When to Start Puppy Training – Toilet Training Tips
Best Time to Start Puppy or Whelp Training
Start puppy training as soon as you bring your canine home. Puppies as young as 7 or 8 weeks can be taught simple basics such as sit and stay, but they do have a very short concentration span. It is best not to be too intense when you start puppy training, keep training sessions short, but daily.
Positive reward based training should be introduced to help the pup understand your command. Food treat rewards can be used to lure the pup into position. To teach the ‘sit’ command, pass a tasty treat in your hand over the pup’s nose towards his back and say sit. This action will force him to sit down when you should repeat the command and give him the treat with lots of praise. The same principle can be used for ‘down’, by passing the treat close to his nose and to the floor giving the ‘down’ command. Repeat the command and give the pup the treat when he has got down on the floor. Always give lots of praise when the pup gets it right.
When to use puppy treats?
Using food treats in this way can be used for other basic commands such as to get your pup to come to you when called. For ‘come’ hold the treat out at a distance and give the command ‘here’ or ‘come’. It often works better if you are crouched down or kneeling to be at a lower level. To help with lead training, keep a treat at your side to encourage your pooch to walk alongside you.
The command can be ‘heel’. Command names can basically be whatever you want them to be. The pup will learn any name or language as long as it is consistent. Most pups will respond to food based treats, but it is really best to watch and learn from your pup to find out what is the best reinforcer to use as a training aid. Not all dogs are food led and some may prefer to have a ball as a reward or another favourite toy or even just a lot of fuss and praise. Eventually everything will become second nature and the reward can be dropped.
How to recall your young dog?
Recall training cannot be started too soon and is the most important to master. A young pup has a dependent need to be close to you and will follow you around wherever you are. It is a good idea to use this time to create good recall and a close bond with your pup. Don’t worry about losing him, you can walk, increase pace and change direction. He will be concentrating so hard to keep with you and that contact with you is not broken.
Call the pup over to you often with the command ‘here’ or ‘come’. Always praise and make a fuss when he comes to you. Many new owners are so worried about losing their pup that they keep them on the lead. By doing so they miss out on this special time where the pup should be learning to follow you about. If this opportunity is missed it could be disastrous when he is eventually allowed off lead! Getting the chance of freedom at the emerging independence stage will mean your pup will not want to give it up and is unlikely to come back to you when you want him to! He will hover around just far enough away but will not allow you to catch him! Very frustrating! He may have little sense of danger or of getting lost which could end in tears.
How much whelp exercise?
Your new pup will be very active in between naps. Giving the right amount of exercise is important. Once puppy has had his vaccinations and can be taken out into the big wide world, exercise should be kept to short walks. Puppies bones are still very soft and growing and inappropriate exercise may damage the growth plates. Too much exercise too early could cause health problems later in life. Experts consider that 5 mins for every month of age starting at four months is the rule to go by. However, there are no official studies to support this, but even so, it is a sensible precaution. Working line breeds will have an abundance of energy, so it may be difficult keeping strictly to this!
Keeping these breeds mentally stimulated is therefore important. One study suggests that it is the type of exercise rather than the quantity e.g. allowing your pup to go up steps and jump in the early months. It is always wise to pick your pup up when going up and down steep steps and into vehicles.
Your young pooch will also need a comfortable luxury bed to relax in after all this stimulation.
Where will your puppy sleep?
It is often a good idea to use a crate for a pup. Puppies and young dogs seem to like enclosed spaces. A crate gives them a ‘den’ where they will feel secure and protected especially if covered over. A crate should never be used as a punishment. It is useful to keep them out of mischief if they are getting over excited and need a calm place. A place for them to retreat to and sleep. The crate will need to be large enough for the pup to comfortably stand up, turn around and stretch out. Allow room for growth. Make it a cosy place for their own space with a dog bed and blankets. The puppies first bed should be a soft, supportive bed that will grow with your pup and help him settle down for a good nights sleep.
Puppy toilet training tips!
Use of puppy crate training is also a good toilet training aid. A very young pup under 12 weeks does not have full control of its bowel and bladder. An older pup will usually never soil or wet its own bed. To prevent distress, always allow breaks often and keep the crate door open during the day.
As the whelp grows and gets more adventurous he will be bringing in more mud and wet. Bed chewing may also become a problem. Tougher beds may be required! washable waterproof beds provide the best answer. These are easy to keep clean and most are washable or can be hosed down. They are also made from tougher material to last longer.
Puppies are hard work, but provide a lot of fun. Start puppy training and stick to it the regime. Everyone in the family needs to do the same thing. Training needs to have simple command words. It needs to be repetitive and fun. Always use positive reward with food treats or toys. Paws Plus One has large selection of helpful dog toy products
Good luck! Have fun training your puppy!