Quick Guide To Basic Puppy Training | Hill's Transforming Lives
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Quick Guide To Basic Puppy Obedience Training

For successful training, practice the following basic training steps with your puppy every day. Keep training sessions short. Your puppy will see everything as a game, so keep him stimulated by changing what he's learning. Do each command for about five minutes and come back to it whenever you can.

Practice the commands in lots of different places — in the living room, garden, hall or kitchen, even out on walks — so that he gets used to responding to you in all sorts of situations. You can use the click technique to help with other aspects of your puppy's training, such as encouraging him to stand still for grooming and getting him used to traveling by car.

Your puppy will learn very quickly and respond to love and affection as well as rewards. Obedience training will help build a lasting bond between the two of you and you'll be rewarded with a happy, well-trained dog.

Table manners

Giving in to your puppy's every need is not a good thing. As your puppy grows, so will his need to assert himself. Puppies often choose mealtimes as a battleground. But giving in to him is a mistake. You need to make sure he knows that you won't respond to his every demand.

Your puppy needs to learn that people around him, particularly small children, can be a bit unpredictable. But he needs to accept that their unpredictable behavior is not threatening. You can help him do this by imitating a child's behaviour. Try stepping quickly towards his bowl — then drop in a treat. Gently bump into him, while he's eating, or roll toys nearby — anything to cause a distraction, but drop a treat in the bowl to reward him for continuing to eat calmly. Do this every so often, but not at every meal. If your puppy freezes mid-mouthful, growls or glares at you, stop and try again another time. If this continues, it's best to seek advice from a veterinary behaviourist or certified dog trainer.

Wanting to play

If your puppy wants to play, he'll raise a paw or bow down and bark to attract attention. Or he might offer up a toy, or bound up to another dog to get him to join in a chase.

How your dog sees you

Your puppy will watch you to read your body signals more than he will listen to you, and he'll quickly learn what you're feeling even without you speaking.

If you want to improve communication with your puppy, you can improve upon your own body language. For example, crouching down with arms opened out is a welcome sign while towering over him and staring is a sign of threat.

How your puppy learns

Your puppy will learn very quickly, so it's important that he learns how to behave properly right from the start.

Dogs learn by association, so if your puppy does something good, reward him. Then the action is much more likely to be repeated. But the reward must be linked to the action, so he must be rewarded quickly, within a second or two. The reward itself can be a few kibbles of puppy food or praise, or both.

Your puppy needs to be taught what he can and cannot do. Some harmless behaviors can be ignored, but potentially dangerous ones need to be handled immediately by interrupting the behavior with a sharp "no" to get his attention — be sure to reward him when he stops and pays attention to you. Shouting or hitting will not help your puppy learn.