Training a puppy with care and consistency is the basis of peaceful and stress-free coexistence between people and dogs. He understands from the beginning that his place in the family and where the limits are will help create a pleasant climate in the home and develop health. The dog is an animal used to living in a pack, which requires rules and routines to feel good psychologically. A careless or insecure owner who gives excessive freedom or who behaves incongruously confuses the animal and can trigger unwanted, or even dangerous, behaviors that will be more difficult to modify the more time passes.
Puppy training: setting limits from the start
With that confident look and clumsy little legs, your new roommate will make it very difficult for you always to stand firm. Who is capable of denying a puppy a piece of food from the table or preventing him from curling up in your bed? But how is he to understand that when he becomes an adult, all those privileges will disappear overnight? Therefore, the first thing is to clarify how we want a life with our dog to be, what behaviors we want, and which we will not tolerate. By setting these limits early on and sticking to them consistently, he will quickly learn what his “role” is, and there is no need to worry when your puppy reaches adulthood.
Who is the leader?
Dogs that have learned from a young age to accept authority usually respect it for life, as long as the owner maintains his role as “leader of the pack.” Although authoritarian treatment is no longer the only possible avenue in business or child-rearing, there is no other alternative when it comes to dog education. Dogs want to be independent of their owners; For them to respect your decisions and orders, they need to trust your judgment. Clear instructions, a calm and decisive tone of voice, and clear body language reassure them.
Clear instructions and unmistakable signals
Dogs are experts in gestures and react earlier to a simple manual movement than to a complex phrase whose meaning can only be perceived through voice. Think of words like “sit,” “come,” or “plans” to give orders and choose the gestures with which you will accompany them. Always keep these orders structured and use the same word and gesture for each one. To avoid misunderstandings, forget about long sentences like “Now you have to be nice and wait for me here in front of the supermarket because I have a few things to buy.” If you want him to learn to obey, it is imperative that the directions are concise and meaningful and always used for the same purpose.
Compliments and treats?
Motivating learning through positive reinforcement and positive association: Reliability and clear instructions help identify the leader of the pack. You do not need extreme severity or a heavy hand – but the opposite – what you will achieve this way is to scare him. The goal is not for the dog to obey out of fear but to understand the game’s rules and want to participate.
How do I make the puppy enjoy learning? Praise and rewards play a critical role in motivating the young dog. In this sense, they are not so different from person beings: they choose the path that brings them the most satisfaction, and criticism and punishment demotivate them and divert them from the desired path.
For a dog to internalize which behaviors are appropriate and receive precious praise from the owner, the reward must come immediately after the behavior. Dogs live in the present and consider that person’s reactions are always a consequence of the situation taking place at that precise moment. Similarly, they are only able to understand criticism if it follows the behavior. If your not-yet-very-modest friend leaves you a “gift” in the middle of the room and you only realize it a long time later, there is no use scolding him. Instead, you better reward him for the times he manages to hang on to the street.
You can reward your puppy with treats – but not too many! -words of affection, gentle touches, affectionate gestures, or a toy that he likes. Small moments of freedom are also useful, such as, for example, loosening the leash, taking him to play with other dogs, or playing ball with him; for them, the effort to achieve these rewards is worth it.
When is it time to start training?
As a general rule, starting training at the right time is critical. The puppy has to be ready for the exercises if a measure or small step in obedience training is successful. If you are actively playing with a toy or are simply tired or hungry, this is clearly not the best time to start training. Dogs enjoy learning, but most don’t like spending too much time on the same activity.
Exercises that require great concentration are not a good option to start with. It is more advisable to integrate the puppy’s training into his daily routines and to accustom him as soon as possible to certain rules and habits. Try to educate him in a “collateral” way. For example, pay attention to if he waits patiently for you to prepare his food, never give in to his demands, praise him if he stays calm in front of the front door when they knock and reward him if he manages to wait for you on the other side of the bathroom door without moaning.
What should You train Your puppy To Do?
It is not always easy to know what a dog should learn at all times, what day-to-day behaviors should be rewarded, and which ones are better to ignore. The training tips from friends or on the internet are vast and can quickly overwhelm a first-time owner. That is why you must internalize the main rules that you want to teach your four-legged friend and integrate them into daily routines.
