With Spring right around the corner, we have so much to look forward to! Longer days, spotting the first flowers and budding trees, the feeling of possibility, and puppies—especially puppies. With the promise of sunny days ahead, many families feel it’s the perfect time to add a new furry friend to the family. We agree! What can we say? We just love puppies! It’s wonderful to see families mastering communication and strengthening these new bonds in our Puppy Kindergarten Class and Puppy Head Start Program.
We know you’re excited to get started on training your puppy and are often asked one particular question. That question is: When should I start training my puppy? Our answer is: You already are! As soon as you bring your puppy home, training begins. Everything is new to your adorable addition and it’s up to you to teach them what behavior is and is not acceptable from the get-go. We know you can succeed!
Here are some tips to get you started:
Routine and rules are two tools that are critical in training your puppy. Make sure that all members of your family are on board. In order for your puppy to understand what is expected of them, it is extremely important to send a consistent message from everyone.
Envision your puppy as an adult dog when deciding on what behaviors are acceptable. You may not mind your little pup up on the furniture or jumping on you to greet you as you walk in the door, but if you aren’t going to be okay with that in a few months, do not allow those behaviors now. In this case, prevention is absolutely better than cure. It’s much easier to teach good behavior now than fix bad behavior later. Wish you had known this earlier? We can help.
Consistency is also key in teaching daily routines. Teaching your puppy where and when they eat, sleep, and play provides them with comforting structure. It also makes potty training easier. Choose a spot outside where you’d like your puppy to eliminate. Take them to this spot to relieve themselves immediately after waking up, after mealtimes and drinking water, after playing, and at least every two hours up until bedtime. If your puppy is having accidents in the house, decrease the time between bathroom breaks. Remember to praise, praise, praise when your puppy goes to the bathroom outside! To get a leg up on potty training, check out our Puppy Potty Training Assistance Program (PPTAP).
Praise is one of the most valuable rewards you can give your puppy. When given praise or another high value reward like a treat or toy, a dog is more likely to repeat the behavior that earned them the reward. That’s what makes positive reinforcement training so effective. This technique is used to simultaneously shape a dog’s behavior and strengthen the bond between human and dog. Essentially, you want your dog to behave obediently because they understand and trust you, not because they fear you.
Whether it be destructive behavior, accidents in the house, jumping up, or any of the multitude of other possible issues you may face training a new puppy, sometimes it feels like a puppy will never learn. Some days will feel like a step backward, and sometimes it may even feel like they are purposely disobeying you just to upset you. Take a breather. If you are overwhelmed, remove yourself from the situation and remind yourself that they are only little for so long. They are your best friend in training.
I was only able to scratch the surface with this blog post. Having a strong relationship with your dog with clear communication is very rewarding and we want to give you the tools to build this amazing bond! Teach your pup how to behave in and out of the home and learn to lay a great training foundation by signing up for our Puppy Kindergarten Class! In this class, we concentrate on socialization and basic commands and manners. An open dog playtime is also included in each class. We also offer Puppy Head Start for those that are unable to attend our Puppy Kindergarten Class or for those who would like to get started right away on training.
Is your dog not a puppy anymore, but could use some training? No dog is too old to train! Check out our training options.
We hope to see you soon!