TRAINING & BEHAVIOUR
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Raising & Training Puppies
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 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 basic 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.