After years and years of asking for a puppy, I finally picked out my sweet boy and couldn’t wait for the day he was old enough to come home. I was overwhelmed with excitement, but I couldn’t help but worry about failing. So, I did what any new dog mom would do, I read as many books and articles as I could get my hands on about puppy training tips. I had a few months to try and prepare myself for him to come home.
Growing up I had always had a dog, but strangely, I wasn’t exactly sure on proper training techniques. I could teach my dog new tricks, but teaching a puppy the basics seemed daunting. From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to approach the training by rewarding good behavior. Before I brought him home, I read books about puppy training tips. I would highly recommend this book I bought on Amazon.
Here are a few things I learned from both reading and experience on training a puppy. Ruxin is a lab so luckily; he was fairly easy to train. Most of what I found was trial and error. For example, when I was trying to get Ruxin to stop chewing his leash, I sprayed it was bitter apple spray. I read a bunch of reviews and found one on amazon. I was so eager to try it when we went for our walk a few days later. Turns out, he loved the taste! Which obviously made leash chewing worse.
We are always learning, but he has come so far since day one. I hope you find these puppy training tips helpful. Please leave comments, I’d love to hear your tips!
Puppy Training Tips
The first thing I read up on before we got Ruxin was how to crate train. We knew that this was important and if not done properly, it could go horribly wrong. I learned that the crate should be a safe place for your puppy, not a form of punishment. He may be scared of the crate at first so make it comfy and lead him in with treats. Make crate time a good experience and offer treats, kisses and cuddles when they are in their crate. Start out by crating for short amounts of time and leave the door open the first few times. It helps to remain in eyesight when they are first learning to go in their crate. Begin to make crating a routine. We give Ruxin a treat and put him in his crate every time we leave the house and before bed every night. Now, when he is ready for sleep he will go in the kennel before he is even prompted.
We quickly learned that the first few nights will be HARD.Your puppy will cry and whine and you will be so so tempted to go comfort him.BUT you can’t. Unless of course you think that he needs to go potty, then letthem out. Your puppy needs to learn that it is bedtime and not play time. Healso needs to learn that whining and barking will not get him what he wants,unless its to go to the bathroom. I found it best to bring them out to go pottyright before bed and he wouldn’t need to go again for at least a couple hours. Eventuallyhe will quiet down and you will get some sleep and nights will be better.
Get some treats for this one. Preferably small, soft treats. Start by not saying the command, but using a hand motion to show them to sit.You can do this my getting your pups attention and holding a treat. Hold the treat near their nose and slowly bring it up over their head until their butt touches the ground, then give them the treat. Practice this move for awhile until you can just use the hand motion. Then you can incorporate the word sit. The last step is teaching them to sit without the treat.
After your puppy has mastered sit, you can start practicing lay down. Start my having your puppy sit and use the treat and start at their nose and move it down all the way to the floor. Your puppy should follow the treat to the floor and lay down. Once they do this give them the treat. Practice this move several times and eventually incorporate a command for it. Use a simple phrase like down or lay down.
Learning this quickly will make your life so much easier.It’s helpful to be home when they are little because they seem to need to pee every 15 minutes. Important times to take your dog out are, after meals, after naps and first thing in the morning. Do not scold your puppy for going to the bathroom on the floor unless you see them doing it. Instead use rewards when they go to the bathroom outside. In the beginning, it’s easiest to use a leash and lead your dog to the same spot each time they are supposed to use the bathroom. This will eventually become a routine and they should be going to the same designated area for the bathroom. This step takes a lot of patience. Your puppy will learn eventually and although it’s frustrating, make sure you are rewarding good behavior.
This is a super important puppy training tip if you travel around a lot. Start when they are young. I found it helpful to just do short rides so he wouldn’t get carsick. Short trips to the post office or the bank are all you need. It may be helpful to go for the first few rides with them in passengers seat so they feel more comfortable. Once they become too big or rowdy for the passenger seat, get them a hammock and use it in the backseat. Your puppy will probably try to climb to the front (speaking from experience). Use treats for rewards when they sit calmly in the back. Bring toys to keep them occupied. I also found it helpful to have something exciting at the end of each car ride. We would either go for a walk, see other doggy friends, or just get lots of belly rubs and cuddles.
Sharp puppy teeth can be painful. The best way I have found to stop this behavior is to stand up and walk away. Your puppy wants to play and so he will bite you like he did with all his brothers and sisters. Show him that biting means no more playtime. Each time your puppy bites turn your back to him and walk away. It will take time, but he will earn that biting means no more playing. Using the word “No” is helpful once your puppy learns that command.
These tricks can be worked on one after the other. I would start with come. It’s easiest if you have a partner or friend to help you with this one. Start by having your dog sit with your partner and put them on the leash. Put the leash on the ground and have your partner step on it. Now, you should slowly back away from your pup until you are about 10 feet away. Then after you have waited a few moments use a hand motion and say “come” as your partner lets go of the leash. You should have a treat ready as your puppy comes running toward you. You can build on this by having them sit when they get to you.
This concept also works for stay. Make sure you are using a different hand signal for come versus stay. Start by having your partner step on the leash. Using the hand signal and the word stay, slowly back away from your puppy. You can take smalls steps toward learning this command by having him sit and stay. And then stay and then come. Eventually your puppy should stay without being held back by the leash.
One of the best puppy training tips I can give is to read and learn as much as you can about training and raising your puppy before you bring him home. You may not use all the techniques you learn, but being prepared will lead to amore enjoyable experience for the both of you. Everyone does it differently and everyone has his or her own opinion. Not all dogs respond to the same prompts and some puppies are just harder to train. Patience and consistency are key, and don’t forget to show your puppy how much they are loved.