While training a puppy can be an investment of both time and energy, it's certain to be rewarding.
Just know that the moments of frustration will long be forgotten as your puppy learns more and more, and positive training helps you form a bond that lasts a lifetime. To get started, just follow these ten tips to make sure your time together is well spent.
- Pick an area with minimal distractions so the puppy can focus on the task at hand.
- Let your puppy play and release some energy before you get started. Otherwise, it can be difficult to hold his attention.
- Keep training sessions short: 5 to 10 minutes per session, several times per day. This allows you to work with your puppy's short attention span while keeping the sessions enjoyable for both of you.
- To help your puppy learn the rules of the home and establish human control, it can help to have him earn rewards by performing a command (for example, getting a treat if he sits when asked). Hold back the reward until your puppy does what you ask him to do. At first, ask him to do simple things for brief periods of time. Remember he is still just a puppy! When feeding your puppy treats, keep in mind that they should comprise less than 10% of his daily caloric intake, or else they can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
- Be patient. Keep showing your puppy what to do until he responds and then praise him. If he needs more than just your help, it's always a good idea for you and your puppy to enroll in puppy socialization classes.
- Try not to lose your temper with your puppy. He won't understand why you are angry, nor will he learn from such treatment. Instead, he may fear you. Praise and pet him or offer him a treat after a positive response.
- Use a piece of your puppy's kibble as a reward to help strengthen the behavior you request. Once he knows and understands the task, treats can be given intermittently and then phased out.
- Be firm and consistent. Always be sure to use the same tone of voice and the same words when giving a command. Make sure all family members do the same.
- When your puppy doesn't do what you’ve requested, don’t assume he’s being defiant. It's possible he simply hasn’t learned the task yet, or is too distracted.
- End each training session on a positive note. If your puppy hasn't mastered a new command, go back to one he can carry out and praise him for doing so.