What is the first thing you should teach your puppy?Having a puppy training plan is crucial during the early days of your dog’s life! It may be tempting to jump into the doggie basics of “Sit” and “Stay” but you can always teach your puppy to sit! We want to focus on the behaviors that time is of the utmost importance and these include socialization, potty training, name recognition, and manners (chewing, jumping, body handling, and play biting). A puppy’s socialization window is theorized to be between 3-12 weeks of age. This leaves the average puppy owner only four short weeks to fit in as much puppy-safe socialization as possible. With their limited attention spans and tiny tummies, use your’s and your puppy’s time wisely on behaviors that will lead to a confident and happy adult dog! Once your puppy reaches 12-14 weeks of age, their attention spans have increased significantly and they are ready for formal obedience training! Ready to dive into the world of puppy training? Join us as we break down this question further in our – When Should I Start Training my Puppy blog series.
What is the fastest way to train your puppy?Now that you have identified what your puppy training priorities are, let’s start focusing on the “How?” Any training endeavor begins at the motivation level. Typically, the lower the motivation, the slower the progress. Most people are familiar with using treats to encourage a behavior, however, most people do not know to establish their puppy’s motivation for food. If your puppy receives their meals for “free”, this establishes food as a freely available item and will reduce their motivation. This then typically leads to owners introducing treats to increase a puppy’s motivation for food again and the cycle continues. We can avoid this by utilizing your puppy’s meals in training and making them “work” for their kibble. This in turn will keep the motivation level for your puppy’s meals high and you can save treats for more challenging behaviors and distractions when they are older. Keeping your puppy’s motivation level for their food at a high level is one of the fastest ways to move through training with your puppy. Read Feeding your puppy: How to Utilize Mealtimes for additional information.
How do I Discipline my Puppy?Your sweet puppy has turned into a Tasmanian devil, now what? Whether it is play-biting, potty accidents, chewing, or jumping, it is always important to start with teaching your puppy what is expected of them first. Imagine, if you walked through a room and someone said everything you were doing was wrong but they also would not tell you what you were supposed to do. Stressful, right? That is what your puppy may be going through! Instead, focus on introducing appropriate chew toys, how to ask for attention correctly, establishing a potty routine, and using a crate when your puppy can not be directly supervised. Aim to take a proactive rather than reactive approach during the puppy training phase!
Can an 8-week-old puppy be potty trained?You can and should immediately begin the potty training process with your puppy as soon as they come home! If you are getting your puppy from a breeder or a foster home, they should be starting this process for you which should speed things along for you! When you bring your puppy home establish where you want your puppy to eliminate. This should be outside in your yard or can be a turf pad on a balcony. Do not introduce your puppy to puppy pads. Create a regular water and food schedule, and keep track of when your puppy gets water and when they eat. This will help you predict when your puppy will need to go potty. Provide your puppy with three treats per elimination and lastly always supervise your puppy when they are not in their crates. For a more in-depth guide on potty training read our “When should I start potty training my puppy?” blog.
Top 5 Puppy Training CommandsYou’ve spent the last four weeks focusing on your puppy’s socialization, manners, potty training, and name recognition and now you are ready to start formal obedience training but what does that include? We have rounded up our Top five commands to teach your puppy for you!
- Number one on our list is recall! This is a critical safety command and every dog needs to come when they called.
- Number two, loose leash walking! Having a dog that walks properly on a leash allows for more adventures and a better quality of life for everyone. It is much easier to teach your puppy the appropriate way to walk instead of correcting pulling later on!
- Number three, “wait” at the door. Another critical safety command especially if you have children or live on a busy street.
- Coming in at number four is “Place”. Having a designated area to send your dog while you eat dinner or cook can keep your puppy from accidentally being stepped on or eating something they shouldn’t.
- Rounding out our top five is the “Down” command. Having a solid “Down” command can make bringing your puppy to a patio or restaurant all the more enjoyable.