Taking the Stress out of Puppy Training
A well-trained puppy with great social skills in guaranteed to have a great social life because good manners opens doors ensuring he will be welcome everywhere.
Start Training Early
It’s important to start young. Dog trainers say that the puppy stage between five weeks and twenty weeks is critical because that’s when the dog sets its attitudes towards how it reacts towards other dogs and people. Positive interactions and experiences at this impressionable age means you are giving your dog great social skills that it will be able to carry forward into adulthood.
A good book on raising puppies will offer lots of excellent tips but it’s also a great idea to enroll him in a puppy class with a professional trainer. Not only will your pooch learning the basics but it’s a great opportunity to make friends with other dogs in his class.
When it comes to training, puppy basics actually apply to the person on the other end of the leash too. So, it’s important to be consistent and re-enforce what you have learned in class in your home environment. This means that one member of the household must be the designated in-house trainer.
Re-enforcement and encouragement should be in the form of verbal praise such as phrases like “good job!” and “well done” and further reinforced with a yummy training treat. Remember treats have calories and should be a portion of your dog’s daily diet. So be sure to manage the calorie count! You can treat with small chunks or carrots, celery and cucumber too.
Reward for a Job Well Done
Toys also make great training tools to teach young puppies basic commands and good manners.
It’s a good idea to let your puppy “audition” a variety of different toys in order to select a favorite. Then when you bring it out, he will automatically be keen to play – and learn.
The texture of the toy is very important. So is the shape and any sounds it makes. It also needs to be lightweight and the right size so that your puppy can comfortably pick it up and carry it around. Fortunately, many toy manufacturers spell out the elements and benefits of their toys on the packaging and this will help with your final selection.
Socialize Your Puppy
Taking your puppy with you to a variety of different places is a great way to socialize him and make him feel really comfortable around both other pets and people.
Dogs are very empathic creatures so, they can read your feelings. That’s why it’s important not to be nervous when taking him out and out to test his skills. He will quickly know whether you are or aren’t in control!
Of course, there are going to be puppy accidents and he’s going to try and win you over with those big doleful puppy eyes, but it’s important to be firm, with an understanding tone in your voice and always remain positive. Puppies are no different to children, they know how to subtly manipulate you.
Your local pet boutique or pet supermarket is a great place for an outing to meet other dogs and owners. Because people come and go, it’s never too overwhelming for a young dog. Just walking around is a great way for a puppy to learn about new smells, noises and even about walking on slick store surfaces.
Some stores actually host play date afternoons, giving puppy owners the opportunity to meet and mingle – and talk about their pups and make new friends on both ends of the leash.