The Basics Of Training A Puppy Who Ain't Got Time For Your Jibber Jabber
How To Train A Puppy
No matter how cute your little mutter is, skidding through a puddle and tripping down the stairs is going to put a damper on anyone’s day. In the first week or so of owning a puppy, you may fall victim to loving the little guy a bit too much. Yes, it can be really tempting to scoop up your pooch and fall asleep with your face buried in their fur. But if you start your barker off with bad habits, they’ll be hard to break.
Housetraining is probably going to be your first concern. After all, nobody wants to wake up covered in puppy poop. It can take up to a year to fully housetrain your hound, so be patient. By forming good habits early, you can avoid long term issues. So let’s go over the process of housebreaking your new buddy — before moving on to commands.
How To Potty Train A Puppy
Okay, let’s get started! Although there are many different methods to housebreaking your pet, there’s one cardinal rule — one that must never be broken…
Never punish your pet for having an accident indoors.
Yelling, growling, and physical punishments are not going to have any impact on your dog, except for making them afraid of you. Even more important than housetraining is establishing a bond of love and trust with your dog. Especially in those first few months of getting to know each other. Always focus on positive reinforcement, rather than punishment. So, with that out of the way — onto the most popular methods of housetraining your pup!
How To Crate Train A Puppy
I know what you’re thinking. “This lil dude is my new BFF! I’m not going to put him in a puppy prison!” — well, at least that’s what I thought until I found out why crate training is important for your dog.
Contrary to how it looks, a crate isn’t a mini-jail for your dog. Nor should it ever be used as such. The crate should be a safe shelter for your pet. Dogs are den animals by nature, and having a safe space to crawl into will help your dog relax in their new environment.
Dogs also dislike sleeping in their own waste, so if you keep your pup in a crate overnight they should let you know when they want to go to the bathroom through barking or whining. Crate training teaches your puppy to ‘hold it in’ overnight. Notice how I’m stressing overnight? That’s because it’s the only time your puppy should spend an extended period in the crate. Leaving your puppy in the crate for hours on end, or using it as a punishment, is going to set housetraining back by months. It’s also cruel, so don’t do it. At most, your puppy should be in the crate for three hours. Set an alarm overnight so you can get up and let them take care of business outdoors.
So what about if you need to go to work, or the store? Have a larger contained area for your puppy — like the bathroom. Put down a puppy pad so you can still encourage your dog to use one area for eliminating waste.
But be warned, if your puppy is defecating inside the crate, then consider abandoning it. The whole point of crate training is to teach your pup to poop outside. They may have picked up bad habits from the shelter, or have an aversion to crates. If your furry friend absolutely hates the crate, don’t force them to use it.
Get A Schedule
The best way to housetrain your pooch is to keep them on a tight schedule. Puppies need feeding three times a day and will usually need to relieve themselves soon after eating. But you should let your dog outside every 30 minutes until they’re four months old and can hold it in longer. Take your puppy to the same outdoor spot, and bombastically reward your furry pal when they use the great outdoors as the bathroom. Treats, praise, and extra-long walkies are all good ways to say ‘well done, buddy!’ to your dog. Make sure you take away their food between meals, so they don’t surprise you with an unexpected accident!
How To Tell When They Need To Go
- Immediately after eating or drinking
- After naps or first thing in the morning
- When they start to scratch, sniff, bark or whine
- After they get excited
How To Teach A Puppy To Sit
The first command to teach your puppy is “sit!” — luckily, it’s a pretty easy one to master.
- Put a treat between your fingers and show it to your dog
- Slowly move the treat over his head while saying “sit” — as your pooch moves their gaze to look up at the treat, their butt should hit the floor
- As soon as they’re in a sitting position, give them the treat and praise them lavishly
- Repeat 5 times in a row, but don’t overstimulate them
If your puppy starts running around and getting too excited, they’ve probably had enough sit training for now. Don’t try and coax an overexcited pooch to do your bidding. It’s likely to frustrate both of you!
How To Teach Your Puppy The “Come!” Command
Puppies are mini escape artists. If you leave the front door open or accidentally close the gate a little too late, your puppy is likely to get whisked away by curiosity and make a run for it! That’s why ‘come’ is such an important command. It could even save your puppy’s life. So how do you teach your pet to return on cue?
- Put your pal on the leash, and follow them around for a while, letting them take the lead
- Start to walk backwards, and say ‘come’ once
- As soon as your dog heeds your call and follows you, reward them with a treat
How To Teach A Puppy To Stay!
Stay is a bit more advanced than ‘sit!’ and ‘come!’ However, you should get your puppy familiar with the concept from a young age. Make sure you start off in a familiar and enclosed space, so your pet can’t escape or get distracted. Remember, a pup will probably only ‘stay’ for a second before bounding off again, so be patient and reward those seconds of stillness. Eventually you can advance to longer periods.
- Start off with the ‘sit’ command.
- If they hold the ‘sit’ position for over a second, reward them with a treat and praise them
- Repeat, but encourage them to hold the position for a few seconds longer before rewarding them with a treat
- Add in the verbal or hand cue when you repeat the process. Again, make your pup hold the position for a fraction longer each time.
Praise, treats, and lavish attention will go much further in your training sessions than being forceful or aggressive with your pet. Once you have these training basics down, you can move onto the more advanced commands. In the meantime, enjoy your time with your furry friend!