Wondering about best puppy training practices?
It’s puppy week again at DognPooch and we are completing a Board & Train for three new pups. Our featured pup this week is Coco – a 16 week Corgi who is doing awesome with her training. It made us think: what are some best puppy training practices that you can complete at home?
It starts with day one – the minute you pick up your pup from the humane society (adopt, don’t shop!) and bring them home you are training them. It is important to establish the rules and let them know that you are in charge.
Start with crate training.
One of the best ways to establish rules is to implement crate training. Get them comfortable in the crate. Even if they are indoors most of the time, having a safe place for them to call their own, that they can be when things get chaotic in life, is the best procedure you can implement. Remember, crate training is not about punishment! It is about getting your pup comfortable with being alone. It helps prevent separation anxiety. It helps keep them out of trouble – they can’t take their energy and focus on destroying the trash if they are in a kennel while you run errands! The crate also establishes a place for them to comfortably sleep at night. While it is tempting for some people to let your puppy sleep in bed with you, it will help reduce future behavior problems when you establish boundaries within the home. Think of resource guarding – yes, they can see you as a resource and guard things from you. Think of separation anxiety – if they are always by you when you are at home, they will stress out when you are gone. Think of those times when you have crazy family members over (not that family is crazy, but lots of kids can create a crazy environment) – placing them in a kennel can help keep their stress levels down rather than add to the chaos.
Begin leash training as soon as possible.
Sometimes you will encounter a pup that is resistant to a collar and leash. That’s why we implemented crate training as our top priority. We can use the crate as a mechanism to put collars on and take them off while your pooch in the kennel. It is also important for them to associate the collars with something fun – meaning a walk, or a training session, or going outside. They will eventually love the collar – no matter what kind of collar you use.
We use prong collars and e-collars to train all our pups. They are among the best tools out there to increase your level of communication with your pup. And just because your pup is a puppy doesn’t mean that you can’t use these tools too! We recommend using the prong collar between 10-14 weeks old and then transitioning to the e-collar once they hit 14-16 weeks old. Also, implement treat training before and during the introduction of these training tools. That means, use their food as a training opportunity, especially if they are food motivated. You can use a clicker for marking positive trick training sessions. But always use your e-collar once you introduce it, to communicate with them.
If you are unsure of how to use either of these tools with your puppy, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help! Or hop onto YouTube and check out some videos that explain how to train different behaviors with these tools.
Stay consistent with your training regimen.
No matter what training method you prefer, it is important that you are consistent. Training doesn’t just happen for 30 minutes each day – it is 24/7. You are training them when you make them go to bed at night in their kennel. You train them in your routine when you leave for work and return home at around the same time every day. You train them when you let them get away with bad behavior on a walk or when you reinforce the rules on a walk.
When your dog knows what is expected of him, and you reinforce those expectations, he will make better decisions more often. Better decisions include ignoring the dog across the street while on a walk rather than barking and lunging at him. It means choosing to stay out of the kitchen rather than counter surfing. It means lying calmly at your side rather than barking at any and all noises that may be heard. It means choosing to focus on YOU rather than ignoring you.
When you have your pup’s attention, and they respect you, you will experience an amazing relationship and a freedom with them that many other dog owners dream of… You don’t have to dream. It can be a reality.
If you struggle with puppy training yourself – seek professional help!
Remember that there is always someone who can help if you are struggling with your pup. If you lack the time, or are frustrated with a particular behavior and find you and your pooch stuck – just reach out! We want to see puppies enjoy freedom. Even if we don’t help you directly, we hope that we have inspired you to take an active place in your puppy’s training.
As always – thanks for reading! Contact us if you have questions, would like us to answer a specific problem, or want us to help with your pooch!