Adopting a puppy will bring you joy and companionship for years to come. However, puppies need a lot of care and attention, and bring new challenges into your home. This is especially true if you have never had one before. Whether you adopt a small or large breed, you will need to start socializing and training them young to cut back on destructive habits and ensure that they get along with everyone in your household. Be sure to implement these training tips and tricks to ensure that your puppy grows up to be a well behaved dog.
Potty Training. You will want to start potty training your puppy as soon as possible. Be especially patient with puppies younger than 12 weeks as they have very little control over their bladders at that age. Keep your puppy confined to a small area of the house when you first bring them home to ensure that they aren’t roaming around the house making a mess and forming bad habits.
• Keep your puppy on a consistent feeding schedule (no snacking between meals!).
• Take puppy outside first thing in the morning and again every 30 to 60 minutes, and before bed time and crating. Additionally, if your puppy shows signs of needing to go, such as whining, sniffing, and barking, be sure to let them out.
• Stay with your puppy while they are doing their business to ensure that they are going.
• Give treats after each successful visit outside.
• Visit the same spot each time you go outside to ensure that your puppy smells their own scent and feels encouraged to go there.
Accidents will happen, but it is important to be patient and kind and use a healthy dose of positive reinforcement.
Obedience Training. Puppies have short attention spans, but they can begin to learn simple commands as early as 2 months of age. As with the potty training, be sure to use positive reinforcement in the form of treats and praise. Training will not only make your puppy well behaved, but it will also strengthen the bond between you.
Start with basic word commands. Sit, drop, stay, heel, come, good, and no are all important words and commands for your puppy to learn. Be sure to use the correct body language and tone of voice in relation to the commands you are teaching, as your puppy will pick up on these cues.
Make sure the rules for your puppy are clear and consistent. If you don’t want your puppy to be on the couch as an adult dog, then don’t let him on the couch as a puppy. It may seem easy to dismiss certain behaviors because your puppy is “young” and “cute”, but ultimately you will be teaching your puppy bad habits and derailing their training. In all circumstances, reward good behavior and gently admonish bad behavior by using the word “no”.
With a little patience and a lot of love, you can train your puppy to his or her fullest potential.