How to Train a Puppy

What to Cover When Training Your Puppy

Confidence in Environment.

Your puppy must learn to be confident with the things within her surroundings. Socialize her in a positive way to everyday noises, etc. A great method to socialize her so she doesn’t embarrass you in public or in your home while entertaining guests is to take her to at least three different locations weekly.

Confidence in Self.

The more confident you are in your direction, the more easily she can follow your lead, and the easier it is to praise her wholeheartedly. And dogs thrive on praise. The further you praise her for accomplished tasks, the more assurance she will gain. Give no less than ten easy tasks per day to have her earn praise and confidence.

Confidence in Direction.

At this early period, your puppy is gathering impressions of the way that you act , creating a viewpoint of humans from the examples you set while raising her. The way you act and socialize with your dog sets the stage and tone for the rest of the relationship. Keep your conduct positive and trustworthy to get her confidence.

New Item Acceptance.

Help her to investigate things and also to accept new items with good direction and praise. Praise her for following your lead. Expose her to many different objects with a favorable result every time. Touch the thing you wish for her to inquire and praise heartily when she shows interest.

Accepting New Challenges.

Encourage little tasks so she can earn praise for each. Doing jobs and earning praise will help her gain confidence in doing new things according to your direction. She will also learn to accept new challenges without anxiety, and you’ll spare yourself coming home to a photo-worthy of submission to Shamed Dog Photos.

Puppy Raising, Puppy Praising

Approval of the Crate and Boundaries.

Using strategies including the crate method to restrict your puppy’s independence can help her develop an acceptance of borders. If that isn’t realized during her first several months, she’ll have a hard time respecting boundaries and restrictions on her freedom later.

Learning to Fly Solo.

Your puppy must also learn to be comfortable being solo. Small intervals of crating in a quiet room far from the family will help her develop this confidence. Frequent breaks in between crate sessions may help her see that it’s only temporary and she’s not abandoned.

Learning how to Chew in the Proper Toys.

(Keeping the appropriate chew toys available, obtaining the right toys, and using proper redirection techniques.)

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Proper Learning the Theory of Housebreaking.

A suitable housebreaking schedule may help her learn the notion of where and when to “potty.” A great schedule will teach your puppy where and when.

Controlled Walking Without Dog Pulling

One of the most important things for your dog to learn is to walk on a leash without pulling. This makes walking the dog much more enjoyable for both you and the dog. If the dog is pulling walking is unpleasant and he gets walked far less often -- this makes him pull all the more because he needs the exercise even more. A vicious cycle.

Never wrap the leash around your hand, you can get dragged in front of a car. Instead, put your thumb through the loop of the lead and close your hand around it. Use both hands together when you jerk the leash.

With a six-foot leash on the dog, start walking in a straight line towards a point about twenty feet away saying nothing when you start. Whenever the dog is at your side, reach down and pet him while praising him. Otherwise, say nothing. If he heads off in another direction back away from him, at the same time jerking the leash sharply towards you and praising the dog. When you reach the point you were aiming for, stop for a slow count of twenty, then head off at right angles for another twenty feet again saying nothing to the dog when you start moving. Continue this twice more until you have made one square about twenty feet on each side. (This has to be done away from trees and bushes that might tangle the leash.)

Repetition

This square should be repeated four times for one set. Do three sets a day, for a total of twelve squares a day. By the end of the week, the dog should be walking without pulling. The reason for saying nothing to the dog when you start is so the dog learns to watch you. If you say something he won't have to pay attention.

Never permit the dog to pull on the leash

The only exception to this rule of walking the dog in the square is if the dog starts to relieve himself. In this case, let him finish. The only thing more important than walking without pulling is housebreaking. The best way to avoid this problem is to take the dog to his "relief spot" before training him. Once the dog is watching you whenever you walk, and you can no longer catch him being distracted, start inventing distractions. Walk towards an open gate, or another dog, or a child. As soon as the dog takes his eyes off you, back away from him, jerking and praising, until you can no longer catch him looking away from you. At this point, teaching him to heel will be relatively easy, once he learns to sit.

If you have no place to do squares, do straight lines. Instead of going off at a right angle after twenty feet just turn around and head in another direction. The square is not magic, you just have to keep changing directions until the dog understands that he has to pay attention to you at all times.

If you only have a sidewalk, then walk on the sidewalk. You may walk three feet, turn around, repeat, for half an hour. Your neighbors will think you're  crazy. But your dog will learn in a few days not to pull on the leash.

Remember that the dog is never permitted to pull on the leash. Ever.  For the rest of his life.

Dealing with Separation Anxiety in your Dog

The term separation anxiety is often misunderstood. True clinical separation anxiety is not common. Dogs do undergo stress and anxiety in response to the owner leaving the dog home alone: in other words when the dog is separated from the pack.

Dogs need to be properly conditioned to being left alone. Otherwise, behaviors such as barking, destructiveness, escape attempts, and even housebreaking accidents may occur. Giving a dog too much, or the wrong type of attention can lead to such stress-related behaviors.

Examples include:

  • Petting the dog too much.
  • Consistently allowing the dog to sleep in your bed.
  • Petting and playing with the dog when they demand it.
  • Petting to calm the dog down.
  • Over enthusiastically greeting the dog upon arriving home.

Dog Dependence and Neediness

These actions can make the dog too dependent and create neediness. This neediness cannot be fulfilled when the dog is alone. If the dog is experiencing stress when left alone, it will do things that he/she should not do. It is important to keep a balance so that the dog does not feel as alone when you are gone. Below are some suggestions for easing the
dog's stress. It is imperative that a dog receives positive, quality attention.

Dogs are social creatures and need play time. It is important that the owner set the beginning and end time for the game. The dog should not demand that the game be played. Have a specific fetch toy and take it out only when it is time to play. If a dog is good for 6 fetches, stop at 4. Gradually add a repetition on each day until the dog will do 2 dozen back and forth. Put the toy away when the game is over. This will ensure that the dog stays motivated and doesn't lose or destroy the toy. Have chew toys for the dog when not playing. Do not play fetch with the dog's chew toys as that'll reinforce the dog demanding play at the wrong times. Controlling when to and what to play with, will put you in the role of leader as well as prevent dominance issues.

Preventing Stress in Your Dog

Diet, walks, and the home environment also play a role in preventing stress in the dog.

Feed the dog twice per day. This will satisfy the dog as well as prevent possible mood swings due to low blood sugar.

Calmly walk the dog twice a day for 20 minutes. On the walks, you can also include some basic obedience training. Take tiny soft treats and lure the dog to sits and downs. This also encourages the dog to keep their focus on you.

In the home environment when dog's alone, be sure to leave the radio on for the dog. It'll buffer outside noises and make the house seem less empty. Stick to an easy listening station so as not to excite the dog. Also, leave a light on if it will be getting dark. Lastly, maintain a calm presence around the dog the last 30 minutes before you leave the house so as not to excite the dog and possibly induce stress. Again these are preventive measures. If you cannot resolve separation problems, seek professional help.