It will be challenging at first, no doubt, but it will make your life much easier in many ways in the future. First, it may be helpful to write down the foundations you want to establish for training your dog. Later, you can keep a training journal and write down the most effective and least successful methods.
The basics of puppy training
Among the most important exercises you should practice, there is not only instructional training; young dogs separated from their mother after the eighth week and that arrive in a different home must first get used to that environment new to them. They must build trust with the owner, understand the house rules, and learn to live with people and animals they do not know.
Therefore, it is recommended that your arrival coincides with a period of free days to dedicate the necessary time and give you security and affection. Call him by his name frequently, pamper him, play with him and let him eat treats from your hand. This will build confidence, and your puppy will feel good by your side, which represents the first step to achieve the rest of the objectives.
Teaching him to relieve himself
During the first few days at home, you can start teaching your dog where to relieve himself; this is one of the most important conditions to enjoy a pleasant coexistence. Take your puppy for a walk every two to three hours, and reward him when he does his business – whether it’s feces or urine – in a tree or the park. Set specific times for walks as soon as possible, for example, after getting up, at noon, or before going to sleep.
You must be attentive if you see that at any time he is nervous. It can be an indicator that he needs to go to the “bathroom.” Don’t scold him if, at first, he doesn’t control him and empties his bladder onto your carpet. If you surprise him just then, with a simple “no!” or “get out!” It’s enough to make it clear that you don’t like this behavior. Teaching a puppy to relieve itself where it belongs requires a lot of patience. It is not something that happens from one day to the next.
Setting limits on barking, biting, and scratching
Puppies discover the world through their mouths, they don’t yet know that furniture is precious objects not to be chewed on, and they haven’t yet learned how sensitive people are regarding this issue. Show your dog from the beginning and consistently where the limits are. Then, as you reprimand unwanted behaviors and repeatedly reward unwanted ones, your puppy will understand how far he can go and what behaviors lead to his owner’s long-awaited rewards.
It’s best to ignore excessive growling or barking, as well as requests for food when you’re sitting at the table, so it stops. When a dog acts in this way, the first thing he demands is your attention, whether it is to listen to him, play with him, or give him something to eat. If you avoid this behavior, it will not take long for him to understand that acting does not lead to the goal he is pursuing.
Puppy Training – Leash Walking
Adult dogs that pull too hard on the leash can be a real problem because controlling them is no longer as easy as when they were young. For this reason, walking on a leash is one of the points that should be part of the training program from the beginning. Even if you are touched by the image of your little one walking with his clumsy paws and going from here to there discovering the world, do not leave him!
Teach him from the beginning that you are wearing the leash and not the other way around. It is not the dog who determines the direction but you. For the puppy to pay attention to you during the walk and to adapt to your speed and your changes in direction, you must always make sure, from a young age, that you are not wearing a tight leash. The moment your mischievous little dog starts pulling on the leash, stop. Do not continue the walk until he comes towards you and the leash is relaxed again.
To practice the walk on a leash, you can go to an open space and place a snack or a toy that he likes at some distance. Your dog will most likely pounce on the object, so hold it back or move even further away. Do not approach until he walks by your side, at your own pace, and with the leash loosened. Give him the reward only when he can contain the urge.
Training a puppy: come to the call
You will save a lot of stress and nerves if you teach your puppy from early to come when you call him, wait until you tell him to continue walking, and stay home alone if you have to go out without him. To achieve these goals, you can employ numerous methods and discover which are the most effective. The important thing is that you reward the right behaviors every time they occur. The best way to train a puppy to come to the call is with words like “come” or “here” or with whistles. Use them at times when the dog runs towards you for no apparent reason. Always call him or whistle at that moment and give him his favorite food as a reward at the end. Your dog will learn that your call is worth it quickly.
Teaching to wait is similar. The puppy has to understand that he cannot run out of the car as soon as the door opens, that he cannot rush out as soon as he opens the front door, and that he cannot pounce on the food every time you open the cupboard. Don’t praise these behaviors and don’t give in to their demands. Instead, close your car or house door if you see him trying to bolt out, and open it again only when he can sit still and wait patiently.
