Training your puppy as soon as he or she joins your family is highly important. By starting the training from the very beginning you are teaching your puppy the rules of the house, use of their soft dog crates, and how to be obedient to your commands and the house rules. Here are some great obedience training tips for your pup:
- Socialize - Socializing your puppy is crucial to their behavioral development. You will want to bring your puppy around as many adults, children and other animals that will be in the dog's life. Also you want to bring your puppy to as many places as you can to help them become accustomed to large crowds. This will help your puppy be well adjusted in social situations and reduce social anxiety in the future.
- House rules - Develop house rules immediately. You should decide in advance if you want your puppy to join you on the sofa or sleep at the edge of your bed, especially if you have a shedding dog and no tools. Some pet parents like to have their dog close to them, while others prefer to train their dogs to sleep in their own beds and enjoy their own spaces provided for them. Whatever your choice, it's important that you teach them from day one, otherwise it will get confusing when one night they are a loud to sleep on the bed and the next day they can't. It will cause confusion and it will make it harder to train your dog to sleep or stay in his own area.
- Commands - You will want to establish which commands you will be using and stick with them forever. You will also want to teach others in your family to use the same commands, hand gestures and words so that the puppy is always spoken to in a constant manner. It makes it easier for the puppy to understand the same gesture or word command rather than all different words from each individual person. At first you will want to use a small treat, maybe cut a larger treat into smaller pieces. This is important because in the beginning you will be giving your puppy initiative by using the treat and teaching him the command at the same time.
- Sit - Use a small healthy dog treat as a focal point for your puppy. Hold the treat in front of his face and them, raise it above his eye level in a slightly quick motion. This gesture will naturally make your dog sit because he's trying to look up. As your dog sits say the verbal command word "sit" and then reward your dog with a small treat. Some pet owners like to use praise instead of treats for health reasons.
- Heel - This technique is best used while walking your dog on the side walk so they stay more focused. You will want to decide on the left or right side of you to place your dog when you want them to heel. The command will always have to be given on the same side. Let's say you choose the right side, put a color and leash on your puppy, make sure it is loose enough and soft enough so it doesn't cause any damage to your sweet puppy. As your walking you will want to come to an immediate stop and at the same time say the verbal command "heel" while tugging lightly on the collar in a backwards manner.
- Down - Take the treat and gesture it in front of your puppy while he is already sitting down and the move your hand away from your puppy's mouth as to provoke your him to first lay on his tummy and then gesture forward slightly resting his head on the floor.
- Come - While your puppy is distracted, put a small treat in your hand. Next walk quickly away from your dog, while you're walking away say the verbal command "come" and as your dog walks towards you keep repeating "come" and then reward your dog with the treat once he reaches you.
- Stay - This command is best taught from a sitting or down position. Once your puppy is already in this position, stand directly in front of them and as they stay in their commanded position say the verbal command "stay" in a calm manner and then reward the dog with praise or a treat. By rewarding him for the behavior you are looking for you will teach them to repeat this behavior.
- Rewards - Anyone will tell you that treats are necessary in the beginning stages of training your puppy. This helps hold their attention for brief moments and helps them focus on the situation. Once you notice that your puppy is obeying all of your commands you will want to find other ways to reward him for his good behavior. An occasional treat is still fine, but other ways to reward your puppy is to give them kind loving attention immediately following the good behavior and also play time with a favorite toy or activity.
- Do's and don'ts - Things to do: Be nice to your puppy, repeat commands until they do it, give rewards and praise, ignore bad behavior, make training fun for your puppy. Things you don't want to do: Don't yell at your puppy it only makes him nervous and distracted, don't isolate him or punish him and don't be too serious, training should be fun for both of you. It's a bonding moment.
These obedience training tips are very useful when applied in the correct way. Always remember you want your dog to respect you and be your best friend, let's face it, our dogs become part of our families and live through the good times as well as the bad times with us. They are important parts of our families and as all of us have to follow house rules, so should the puppy. It's part of belonging to a family or a "pack" so to speak. Your puppy will become a well behaved member of your family and you will enjoy many years together.