Although dog training classes are an excellent way of ensuring good behaviour (such as heeling and house training) and understanding of basic commands (such as “sit,” or “no,”) in your dog, most training course providers will not allow you to sign up your animal until it has been fully vaccinated. Yet as with human children, puppies learn the quickest while they are young, and you should therefore start coaching them as early as when they are eight weeks old. You could, of course, hire a professional trainer to do so in your home, but many dog owners prefer to undertake it themselves so as be in control of what and how the dog learns. If you are one of these people, consider the following puppy training tips.
Start out with building a mutual bond between the two of you so as to lay a stable foundation of trust upon which more advanced training can be built. To do so, simply spend time with your dog, pay attention to it and develop a way of communicating with it. Simultaneously you will have to establish boundaries, of which you should any treat violation with firmness. This will establish you as the leader of the family, thereby facilitating respect and preventing all sorts of behaviour problems from occurring. Do not neglect this stage whatever you do, for it has been proven that dogs respond better to owners they trust and respect than they do to owners they fear or do not spend much time with.
This step is a continuous and long-term process that you cannot expect to have completed prior to starting the puppy training. Thus as you are carrying it out, begin introducing learning into the puppy’s life by teaching it its name. Having settled for what to call it, use the name often when you talk to your puppy so as to let it get used to hearing it. It is also a good idea to associate its name with something positive at this stage, such as attention or a treat. Once having something to call the dog by — which in turn means you can call it back to you when necessary — you may feel free to proceed with more advanced commands that fit your particular needs.
As you do so, be sure to know what it is reasonable to expect your puppy to achieve. First and foremost this translates to understanding how your puppy learns. Instruction features into it, of course, but as dogs learn by repetition rather than by observation you need to follow up on it with plenty of practice. Moreover you cannot expect your dog to carry over certain behaviour from one location to another. In other words the dog might follow commands well at home only to fail to do so in the garden or on the street. The only remedy for this oddity is even more repetition, undertaken in any location in which you might want the dog with you. Patience and persistence is therefore paramount to success at training your puppy.
When your pet has finally learnt something right, reward it with praise so as to reinforce the behaviour you want from it. If on the other hand it fails at following instructions you should not scold it overly harshly. A displeased tone of voice is usually enough to convey your disappointment as a means of correction or discipline. Making a sudden and startling noise is an alternative if you need a more forceful signal. Whatever you do avoid hitting it if you can, and if you absolutely have to in order to discourage exceptional and outrageous disobedience you should only do so lightly.