Repeat this action frequently until the dog is sitting or standing in front of the fully open door and praise him as he leaves after giving the instruction. You can do the same with the food: do not fill his feeder until he waits calmly and patiently, and do not put it on the ground until he does not stop barking or pawing you. If he lunges on the plate before you give him the signal to eat, remove it. When he can wait for you to make the gesture that indicates that he can eat, you can let him enjoy his food.
Teaching Your Puppy To stay alone
From the period between the 12th and the 18th week, you can gradually get your puppy used to being alone at home. Obviously, no dog, not even an adult, should spend many hours alone, but there are situations in our daily lives in which we cannot include them.
The puppy has to accept from a young age that he cannot accompany you everywhere and that, sometimes, he has to wait alone at home. The most effective technique is to integrate this training into the daily routine to go unnoticed and does not acquire great relevance. Once in a while, leave the room without saying goodbye for a few minutes, then go back inside and act like nothing’s wrong.
You can progressively lengthen the time until he has learned to be alone for longer periods. Then, when you are sure he is calm and your absence is not a problem, you can leave him alone. If your dog is strongly attached and starts barking or whining as soon as you walk out the door, you can modify the exercise and wait for it to calm down before reentering the room. If you don’t want to leave your nervous dog alone, at the very least, ignore him when you re-enter the room and wait for him to calm down to give him a treat.
Hygiene and care
Having a dog consists of taking care of its food, its walks, and its training and providing the appropriate care. Your hair should be brushed regularly, cleaning and checking the paws, ears, and teeth, and trimming the nails. Get your new roommate used to this care from the beginning. If he gets used to being touched by his ears, paws, or belly, future visits to the vet will be much easier. Please take advantage of the time you spend on the sofa with your puppy to caress his abdomen and ears, to hold his legs for a couple of minutes, to give him a massage, or to open his mouth with your hand. You will see how, over time, it relaxes and enjoys this care.
Among all the exercises practiced throughout the day, sometimes the most important is forgotten: sleep. Give your puppy enough time to relax and absorb all the experiences he has had. Let him sleep if he retires to his bed after a walk to rest and in no case overload him with too many or too long workouts. The dog does not need to be entertained 24 hours a day, nor can you do it as an adult. So let him play alone too, and set out to discover new things. There will come a time when your little whirlwind ends up getting tired.
The more a dog gets to know in its first months of life, the fewer things will bother and frighten it later. The sound of the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine, the television, the impetuous children, the crowds of pedestrians, the noise of the motorcycles, people with sunglasses, people in wheelchairs, babies crying, noisy traffic or curious escalators: for a puppy, there is a whole world to discover.
Teach him something different every day. You can take advantage of the daily walks to take him to know different places, smells, people, or animals. But don’t overwhelm him. At first, a couple of minutes in a new environment are enough. If you come across a group of noisy schoolchildren while walking, or if you walk into a store, you don’t stay long, leave the scene before the puppy starts to feel restless.
Is it worth taking it to a training center?
At this stage, you will discover that accustoming a dog to its environment and teaching it the rules of the day to day requires, in addition to a lot of work and above all, a lot of patience, consistency, and, not least, certain knowledge. The first months of life are decisive. To avoid mistakes, the owners, especially if they are new, must be documented on the care, possession, and education.
Visiting a training center where an experienced professional trainer can tutor the exercises can be of great help. Not only will your dog understand the basic rules of behavior, but you will also discover how you can practice them in your daily life. You will learn to value him and, by playing, you will lay the foundations of mutual trust, something essential for your coexistence to be pleasant.
Beware of Electrical Cords!
When it comes to knowing how to care for a puppy, the issue of electrical cables is important because they must also be out of reach so that the puppy doesn’t ever nibble on them. If you take medication, be especially careful when you are taking it, and your dog is nearby, as it can swallow a pill that has fallen to the ground faster than a vacuum cleaner.
Many homes have a dishwasher, which causes an interesting mix of food smells. Ensure that your little dog does not have access to the dishwasher because once he has climbed in, he will start licking the knives and other dangerous items. This is not only unsanitary, but there is also a risk of the puppy cutting itself.
Avoid overusing the stairs
If your home is multi-story, make sure your quadruped doesn’t hang out going up and down the stairs. Many experts recommend that dogs do not use stairs for the first year, so it is best to carry them in arms until the musculoskeletal system has developed. In any case, you must completely avoid slippery and open stairs, where the puppy could slip or fall.
