Puppy Training 101
So you got a puppy! Congratulations. If you’re not lucky enough to have them pre-trained, this is a do-it-yourself guide to basic puppy training. It won’t be easy, but with a little bit of patience, love, and determination, you can do it. Also, you’ll need the following:
- A sturdy leash and collar
- Tasty treats
- Food and water bowls
Lesson One – Designating Specific Areas
Pets thrive on routine, not change. The most important step in bringing home your new puppy is designating specific eating, sleeping, and bathroom areas. When your new puppy first enters your home, place their bed in a quiet, out of the way corner where it can stay. Establish a feeding and bathroom schedule, and stick to it. At the first specified time, introduce your puppy to the food and water dishes. At the first bathroom time, lead your puppy – on a leash – to an area you can designate for their business. If you walk your dog, take the route you’re planning on keeping permanently.
Lesson Two – Teaching Their Name
Of course you need your new puppy to respond to their given name! The trick to this lesson is rewards for good behavior. When you say your puppy’s name, use a pleasant or cooing voice. Encouraging, friendly body language, such as open arms and being down on your puppy’s level, can also provide positive reinforcement. Make sure to repeat this every time you say your puppy’s name; a treat or belly rub in addition wouldn’t hurt. Eventually your puppy will come to associate its name with positive treatment, and come when you call it.
Lesson Three – “Sit”
The next best things for your puppy to learn are the basic commands of “sit.” This is the command you will use the most throughout your pet’s life, and so is extremely useful and important. To teach the “sit” command, try the following steps:
- Say the word, “sit,” in a firm, moderate tone.
- At first you will have to gently push your dog’s hindquarters down.
- Reward your puppy with a treat or belly rub.
- Repeat these steps until your dog sits on its own, consistently – this may take a few days, and patience is key!
If you do not feel comfortable training your puppy yourself, there are obedience classes in your area; contact a local pet store or animal shelter, or search the internet. The key to training a puppy is lots of patience, belly rubs, and treats – don’t give up!