Puppy Training – 5 Common Mistakes
So, you’ve read the puppy training manual, you’ve got the treats and your new puppy has arrived. You’re ready to get started. And if you really have read the training manual from cover to cover beforehand, it should all be plain sailing, right? Well, it could be, but only if you take care to avoid 5 common mistakes.
1. Choose The Right Time
Puppies are capable of learning simple commands from a very young age but don’t try to give your puppy a meaningful training session if he is tired, highly excited or busy exploring. You need his full attention, otherwise you’re wasting your time. You can build up to training sessions in more distracting environments once your puppy is reliably responding to your commands at home.
2. Get Your Puppy’s Diet Right
When it comes to house training, you don’t have to be a scientist to work out what goes in must come out. If you feed your puppy a quality, balanced dog food and stick to regular meal times (3 times a day for young puppies, dropping down to twice a day for older dogs), then your puppy is more likely to have regular toileting habits – which means you’ll have more of an idea of what time to take him out. If, on the other hand, you offer your puppy constant treats and tidbits and feed him at different times of the day, you can expect your puppy to need to toilet at any time of day too.
3. Don’t Run Before You Can Walk
If you’re a bit of a control freak and you expect your puppy to have mastered all of your commands in the first couple of weeks, you may be disappointed. Young puppies, in particular, have a lot to take in in the first few weeks as they settle into their new home away from their mom and litter mates. Start off with two or three commands at the most – sit, come and down should take priority – and don’t move on to new commands until such time as your puppy has mastered the basics.
4. Keep It Short
Like small children, puppies have short attention spans and get tired quickly. Keep your puppy training sessions short – 5 to 10 minutes is enough – but regular. Two or three short training sessions every day is ideal. And, remember, you can build in the ‘come’ command throughout the day; for example, when you want to feed your puppy or play with him.
5. Prevention Rather Than Cure
Puppies learn fastest through the association of an action (eg, ‘sit’) with a positive reward (eg, a treat). However, our attention can also be very rewarding to a puppy – and that also includes negative attention such as scolding.
As part of your puppy’s training, then, you should do everything you can to ensure that your puppy can’t get into trouble in the first place. That way you can avoid giving your puppy lots of ‘negative’ attention which might inadvertently encourage his bad behaviour. For example, if you use a crate, or confine your puppy to one room of the house, he is far less likely to get into trouble chewing something he shouldn’t, or peeing somewhere he shouldn’t.
You can find out more great tips and advice about puppy training at www.everythingdoodle.com.