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Training is a vital aspect of your relationship with your puppy. It establishes the foundation of your life with your dog as they eventually age and grow. Learning how to train a puppy training will require a lot of patience on your part as a pet owner. But the benefits that you will reap once your puppy finishes his training will last as long as you and your dog are together.
There are numerous aspects of how to train a puppy, and we at The Furry Companion are more than ready to guide you. You have to take into account your puppy’s age—experts would recommend starting puppy training as early as possible, although there might be extenuating circumstances. Pet owners will likely need to commence puppy training with potty training and general discipline since puppies are similar to blank slates acting purely on instinct.
It’s not uncommon for pet owners to teach their puppies simple tricks, although others make a career out of their dog’s ability to perform elaborate shows. These days, training classes are becoming more popular with the dog-lovers crowd. These classes are also an available option for you and your pupper.
As a pet owner, if you want to start training your puppy, there are also specific materials that you will need to prepare your young doggo successfully. We will discuss extensively each aspect in separate sections below.
How to Train a Puppy and When
The idea of taking care of a puppy is always associated with excitement, but the reality is it can be frustrating and exhausting. Puppies are endless bundles of energy and enthusiasm, and it can be hard to keep up with them. Not to mention, because they’re so young, they still aren’t in control with most of their bodily functions. To some, it can be a source of frustration, but as a pet owner, your number one tool when dealing with puppies is patience.
Some experts suggest that puppy training should start as early as seven weeks old. Debra Horwitz, DVM and co-author says “Puppies start learning from birth and good breeders begin handling and socialization right away. Some training can begin as soon as the puppy can open its eyes and walk.” Others recommend starting at 12 weeks when your puppy is more in control of his bladder and bowel movements. The duration of training depends on a lot of factors. Puppies usually need around 4–6 months of training, although this could well extend to an entire year. Breeds also factor in, with smaller breeds requiring more bathroom breaks than bigger dogs.
How to Train a Puppy for Mealtimes
Housetraining your puppy usually commences once you bring them home with you. If your puppy came from a pet shop and had been living in a cage before, you might encounter a few more problems than most, though this is manageable.
Dogs rely on consistency when they are as young as they are, so it is essential to be consistent in terms of behaviors, rewards, and spaces dedicated to your puppy. You may set aside a specific corner at home for your puppy and place some puppy essentials there.
Place their food and drinking bowls, like URPOWER’s Stainless Steel Dog Bowls with Non-Skid Silicone Mat, at the corner. You can also opt to mark off the area with pens like the Midwest Foldable Exercise Pen, which is highly recommended by pet owners.
When you are considering how to train a puppy, note that part of it involves making sure that they have a regular feeding schedule. According to Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM, and collaborator “A regular feeding schedule helps with house training puppies, as well as adult rescue dogs who have not been taught household manners.” Diet is an essential part of a puppy’s life, which you, as a pet owner, should closely monitor. Take away your puppy’s food bowl between meals so they won’t overeat and make themselves sick.
A food bowl also teaches puppies where food should be during mealtimes. Often, due to their excitable nature, puppies can be quite messy eaters. To curb this bad behavior, you need to teach them to contain their meals in a specific area. That is why defining a space for them at home is vital in housetraining.
After mealtimes, you also need to establish other routines like taking them out for a walk. Dogs, especially puppies, need their daily exercise to keep up with their physique and health. In the case of puppies, walks are both a learning experience where they discover more about the world as well as a way to expend their excess energy. Take your pupper outside after mealtimes or after naps to make sure that their energies are appropriately directed. Failing to do so may result in a disaster at home.
Call of Nature: How to Potty Train a Puppy
As the title suggests, pooping and peeing are both parts of nature. For puppies, these bodily functions can be challenging to control at first. As a pet owner, it is your job to make sure that your pup’s potty training is successful because this will benefit you as well. Puppies need to be taken outside first thing in the morning so they can take care of their business. The frequency of bathroom breaks depends mainly on your dog’s size and breed. “Mastering the art of how to potty train a puppy indoors requires a loving voice,” points out Dr. Jill Elliot, DVM.
Look for visible signs that your doggo needs to go-go. If your puppy is whining, sniffing, barking, or circling, it might be prudent to bring them outside at once. Some dogs whine and scratch at doors when they’re not on a leash. Make sure to follow your puppy when they’re doing their business and correct their behavior immediately when they do something wrong.
For puppies, accidents and mishaps are common and understandable. Do not get mad at them for every misfortune. Do not punish your puppy for their accidents, because this will make them nervous and jumpy around you. If you catch your puppy peeing or pooping where they’re not supposed to, capture their attention immediately. Puppy trainers suggest clapping loudly to get their attention effectively and “inform” them of their mistake.
You won’t always be around to catch your pup in the act. When you stumble upon the evidence of their business, hold your temper. It’s essential as a pet owner to manage your expectations with your young doggos. They cannot understand why you are angry, only that they should be afraid of you. You do not want this to happen.
Instead, keep up with the consistent behavior reinforcements. Offer your puppy a small treat when they finish their business in the right place. Give them time to explore outside when they need to go. Some believe that this is effective in preventing further accidents. In case of accidents, clean up using enzymatic cleansers to remove or minimize odors. Remember, dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell to find the same spot (to pee and poop) over and over again.
Managing Behavior: Obedience and Puppy “Manners”
In the previous sections, we discussed mealtimes and “business” matters. Both of these actions are mainly based on routine, and it is indeed vital to build a routine around which your puppy’s daily life will revolve. However, there are also other things to teach and curb. In later weeks, you will need to show your puppy the concept of “obedience.”
