It’s hard to pick a top 5 most important lessons for a new puppy. This article will cover some of the lessons I consider most important (other than socialisation which is THE most crucial!)
Being left alone is OK
Take it from me – separation related issues is one thing you really want to avoid. Most new puppies cry when left alone and this is not the same as a dog with separation anxiety. Train the puppy early to be comfortable while alone whether in a crate, laundry, back yard or dog run etc. Never go to the puppy and let her out when she is crying for attention
Come when called
A reliable recall would have to be THE most important obedience exercise. This is a safety issue. You do not want your dog to think twice about coming when called if there is an emergency – such as your dog running towards a busy road to chase a bird. Make sure that every time your dog comes when you call her, she feels rewarded. Never punish your dog after she has come when called. Even if she has done something wrong beforehand, the last thing she will remember and associate the punishment with is that she came to you when called.
Remember, punishment is what the dog finds undesirable. This may include putting the leash back on to go home.
Sit & Stay
A good reliable sit is useful for many training situations. For example, train a solid sit and teach your dog to sit to greet people rather than jumping up. Rather than teaching dogs the word “stay” after we have said “sit,” we teach dogs to hold the commanded position until they hear their release word. Such as, “ok” or “free.”
Stationing training where we teach the puppy to get on a mat and stay there until release is also an extremely useful skill.
I find a lot of people have never heard of crate training. I too was sceptical at first but now I can’t imagine raising a puppy without crate training! Puppies need strict supervision just like a toddler. You wouldn’t let a toddler roam free in the house without supervision so why would you let a puppy do it? Free roaming allows puppies to practice bad habits such as chewing things and toileting in the house. Crate training is so useful for those times you can’t supervise, great for toilet training, a place for puppy or dog to sleep and also for travel or medical reasons. Teach your puppy to love her crate as her safe haven where pleasant things happen such as games, treats and meals.
Protect your puppy from grabbing and eating harmful things such as cane toads or unknown edible items on the foot path by teaching your puppy to “leave it” on command. Reward your puppy with a better alternative for leaving the original item.
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Looking for information online can be so confusing as there is so much conflicting advice. In Training Matters, we explain not just the how of dog training, but the why, so that you know what to do and why to do it this way.
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