The prospect of a new puppy means to some, the addition of a cute, cuddly fur ball and to others it is the beginning of a new relationship full of training responsibilities. If you envision a well trained, well adapted, easy going companion or even competition dog, training your puppy starts as soon as you welcome him into your home. While some training started at an early age (for the purposes of this article 6-16 weeks) is specific to the role your new puppy will fill in the home, the following training is recommended for all puppies living in a residence as a family dog (this would include both pets and dogs intended for club level Schutzhund Training).
A young puppy is fearful of very few things and is looking for new experiences all the time. This makes it the perfect time to begin normalizing as many places, situations and stimulus as possible. This training is aimed at making situations you will likely face in the future, which are typically stressful or difficult for your dog, easier on you both.
Noise Exposure: Exposing young puppies to loud, unexpected noises normalizes their occurrence and experience. This can assist in helping puppies adjust to thunder, fireworks, guns and slamming doors to name a few. Start exposing your puppy to audio files of thunder, fireworks and or guns firing as soon as you bring them home. Another substitute for the audio files is exposing your puppy to video games played loudly.
Engagement Training: This training focuses on showing the dog you are the bearer of all things good. If the dog keeps attention on you he will continue to be fed high value food rewards. This is an excellent tool for building a relationship with your puppy and builds the foundation for basic obedience behaviors like sit, down, twirl, and spin. Slightly more complex behaviors can be added over time like walking between your legs and coming into basic and recall position (Schutzhund Training).
Clicker Training: Conditioning your puppy to the clicker at an early age will allow for more complex levels of training earlier in the dogs development. Without the clicker, training behaviors such as potty training and crate training are more difficult. A puppy who knows what the clicker means is equipped to learn all types of behaviors more quickly.
The Attention Game: Teaching your puppy to give you attention and focus on you will pay off every time you interact with him. Rewarding your puppy for looking at you and coming to you is a valuable foundation for future behavior.
Crate Training: Training a puppy to enjoy being in small spaces will likely be easier than training a full sized adult dog. Once a puppy is comfortable in a crate, potty training becomes that much easier. Plus, a crate trained puppy can be left alone (in the crate) with a little more confidence than a puppy free to roam (not suggested by Longoriahaus Dog Training).
Potty Training: All dogs need to be house broken but starting early with a puppy makes life easier for you. Taking the puppy to the same area to eliminate, praising the for doing the behavior and rewarding him ,all at a young age, will likely result in fewer accidents than a puppy who has been allowed to do its business wherever and whenever it needs to.
Vet Office Prep: Handling your dog’s paws, lips and ears can prepare them for the handling that occurs at the Vet’s office. If from a young age, a dog is accustomed to being man-handled it will tolerate being at the Vet’s more easily than a dog who has never had these experiences. Depending on your dog’s natural disposition, normalizing the Vet’s office itself may also be important. Spending time doing Engagement or Attention Training in the Vet’s waiting room may also prove beneficial.
Socializing: Taking the time to expose your puppy early on to a wide variety of places, people, and animals, creates a pet that is less likely to be nervous, anxious, or aggressive towards new situations as he ages.
Exposing your puppy to a wide variety of stimuli and experiences will begin forming a well adjusted, sociable companion. If you intend for the dog to compete in Schutzhund training, these behaviors will form a good foundation for the necessary temperament. Regardless of whether the puppy will be a pet or a Schutzhund, preparing your dog for situations he is likely to encounter in life, is a positive for you both.
“Yuck” Command: Teach your puppy a “Yuck” (spit it out) command or something similar. Puppies are learning about their new world constantly by putting everything in their mouths. This can be particularly dangerous while you are walking your pup outdoors. If your puppy knows a “Yuck” command it will spit out undesirable or dangerous objects before they are ingested.
Are you looking for a better behaved, more obedient dog? Longoriahaus Dog Training provides customized Dog Training in Houston for your pet or your competition prospect. Contact us today to learn more about our exciting program.