If you’re wondering how to train a puppy about obedience, you first need to teach your pupper the difference between yes and no, stop and go, and approval and disapproval. Make sure that your pups are aware when their behavior counts as a “yes” and when they count as a “no.” Make use of both carrot and stick—it will do you no good if you stick to positive reinforcements only, or if you rely solely on punishments for bad behavior.
Although some pet owners prefer not to put their dogs in cages, sometimes this is unavoidable. In this case, it is better to teach your puppy to regard his crate or pen in a positive light. A crate or pen doesn’t have to signify punishments and discomfort. It should be a safe and secure haven where your puppy can take naps. It is a space where they can get away from the bustle of the household for a while.
MidWest Homes for Pet Dogs Crate is an excellent choice that comes in many sizes—perfect for puppies of all shapes and sizes. Once your puppy is comfortable with his crate, it will be easier to do things like visiting the vet or even traveling.
Common Puppy Behavior Problems
Aside from potty training mishaps, pet owners typically commiserate over their puppies’ hyperactivity. Some puppies tend to bark nonstop to strangers. Others love to chew on shoes or slippers left lying around, while others like to pick up unknown (even potentially harmful) things with their mouths. When you do your research on how to train a puppy, take into account that you also need to discipline them for this type of behavior.
Puppies need to be taught to be calm when indoors. Doing so will benefit you a lot, especially for puppies who love to bark uncontrollably at night. Your neighbors will also thank you for this. Experts say that puppies who are left to be too excitable indoors manifest more behavioral problems. In this case, be quick and firm when correcting your puppy’s behavior.
Make it a point to stop them (gently but effectively) when they are attacking different things, like ankles and even vacuum cleaners. Most doggo moms manage to instill the lesson of what constitutes “too much rough play.” In place of this, you, as the pet owner, should do this. You must be the one to set the limits for your pup’s good and bad behavior.
Instilling calmness in your puppy’s mind will help them in the long run, as well. A calm puppy is more comfortable to groom, for one thing. Make sure that your puppy knows that you won’t put up with their fussing when it’s time to groom them. Hold them firmly when you’re brushing or bathing them.
A calm puppy is also more likely to be amenable to the presence of other pets or animals. However, you have to make sure that your puppy won’t be too timid to stand up to more aggressive dogs or animals.
Are Puppy Training Classes Worth It?
Pet owners who are complete beginners might be intimidated by the responsibility of training a puppy from scratch. Some have no idea at all on how to train a puppy or what it entails. Luckily, pet training classes are widely available everywhere. A training class doesn’t just serve as a guide for new pet owners. Sure, the trainers will guide you on how to train a puppy correctly, but even more experienced pet owners can benefit a lot from pet trainers.
A puppy training class, typically done as a group, is an excellent avenue to meet fellow pet owners and share your grievances and questions. At best, you can all commiserate and fawn over your lovely pets together, as well. Training classes are also excellent places for your puppy to meet other dogs and make friends. Socialization is an essential aspect of a dog’s entire life, as they are naturally social creatures.
Initially, learning how to train a puppy and starting to train them can be such an intimidating responsibility. But taking in a puppy is a lot like taking in a human toddler. They are curious, and they learn primarily through their primary senses, with experiences infused with trial-and-error. It’s not an entirely bad thing, but pet owners should always be there to guide their puppies accordingly. It’s better to view puppy training not as a big responsibility (although it is!) but instead as an exercise of bonding and commitment between you and your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first thing you should train your puppy?
Puppies can begin training as soon as 8 weeks old. At this age, puppies are capable of learning the basics like Sit, Come, Lay Down, Stay, and walking with a loose leash. Since puppies have a short attention span, keep the training sessions quick.
What is the best way to train a puppy?
Teach the basic commands first to establish obedience. As the first lesson, you can teach him how to respond to the command “Come.” When training a puppy, experts recommend using positive reinforcement instead of punishments. You can use toys, treats, and praise as rewards. This method allows him to understand when he’s getting the lessons right.
How do you discipline a puppy?
To be able to discipline your puppy, you must be firm with them. Never let any bad behavior but always keep your cool and avoid physical aggression. Also, it is very important to be consistent with your fur baby. Always enforce house rules strictly, so your dog won’t get confused about the dos and don’ts. Remember to only punish your dog when caught in the act. If puppies are reprimanded long after doing a wrong deed, they won’t understand what is the punishment for.
How long can a puppy be left alone during the day?
A 3-month-old puppy can be alone for 3 hours. While a 4-month-old puppy can wait for 4 hours. As the month age increases, their patience increases by 1 hour until 6 months old. From 6 months until they are older, they can stay alone for a maximum of 6 hours. But always make sure that you leave food and water for your furry babies if you’re not getting a pet sitter.
Where should a puppy sleep the first night?
Puppies should sleep on a dog crate next to the bed for three weeks. Be sure to line the dog crate with blankets so the puppy will feel secure while sleeping. Expect to hear whining, especially during the first few nights, but remember that it’s very important that puppies learn how to sleep in a crate.
Should I ignore puppy crying at night?
Yes, let the puppy cry during his first few nights. Do not give in. It is vital for puppies to learn and love being by himself.
How do you show dominance to a puppy?
Dogs associate hierarchy in physical positions. For example, he’s standing on a bench, and looking down on you, he will feel dominant. To manifest your dominance, do not allow him to be in a position above you.
How do you punish your dog for peeing in the house?
The best way is to call them out to let them know that they are doing something wrong. You can either yell a “No!” or make a clap to get their attention. It might be tempting to scold them, but experts advise against doing so.
Patricia is a bonafide lover of both cats and dogs. She’s a proud fur mom to three hyperactive but sweet dogs. In addition to her loving dogs, she wants to have a cat (or three) in the near future. She’s a fresh graduate from university and is currently working as a freelance writer. In her spare time, Patricia relaxes by making creative spreads in her art journal or by drinking tea and reading a book.