Dog Training at Home:
How to Train a New Puppy
If you just opened your heart and home to a new puppy, you may be considering dog training at home. But do you know when and how to train your puppy?
House training, behavior training and obedience training can be actually initiated as soon as you bring your puppy home.
Puppies are fairly easy to train because they are ultimately like sponges, ready to absorb learning experiences around them, however their short attention spans and predisposition for distractions may pose some challenges.
A Guide to House Training Your Puppy
House training a puppy can become frustrating at times, but keep in mind that young puppies have little or no control over their bodily functions. It is ultimately up to you, when dog training at home, to put your puppy up for success by taking him out on a routine basis.
The "month plus 1" rule may prove helpful in determining how long your puppy can go between outings. Here is how it works. Add 1 to your puppy's age and what you get is how long you should keep his potty times apart. So if your puppy is 2 months old, take him out every 3 hours.
Or to keep things simple and more foolproof, start at 2 hours for a two month old puppy and gradually increase the time between his outings as he grows older and gets better bladder control.
Crate training is a successful way to house train puppies since they are reluctant to soil the areas where they sleep, eat and drink. Make sure you invest in the right-sized crate: check crate training a puppy for details.
The right cleaning products are also fundamental when dog training at home so to avoid your puppy from soiling over and over the same areas. Use an enzyme-based dog urine cleaner that completely removes all traces of urine. Fail to use the right cleaning products, and your puppy will feel compelled to soil an area just because it smells like urine or feces, the canine equivalent of a flashing bathroom sign!
Most of all, learn to read signs that your puppy has to go potty so you can speedily take him outdoors. The following are 4 ways your puppy may be signaling the nature is calling:
- Suddenly appearing distracted
Guide to Behavior Training a Puppy
Puppies are essentially blank slates, and therefore, desirable behaviors can easily be encouraged, however, allow a bad behavior to put roots, and it will easily carry on into adulthood.
Normal puppy behaviors involve chewing, mouthing, whining and jumping on people. As much as these behaviors are annoying to deal with, they are natural and part of growing up. You can manage these behaviors by dog training at home and reinforcing alternate, more acceptable behaviors. Here are 3 examples:
- For instance, if your puppy chews your shoes, manage his environment so shoes are not accessible. If your puppy eventually ends up chewing on your shoes, redirect him to a proper chew toy and praise for chewing it.
- If your puppy loves to jump, as much as it is cute, you want to discourage this behavior or you will regret it 100 pounds later. Turn your back and cross your arms when he jumps and make it a good habit to give attention only when all 4 paws are on the floor.
- Nipping behaviors can be easily curbed by dog training at home and letting the puppy know that biting hurts. Try saying a sharp ''ouch!'' and stop interacting with him for a few seconds, he may get the message.
Guide to Obedience Training a Puppy
Not many dog owners are aware of the fact that puppies can be taught basic dog training commands as early as 8 weeks old! A puppy of this age indeed can be easily taught to sit with the use of praise and rewards. However, at this age their attention span is pretty short, therefore, it is important to keep dog training at home sessions really brief and fun at this stage. As the puppy grows, more and more obedience training can be added to his repertoire.
A dog obedience training school is an optimal place to start training and socializing puppies. These will help puppies meet their socialization needs which are at peak levels until they are about 16 weeks old. Past this time, the socialization window closes, causing puppies to miss life experiences that are important for their future, and ultimately, predisposing them to becoming socially handicapped.
If you are considering dog training at home, make sure to take your puppy outside to meet the world during this important stage.
Behavior and Obedience Dog Training at Home Tips
While puppy behavior training focuses on teaching your puppy which behaviors are acceptable and which are not, obedience training focuses on training your puppy specific commands such as a sit, down, stay and heel. Both these types of training however require compliance with certain guidelines so to prevent problems and frustration.
The following tips will help pave the path towards a rewarding journey with your puppy.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Harsh dog training at home methods will only make your puppy inhibited and fearful of you. This defeats the purpose of training which should focus on yielding a confident and trusting canine. Gone are the days where a puppy's nose was pushed into a pile of poop or rear was spanked for soiling. Gone are also the days where leash jerks, collar grabs and ear pinches were used to train dogs to heel and behave.
Positive reinforcement training teaches your puppy right from wrong by using encouragement, praise and rewards, rather than punishment and corrections. This training method, based on the scientific principles of learning theory, turns out to be a very powerful and effective way for puppy training at home and outside.
Make Sessions Short and Sweet
As already mentioned, puppies have short attention spans and can get easily distracted if the dog training at home session gets long and too tedious. Training your puppy during a short commercial break should be enough to keep his interest alive. Make sure you always end your training session on a positive note by asking something your puppy knows well and praising lavishly.
Have Realistic Expectations
Your puppy is young and needs clear and consistent directions in order to thrive. Aiming too high at this stage will only put your puppy to fail.
If you are trying to obedience train and the puppy is having difficulty, try to split the exercise in smaller steps and evaluate if there are too many distractions. In behavior training, consider that it would be unfair to correct or punish for a behavior your puppy has not been properly taught to do. And when it comes to house training, consider that it does not happen overnight; rather it may take several months.
House training, behavior training and obedience training are all vital precursors for establishing a life of good habits. Start teaching your puppy good habits from day one by initiating dog training at home.
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Want to learn more?
If you need help with teaching your dog obedience commands or just trying to understand dog behavior, I recommend this dog behavior and obedience training guide.
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