A trained dog is a happy dog; a happy dog is a happy you. Puppies start learning from a very early age and are much more receptive to training than older furry friends. It’s your job, as a pet parent, to do some puppy training, helping them to grow into a happy, self-controlled dog that will trust you and fill both of your lives with happiness.
To help you learn the ropes, we’re sharing our top tips for successful puppy training. So, put your paws up and read on.
The ‘3 GOLDEN Rs’ are the foundation of all your training and make it a fun and motivating time for your pup.
• REPEAT – just like ‘hoo-mans’, dogs need practice to master a new skill. After all, practice makes perfect! Make sure you and your family are consistent and repeat the command to help your dog learn.
• REWARD – treat your puppy when they get it right. From a tasty, meaty treat to verbal praise, your dog is more likely to repeat good behaviour if they know they’ll get rewarded.
• REINFORCE – after rewarding your pup, try the command again. Training takes dedication and determination but be patient, it will be worth it.
Training a puppy can be hard work. If your four-legged friend knows where they sit in your pack and ‘hoo-mans’ are consistent and give immediate rewards, you’re much more likely to see your efforts pay off.
Your dog needs to know that you’re the top dog. As you’re the boss, you make the rules and your pup should follow them. If your pup knows where they sit in your family, they’ll respect you and are more likely to do as you say.
Is one ‘hoo-man’ feeding your pup from the table? Letting them cause mischief? Rewarding them at the wrong time?
Your puppy knows who will tolerate bad behaviour and who won’t. This can be confusing for them as they don’t know how to act.
Make training as easy as possible for your dog – agree with your family on rules, methods and training commands and stick to them. Remember, consistency is key.
Puppies are excitable and their brains quickly move on to something new, so it’s important to reward them in the moment. Showing praise too late means that the positive association with good behaviour may be lost.
Food treats are rewarding and motivating for your puppy. Our Naturally Meaty Treats are suitable for pups over 4 months old and are great for training.
However, as our Nutritionist, Sara, says, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie requirement. So, if you’re rewarding with food, follow feeding guides and break treats into small pieces. Make sure fresh drinking water is available for your pup too.
With lots of puppy training going on, try praising your pup with a combination of methods to avoid overfeeding them.
• Choose a positive phrase like “good boy” or “yes”. Adopt an enthusiastic, happy tone when verbally praising your furry friend.
• Alongside verbal praise, a pat on the head or cuddle is rewarding for your dog. After all, our four-legged friends give us cuddles, kisses and wagging tails to show us they’re happy!
• Not all dogs are motivated by food, so try using their favourite toy for positive reinforcement.
Now you’re familiar with the training rules and tips, try putting them into action.
Keep training sessions short and positive so they’re enjoyable for both you and your puppy. Try to pick a time when your four-legged friend is alert, but not overly excited as they’ll struggle to concentrate.
The basic commands are a great place to start:
Similar principles are important for toilet training too. Find out more about how to teach your puppy toilet training here.
For more tips on parenting your new pup, take a look at our puppy guide. From training and feeding advice to ideas for mental stimulation and socialisation.
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