How to train your puppy

Puppies are cute and cuddly, but also learn certain behaviours very quickly. Getting a dog while it’s still young gives you a great opportunity to teach it things that can be useful later on.

What are the benefits of training your dog?

A bond between dogs and people can be very strong, but even the most loved dog will become a burden if it doesn’t become house trained. The time it usually takes for puppies to become housebroken is about 4-6 months, sometimes even a year. Dogs can also easily develop habits such as sleeping on beds or chewing on the furniture.

How do dogs learn?

Here are some basic tips to train your dog:

Teach them basic commands

Patiently but sternly teach puppies commands such as Sit, Down, Drop it, Stay, Come, Heel and No. Training a dog can take patience but finding the right kind of reward can make it easier. Some dogs prefer food while others love a certain toy. Praising and petting them can also be a reward and way to motivate your dog.

Don’t let them get bored, keep training short sessions

Ideally, train dogs in an environment in which there are few distractions. Focus on what you are saying and pay attention to your dog. Be patient and keep sessions short, so that your dog won’t get bored. This will make training more effective and won’t feel like a burden for your pet.

Training should be based on POSITIVE rewards

Never hit or punish a pet for not following a command. Punishment leads to fearful instead of healthy behaviour. There are various approaches for different behaviours, such as running across the road.

Wag! recommends to ‘give your dog a treat for stopping, sitting, and waiting. When your dog is sitting and looking at you, and when it is safe to do so, give a command to proceed onto the roadway, such as ‘let’s go’. Avoid using just “go” as it sounds a lot like “no” and can be confusing for your dog. Step off the curb and cross the road’.

Create a daily schedule

Walk them 2 or 3 times a day for at least 30 min. If it’s a big and active breed, go for a run or even cycle with them. Just be careful when cycling with a dog, especially if you or the dog aren’t used to it. By pulling on the leash big breeds can pull you off the bike. If you decide to make cycling together with your dog a habit for you both to get enough exercise, consider getting cycle insurance to stay safe and protected. Some people prefer electric bikes which can increase the risk of accidents even more.

Pulling on a leash

Puppies may develop the habit of pulling on the leash and continue to do so as an adult. When dogs are still young, take them to an open field and give them plenty of time to run freely. When they are finally tired and are ready to rest, put on the leash. This way the leash will feel less like a burden and your dog will know that they will have the opportunity to get plenty of exercises.

Training should be FUN for both of you. Attending a training school together can be a fun way to train your puppy.