This post has been written by guest blogger Siobhan Harper.
Congratulations on your new puppy! Your new furry friend will be the source of much joy and love in your household for years to come. Before you welcome them into your home though, it’s worth remembering the five golden rules when it comes to training your pup.
One: Have the right tools to hand
Any job will be difficult if you don’t have the correct tools, and training your puppy is no exception. Before they come home with you, it’s worth investing in a few items that will make your life easier. This can include a chew toy to encourage them not to chew things they shouldn’t, puppy pads for housetraining, and of course a good quality lead, for when you’re ready to take them out for walks.
Two: Start straight away
The right time to begin training your puppy is as soon as you bring them home. Your pup doesn’t know the rules for living in your home, so the sooner you begin to teach them the better. Introducing new rules later on may be confusing and worrying for the puppy.
Three: Be consistent
When we say be consistent, we mean in everything. Have a set schedule for feeding times, and always make sure you serve the same amount of dog food each time. Take your puppy out into the garden at the same time each morning, and designate a spot for them to use when toilet training. Use the same command words each time too, such as ‘go now’. Being consistent in what you do and say will help the puppy connect your actions to what you want it to do.
This also works in trying to change behaviour. If your puppy keeps chewing on things it shouldn’t, keep swapping the item with an approved chew toy. If the puppy keeps going to the toilet indoors, take her outside if you catch them in the act. If you are calm and consistent, they will begin to display the desired behaviour.
Four: Be in control
As an owner, you need to designate yourself as the pack leader. You are in charge and your puppy needs to understand this. This can be achieved with the other tips in this list, but it also worth remembering that you need to appear confident when training. If you appear unsure, your puppy is much less likely to pay attention to what you are asking of him!
Five: Use rewards
Rewards are considered the best way of encouraging good behaviour. Find a dog treat that your puppy really enjoys, and use it as reward for good behaviour. This can be for any activity, such as housebreaking, obedience training or command training. If your puppy knows there’s a reward waiting, they’re much more likely to comply with what you’re asking of them!
Conversely though, do not use punishment to discourage your puppy from undesirable behaviours. Shouting or other punishments will teach them to be fearful of you, rather than encouraging correct behaviour. Instead, either ignore or correct the behaviour, calmly. The puppy will soon learn the best way to get your attention is with desirable behaviours.