out little caves for security. Ever find your puppy under the bed or under your chairs, it because it provides them comfort and security.
Crate training is also a great potty training tool. The principle behind using a crate for housetraining is that dogs are very clean creatures and don’t like a urine-soaked rug in their living spaces any more than you do. It’s important that the crate is the right size—just large enough for the dog to lie down, stand up, and turn around. If it is too large, the dog will feel that it’s OK to use one corner for elimination and then happily settle down away from the mess. Many crates come with partitions so you can adjust the size as your puppy grows.
Crate training is also important so your pup doesn’t get into anything they shouldn’t while you are not around.
The first and most important step in crate training is making it a positive experience. Try feeding them meals or treats in their crate so crate time feels like a reward. Never leave dogs in their crate all day. Limit crate time based on how long they spend in their crate daily, their age, and level of house training
Tricks, commands & exercise
In order to set your pup up for success it is important that your puppy knows what is expected of them. Dogs learn through repetition and reward so it is important to always be consistent in your training and reward often.
The foundation of training should always be based on positive reinforcement. Reinforcement can be anything your dog likes such as a high value food (check out our single ingredient beef liver, the perfect training treat for your pup), praise or a chance to play with their favourite toy. Positive reinforcement is the process of giving you pup a reward to encourage the behavior you want. Be careful not to bribe your dog into doing what is asked of them as this can get you into trouble later on. Trust us, dogs know whether or not you have a treat in your hand. Dogs also need to be taught to like praise. When you give your dog their reward, makes sure to use a signal or bridge word like “good dog” or “yes” in a happy voice so they learn that praise is a good thing and a reward follows.
Avoid using punishment such as leash corrections or yelling. Punishment can cause a dog to become confused and unsure about what is being asked of him. Patience goes a long way in helping your new puppy learn how to behave. Remember to keep your training sessions short – just 5 to 10 minutes – and always end on a positive note.