Raising & Training
Most people will agree that puppies are adorable, but before getting one you
should know that they also require lots of love, attention and training. You should
start training your puppy as soon as they arrive at their new home. Remember:
every action should be met with the right reaction, otherwise things will get
(and stay) difficult.
TRY A TRAINING SCHEDULE
Besides all the adorableness, puppies are naturally energetic and incredibly
curious. At times this can get a bit frustrating. You often have to hide things, watch
them and train them at the same time. The trick is to react appropriately and face
challenges with a plan. If you get it right, the adjustment period will be shorter and
easier. Dogs that are returned or given away are often the result of irresponsible,
ignorant owners who did not bother to put in the work of training and responding
to behaviour properly.
THINGS TO GET RIGHT
The easiest place to start is getting your puppy used to a daily routine. Routines are
reassuring and it will make your life easier in the long run. Feeding habits (e.g. where
he can find food) are easy to learn and a positive part of the your puppy’s daily
routine. Things your puppy needs to learn:
• Bed time
• Rise time
• Bed location
• Feeding time
• Toys’ location
• Bathroom location
• The location of his food and water bowls
How you teach your puppy routines and commands really matters. You need to kindly establish that you are the boss and foster a healthy respect. If you can get
this right early on, your puppy will be happy to behave well. If you get it wrong,
you’ll need to arrange your life around your puppy’s wants and needs which is
highly frustrating. This is a recipe for disappointment and other behaviour issues.
WORDS TO TEACH YOUR PUPPY
Besides routines, you should teach your puppy to respond to certain words. The
first words your puppy should learn to understand are, “No” and “Good” at eight to
ten weeks old.
These words are key for clearly correcting and praising your pup. Words such as,
“sit”, “come”, “leave”, “off”, “down”, “stay” and “quiet” can wait a bit.
“No” is all about, “Please stop what you’re doing” while “Good” is how you tell your
pup, “What you’re doing is right.” Make sure you use the right body language and
tone of voice in the right context. When correcting your puppy, be firm but don’t
get angry. When praising, show clear approval but not too much affection. These
are basics instructions, not magic tricks you want them to perform.
What if, after 12 weeks, the words “No” and “Good” have not sunk in yet (don’t
receive an immediate, correct response)? Then you need to carry on teaching these
words, until they’ve mastered them, before introducing new words.