Puppies are quick learners, so it is important to teach them good habits in their early in life. Young puppies have short attention spans so it is important to have a couple of short training sessions a day in order to keep them interested. Find out more about some of the basic skills that are vital to teach your puppy and at what stage you can train these skills.
8 weeks old
The first thing that you need to teach a new puppy is what their daily routine will consist of, it is important to stick to the routine as much as possible as routines are reassuring to puppies. Through having a strict routine you make it much easier for a puppy to adjust to living with your family. Your pups daily routine will consist of:
- Where his food and water bowls are
- When his/her meat times are
- Where they sleep
- What time they are put to bed
- What time they get up
- Where they should go to the bathroom (outside, or on a pee pad etc.)
Toilet training is one of the most important things to get right, and it should start as soon as your puppy gets home. Young puppies need to go to the bathroom frequently and in order to be successful, you need to anticipate their needs. As a rule of thumb, a puppy should be given the opportunity to relieve themselves at least every two hours. You can usually tell when a puppy 'wants to go' because he or she will look around anxiously, walk-in circles and start sniffing in suitable corners looking for a place. Take this behaviour as a sign to take your puppy outside to the bathroom. Toilet training goes hand in hand with your pups daily routine, an easy way to think about it is after any activity is done, eating, drinking, sleeping or playing you should take your pup out to the toilet. By 10 weeks, following a good routine, it’s reasonable to think your puppy can “hold it” for about 3-4 hours during the day or 5-6 hours overnight.
Crate training your puppy is useful as it helps with toilet training and helps to avoid puppy chewing things in your house while you cannot supervise them. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, he'll think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed. You need to slowly introduce a puppy to the create by luring him in there with treats. After they are comfortable entering the crate it is good to start feeding their meals in the crate. When they are happy to eat in the crate you can start to confine them in the crate for a short period of time while you are home. Start small with 5-10 minutes several times a day until they are used to it. After your dog is spending about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. One of the most important things to remember with crate training is to always keep the crate as a positive place and never use it for punishment.
Teach your dog its name
Your dog won’t know his name until you really teach it to him! So it is important to teach your dog to look at you when you say his name. You can make this into a game to play with your puppy, its easy to play all you need to do is say your name and wait until your pup looks at you reward them and tell them they're a good dog. But if your dog doesn’t look at you when you say his name. You can get their attention by making a high-pitched whistle or kissy sound typically gets a pup’s ears to perk.
10-12 weeks old
Teach your puppy not to bite
Puppy nipping offers a great opportunity to teach your puppy what he is and is not allowed to bite and chew. This is really a twofold process. When you are playing with your puppy and they start nipping at your hands, the most important thing to do is stop playing. So your puppy learns when they nip it is game over. Then it is important to teach a puppy what is appropriate to chew and what is not. So when your pup nips at your hands, feet, and clothing, redirect their attention to a chew toy. Your puppy will quickly understand that this kind of behaviour is wrong.
Leash training your puppy
Learning how to walk on a leash is one of the most important skills you can teach your puppy. First, you need to introduce your puppy to a leash and collar, reward them when you put the collar on for the first time so they learn to get used to it. The first time you attach a leash, drop your end on the ground and let him run around. Once they are happy with that you can start with small training sessions on their leash by walking around the backyard or house on the leash. Give the pup lots of praise when the dog walks beside you on a loose leash.
One of the first commands you need to teach a dog is sitting, this simple command is an easy way to develop your pet's manners. To teach them to sit first start by holding your hand flat with the palm facing up. In the fingers hold a treat above your puppies nose and then slowly raise your hand above their head, as most puppies will follow the treat and naturally lower down into a sit.
A common bad habit of puppies is jumping up to greet people, so it is important to be proactive and train your dog to never jump up on you. As although your puppy may be small now and their jumping may be cute when they are fully grown jumping up could scare or cause harm to people. The easiest way to stop a puppy from jumping is to ignore them when they do, don't make a loud noise as this will only encourage them to ignore them and then praise them again when they have all four feet on the ground. If this doesn't work it can be helpful to teach your puppy to sit when they greet people.
3-4 monthsTeach them to come when they're called
Teaching your dog to come when called or have a reliable recall is a critical and even life-saving skill. So it is important to build the foundations of recall at a young age. Start the training indoors, when there are fewer distractions and be sure to use the same word every time. Practice getting farther and farther away from your dog when you call her. Get your dog really good at coming to you indoors, then start practising outdoors. As outdoors is an exciting place for a puppy and full of distractions. So once they reliable come indoors move to a confined space outdoors such as your backyard.