Guide: How To Train Your New Dog
You may notice that your new little furry bundle of joy also comes with nipping, peeing on the floor, and barking.
That is the main reason it's essential to learn the potential puppy training stages.
In a dog's world, their momma teaches them how to survive, everything they need to know about the world, and how to live together harmoniously in various stages of their growth. Now it's your turn to teach your pup the ropes of life!
It doesn't matter how big your puppy will grow to be, what breed they are, or how old he/she is, dogs need to be well-trained. Wherever you go, your dog will be a reflection of you... so you don't want to be the person with the ill-behaved dog in the veterinary waiting room or dog park!
You should begin right away.
Let's take a look at the ages and stages of puppy training!
When To Start
You'll likely bring a brand new puppy home around 7 weeks and it's important to begin training right away, around 8 weeks. If you wait to train your dog, perhaps around 6 months for example, you will regret it! If you bring home a new-to-you dog that is older, there are still helpful tips for you to find in this article!
Positive Puppy Training Techniques
Training a puppy might seem like a huge job, but it includes a lot of fun, too. Training a puppy should be positive for both of you. It's recommended to use positive training methods.
In the old days, trainers made use of punishment or dominance to create a respected hierarchy for the pack, but nowadays there's a new effective method you will like much better called Positive Reinforcement.
Positive Reinforcement is easy! All you have to do is reward your dog or puppy for doing something you want, and neglecting any attitudes or behaviors you don't want.
The reward can be special treats, playing with a favorite toy, praise, or petting. Take this opportunity to bond with your dog and learn what he or she likes!
We will discuss the method of positive reinforcement training with your puppy.
Because puppies and their brains expand so fast, we will discuss step by step on how to train your puppy during different stages of their growth.
8-10 Weeks - Start With Routine
You likely brought your puppy home around the 8-10 week mark when it has completely stopped feeding from its mother. This time is essential in your puppy's training because it will now learn all about “right and wrong” from you, your family and friends, your home's surroundings, and the routine you create.
At 8 weeks, you should concentrate on teaching your puppy how and where to sleep, play, and potty.
Begin to practice a daily routine. Puppies adapt to living with humans much better when they are on a strict routine. Your own may look like this:
Get up - make a designated area for relief
5 minutes of playful romping
Make a breakfast
Playing by himself while you get set for work
Morning potty break
In the crate, while you go to work
Return home for lunch - go outside for a potty break
Playing outside for 5 minutes and get back inside
Back from work - potty break
Playtime and learning
Plays by himself in his play area
Crate Training will make your life as a pet parent much easier!
It's important to establish that the kennel is not only a place of punishment but a place your pup can be excited to have his/her own quiet place to relax and play with their favorite toy. Your dog having a good relationship with its kennel will keep them from barking, whining, and damaging things when it feels upset or anxious.
Introducing your 8-10 week old puppy to her new crate is as easy as making it a game.
Begin with a new toy and some treats staged inside the crate with the door propped open. Bring the puppy to her new crate with an established favorite toy.
Allow the puppy to wander in and out of the crate on her own to explore. Make sure you keep the door open.
In the next day or two, occasionally toss treats inside the crate to encourage the pop to continue finding surprises there.
Once you see she's going inside by herself, you can start to close the door before giving her a treat.
Repeat this version of the game for awhile, then you can start adding whatever gesture you'd like to signal to your dog that it's time to spend time in the kennel, say something like " Go to your crate" or "Go to bed,".
Then start to leave the door open for 15-30 seconds before giving her the treat and releasing her. Then begin to leave the room entirely and coming back to release and reward her.
By the end of her 10th week, the puppy should be getting cozy with the idea of the crate when you gesture. She might still bark or whine after 5-10 minutes of staying alone in the crate, but with training and maturity, this will fade out.
Your dog can't know his name until you teach it to him! Training your dog with a name is actually about training your dog to look at you when you call his name. That's one of the more exciting training games for 8-10 week old puppies!
To play the Name Game, all you have to do is call your pup's name and wait. When he looks at you or comes running towards you, you say "Good boy!" and give him a treat. Wait for him to walk away, and repeat his name.
