The Found By The Hound Trainers could spend hours upon hours talking you through the do’s and don’ts of puppy training. There is much to learn and with so much outside noise, opinions, advice, and infinite resources, knowing exactly what to do can prove quite overwhelming. To keep things simple, we are sharing our best puppy training tips to help you and your four-legged friend start off on the right paw!
Tip One: Invest In A Crate
At Found By The Hound, we are huge advocates for crate training. A crate (when used correctly) can have many benefits.
A crate can help fast-track toilet training; Dogs do not typically toilet (in their den) where they sleep or eat. This means that once they wake or finish a meal you can immediately direct them to the appropriate place without accidents occurring in the meantime.
Outside of toilet training it can also provide a safe and secure space, where you puppy can relax. Being a den animal, you may notice your dog denning under tables or chairs. A crate creates a safe space that your puppy can call its own. This is a positive space and not a place of punishment. It will help enhance a feeling of familiarity should you need to travel with your pet, leave your dog at the vet or groomers.
A crate can keep them out of harms way; Puppies can be mischievous and when left unsupervised, can toilet inappropriately, chew or injure themselves. Should you not be able to supervise, a crate provides a secure space where they will not be in harm’s way.
Tip Two: A Leash Will Be Your Best Friend
Often we only think of using a leash for walking a dog but a leash is paramount to maintaining control of many situations. Your leash will help guide your puppy, prevent involuntary games of chase, discourage naughty puppy behaviour like mouthing and biting, and help give feedback without giving your puppy attention for an unwanted behaviour.
Tip Three: Be Consistent
Consistency is vital to success!
You and your family/room mates must remain consistent and vigilant with training. We promise you that you will find greater success earlier when you are consistent in your training. This means that all members of the house need to be on the same page when it comes to training.
Rules and boundaries should be agreed upon and the entire home should assist in setting clear goals and expectations; If you reprimand your puppy for jumping on the couch one day and allow them to jump up for cuddles the next, the line will be blurred, and your puppy may
become confused. In short, do not continue to shift your expectations. Your puppy will not understand what they can and cannot do.
Tip Four: Choose Your Words Carefully
Dogs do not speak English. Word association and body language are what your dog will begin to recognise so this must remain consistent. Make sure the commands you choose are clear, easy to remember and easily implemented for those in your house. To avoid confusion, keep them the same. As humans we can understand the “Sit” “sit down” and “sit down now” all mean the same thing but they are completely different to your puppy.
Before you deliver your command, ensure you have their attention first, so they respond. Call their name first to get their attention followed by the command. Delivering a command when they are distracted may result in being completely ignored, setting them up for failure and allowing them to get away with no follow-through.
Loud and clear; “MAX... COME”
Fun fact; Trainer Anthea gives her commands in German whilst Trainer Sarah gives hers in Norwegian. How cool!?
Tip Five: Supervise Supervise Supervise
Puppies do not come to us preprogrammed knowing where to toilet, what they can and cannot chew, where they can and cannot go. It is our responsibility to teach them. If puppy is making errors then we must look at where OUR teaching is going wrong.
If we do not supervise, your puppy WILL make mistakes through no fault of their own. When a puppy makes a mistake (i.e. Toileting inside) they have just ‘rehearsed’ the behaviour. The more they toilet inside, the more habitual it will become. If you supervise, provide clear guidance then they should NEVER learn or rehearse undesirable behaviours.
Yes, it demands plenty of focus and attention, but we guarantee that if you remain observant and vigilant, your puppy will progress quickly.
Simple as that!
Tip Six: Do Not Fall For Puppy Dog Eyes. Discourage Naughty Behaviour Straight Away
There is no denying the cuteness overload that comes with puppies. It can be hard to discourage naughty puppy behaviour when they look so darn cute, but rest assured if you allow certain behaviours to occur, they WILL continue.
While a teeny puppy jumping up at your ankles seems innocent enough, failure to discourage this now will mean that jumping may continue. It might have been cute at 8 weeks, but nobody wants a adult dog scratching up your legs or knocking you and your family members over!
Think about the end goal. If you do not want your dog to chew, bite, jump, bark or toilet inappropriately as an adult, start to stop these behaviours early while they are still puppies.
Tip Seven: Positive Early Exposure
Puppies develop their social skills in the first 16 weeks of life. You have 16 weeks to expose your puppy to as many sights, sounds, environments, and experiences as possible. Early positive exposure during their crucial social development stage plays a significant part in shaping confidence, resilience, and balanced dogs. Failure to correctly socialise your puppy during this 16-week window can result in fear, anxiety, and reactivity. Positive exposure to a vast selection of objects, surfaces, people, places, and experiences will help build a mentally stable dog in the future.
Tip Eight: Shape Confidence and Resilience through Alone Time
A very important part of training, often forgotten by many is promoting confidence and resilience. Owners are often consumed with teaching tricks such as “sit” and “shake hands” and whilst it is great to spend time teaching your puppy you must also remember there is more to learn than that. It is extremely important to establish their own independence, away from you. To feel safe and confident when they are left alone.
It is crucial that your puppy has adequate time to “just-be”, to learn how to cope without your constant presence and attention and feel relaxed on its own. Failure to do this may result in separation anxiety. Your dog may then become quite distressed when left on its own, causing problems for many owners.
Tip Nine: Be Cool, Calm and Collected
You puppy will be learning everything for the first time and will be depending on you to correctly communicate exactly what you want from them. Training is a process; it will take time and it will require patience. They don’t always get it right and it is important we be patient and understand that mistakes will happen and we need to work them through problems.
Never train when you are frustrated or having a bad day. Your puppy needs positive reinforcement and praise to understand when they have done something good!
Your reaction plays a significant part in how your dog will respond.
Tip Ten: Register for Puppy Kindy!
Puppy Kindy is PACKED with invaluable information that will help you start off on the right paw. Puppy Kindy with Found By The Hound is designed to give you, the owner, all the information, training tools and techniques required to shape a happy, confident and balanced dog.
There is so much more to Puppy Kindy than socialisation. You will learn the tools to better communicate with your dog, in turn strengthening the bond you will share that will last a lifetime.