Depending on the floor layout, safety barriers could be put up on the stairs, such as the bars used for young children. If you have many rooms, it is enough to access the small dog only a few. But if you prefer to leave all the doors open, it is best to use door locks to prevent the current from slamming them and hurting the puppy.
Avoiding Outdoor Hazards
Let the puppy play outside. If you let you’re little furry go out to the garden, you must check that there is no gap where he can sneak out. Scan the gate with the eyes of a puppy and think carefully about where your curious little ball of fur might get. Take this opportunity to make sure there are no other hazards like electrical cords, loose cables, or stacked wood that could fall.
Also, find out which plants in your garden or house are toxic to dogs and get rid of them or put them out of the dog’s reach. The toxic plants for dogs, among others, are the following:
- common ivy and pothos
- rubber tree
- daffodils and lilies
These are only a selection. It is best to make sure that all the dog’s plants have access to are not dangerous. If you don’t want to get rid of toxic plants from your garden or home and are concerned about caring for a playful puppy, don’t leave your dog alone to intervene if necessary.
Even on lawns, dangers can lurk, such as weeds and pesticides or fertilizers.
Always read the instructions on the packaging before using any product in the garden, and do not leave your quadruped alone with the packaging. In general, chemicals cease to be a great threat once applied since they are not concentrated and cannot be ingested in dangerous measures for the puppy’s health.
Risk of Poisoning in Puppies
Who can resist the pleading gaze of a puppy? You can! Don’t even think about giving them small bites of your plate because they are too seasoned for quadrupeds anyway, and in the long run, it is not healthy. We people like the way they taste can upset the stomach, or even worse, the nervous system or metabolism.
To be safe, collect all food immediately. An unsupervised puppy will eat anything that is appetizing and can reach without a second thought. This can have negative consequences, especially with the chocolate on the living room table, which has dire consequences. In addition to chocolate and cocoa, which contain theobromine, a toxic substance for dogs and cats, other dangerous foods are avocados, stone fruits such as plums. The dangerous thing is the bone, large amounts of onion, grapes, and raisins. Alcohol, coffee, and green or black tea can also cause great damage to the quadruped nervous system.
Be careful with cleaning products. When it comes to knowing how to care for a puppy, you also have to think that chemicals, such as cleaning products, are toxic, that anyone who has a dog knows. However, poisonings of these curious puppies often occur when they reach for containers that have not been properly closed. Antifreeze is very problematic, as it is not only very toxic, it also tastes great.
Just a few drops that you can ingest from the garage floor are perilous for the dog’s life. Symptoms of poisoning appear within 30 minutes. The dog is nervous, restless, and becomes very listless. In case of any contact with your furry with a toxic substance, you must remain calm and observe the situation. In antifreeze, fast action is significant even when they are small amounts.
Don’t waste time because the sooner you go to the vet, the better the chances of survival. If your quadruped has been made with a piece of chocolate, you should contact a veterinary clinic and indicate the supposed amount ingested and the puppy’s weight. Although it is not healthy, white chocolate does not pose a great danger as it is not toxic.
Summer and your puppy
During sweltering days, keep in mind that dogs, unlike people, do not sweat through their heads. Therefore, a sunstroke can occur even with temperatures that people find pleasant. For example, it can happen in the car, with the air conditioning on, if the sun hits the puppy directly on the head. As a responsible caregiver, you must make sure that your furry is protected, do not take it on long excursions, and walks in the sun. Heatstroke can cause serious and fatal brain damage. Heat strokes from high temperatures are just as dangerous. Also, keep in mind that the temperature inside a parked car rises very quickly.
Winter also hides a few dangers, but knowing how to care for your puppy to avoid them will help you get through it without problems. In snowy areas, salt is often used to de-ice the streets and pedestrian crossings. This can be very painful for your puppy’s delicate paws and take away from both of you the desire to walk. Avoid areas where salt has been spread and protect your furry’s paws with pad care cream or dog boots. As it gets dark very early in winter, it is best to wear luminous necklaces, leashes, and pendants. This means that your puppy is not only always visible but also warns cyclists and car drivers from afar that a quadruped accompanies you.