If your dog doesn't look at you when you called his name, then make a noise or movement to get his attention. You can also make a high pitched whistle or kissy sounds to help you get your pup's ears to perk.
Call his name again, make the second sound, then reward. He will begin to learn with the game, so it won't take long to skip the noise.
When your puppy doesn't leave once you've given him the first treat, all you have to do is to stand up and ignore him, turn your back and standstill. Then look off into the distance. Wait for him to get bored and start sniffing the ground for more treats. Then you begin the game again.
Now the difficult weeks of adjusting to life with a new puppy are over, we can go to some other puppy training stages. Here are a few things you can teach your puppy at 10-12 weeks old.
Between 10-12 weeks puppy play is very mouthy. It's a natural canine way to study about their world and to play. Start to train your puppy not to bite your ankles and hands during play with these two methods:
First, you stop the situation from happening by interrupting the biting attitude and redirecting the puppy's attention to something acceptable to chew on. Get up and be still. Wait for a few moments, and then give your puppy a chew toy instead.
Second, teach the puppy not to bite while being handled. Learn calm handling of your puppy but take your hands away if the puppy starts to bite at your hands.
Introducing The Leash
Start leash training in a secure, fenced-in location like your backyard or apartment courtyard. Apply the leash and let it drag on the ground behind the puppy for some minutes. She will check it and might even try to chew on it or pick it up with her mouth and run around with it.
Walk-in slow circles around your space and call the puppy to walk with you. If she's too focused on the leash to walk with you more than a step or two, try to give her a treat or two while you are walking to distract her from the leash.
After a little session of this introduction, the puppy must be able to walk around the yard with the leash dragging behind her, ignored.
Then you can begin picking it up and practicing walking together. Make it fun for her like you have been doing with all your other training methods!
Around 3-4 months is a good time to teach your dog to be loyal and safe in public. Continue the leash training.
Training your dog how to walk calmly beside you while leashed in public is essential and hard. It's hard because you will have to take time to practice several times per week and with increasing stages of distraction from your dog.
Here are a few tips on training your 4-month-old puppy to walk on a leash:
Take a handful of treats. Take a walk around the yard and give a treat while walking around. Give the treat down beside you by your thigh. If he moves off and gets to the end of the leash, you stop walking until you get enough slack in to keep going.
Over some time, slow down the rewards to every 10 steps, then every 20, etc. Some people might like to include the verbal cue "heel" to train their dog to slow down on cue.
When it gets to 3-4 months, your leash teaching should result in a puppy that is respecting the leash, walking close to you, and looking up to you for feedback. This is all in low-distraction areas like the yard. We begin to leave the yard in later stages.
Now that you and your puppy have created a training routine and he's had all his vaccinations, it's time you take your training into the real world. Your puppy training is now ready for advanced stages, training for new places and situations outside the home.
These situations may include:
Sit to be petted by an unknown person.
Continue your “sit” training by increasing the game to strangers coming up to your dog to pet him. Tell your friends only to pet him if he's sitting down to make training more effective. Include “no jumping” training, if necessary.
At or around a dog park, you can practice teaching your dog to listen to you while being surrounded by distractions and temptation. Allow your dog to roam a set distance from you (on leash) and then call him back with a squeaky toy. Reward him. Repeat this as many times as you think your pup can bear and then reward him by letting him free in the dog park to play with others!
Training your 6-month-old puppy can be tricky. Between 6-7 months, your dog enters canine adolescence. This can be one of the hardest puppy training stages.
You will notice some new challenges as hormonal changes and maturity can cause him not to pay attention to you and will pay attention to the other dogs and things in the surroundings instead.
Here are few goals for training a 6-month-old puppy:
Paying attention to you during leashed walks to prevent pulling
Sitting and staying on cue in a different situation, such as waiting at the vet
Strengthen “come” calling in busier places
"Leave it" to interrupt a distraction like a food item on the floor or a dog walking by
As you move through all the different stages of puppy training, think about the most critical attitude you want your young puppy to have for both of you to be happy and healthy.
Just like advised in this guide, begin to teach him about his new home and routine, being nice with people, and good places to potty.
Then go into training him for safety with leash training, crate training, and coming when you call him.
Don't forget to keep the training sessions short and fun for both of you!