Top 5 Training Tips to make sure your puppy has the right start in training
1. Relationship building with your puppy
Have lots of fun with your puppy but make sure you balance this with control. If you play with toys or feed your new pup then make sure you get them to do something for you first. So let’s say your puppy wants to go in the garden, then ask the puppy to sit first. Or, if your puppy wants to play some toy games with you see if he can recall first or sit before playing. Try to build on a “learn to earn basis” and teach the puppy that from day one you are valuable. I also teach my puppy with part of his daily food every day – so usually I take some of his daily food out on walks with us and ask him for behaviours every now and again (sit, down, recall, etc) while we’re out and reward him for his good responses.
2. Get your puppy out and about
This is a major part of your puppies’ early development. Try to take your puppy to every place they will experience as an adult dog, for example the vets, groomers, train station, pet shop, local village, pub or town centre. The more comfortable the dog is in these environments the better. Try hard not to force anything on the pup, let the pup take these things in their stride. Take some food/a toy with you and reward them or play in those environments so they learn that they are positive places to be.
3. Teaching a Really Reliable Recall
There is an excellent DVD available called Really Reliable Recall. We also have a handout available via email if you are interested on how to teach this. Some of the ground rules of an RRR are:-
• Only call your dog once
• Only call when you are going to deliver something nice
• Never call if you know your puppy is going to ignore you
• If the puppy does ignore you go and get the puppy, don’t call again!
• Consider using long lines that trail behind the dog – these are great for preventing mishaps
• Teach your puppy to enjoy having his collar grabbed (This is great for emergencies…)
4. Start as you mean to go on
Your puppy will not understand if the rules keep changing as they grow up and therefore it is better that you start the way you mean to go on. Enroll in a puppy class as early as the second vaccination and make sure attend for as long as possible, it really is a great way of creating a great foundation with your puppy for life.
5. Training Classes
- Teaching your puppy a good recall
- Grooming your puppy and getting them used to being checked over (teeth, eyes, ears, feet)
- Training basic behaviours such as sit, down, wait/stay, recall
- Teaching your puppy to walk on lead at your side and not pull
- Helping you train your puppy not to jump up at you or other people who stop to say hello
- Socialising with other young puppies at the same development stage
- Developing your pup’s self control and good manners around food and toys – not stealing but waiting until offered
- Tricks and games you can play to have fun with your dog, develop a good relationship and build their strength and flexibility
- How to enjoy training your dog while still having FUN
- And most of all – building a solid, happy relationship with your pup based on positive reinforcement
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About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.