Every puppy needs to be taught good manners and socialisation skills. These include: responding to his or her name, good behaviour around other dogs, coming back when called, walking nicely on the lead, sitting, and being calm and patient when groomed, or at the vet’s. Puppies learn very quickly with proper training and instruction. 3-12 weeks old is actually the most impressionable learning time for dogs.
We really promote playing with your puppy (or dog of any age)! Playing with your dog is not only the fun part of canine companionship, it’s really important as it enhances your relationship. Your dog will enjoy it and it’s a great form of exercise. Make certain toys ‘special’ and keep them hidden away, and use these when playing together. It’s important to teach your puppy to play alone, as well as with others. Keeping your dog stimulated and entertained when alone is important so that he or she doesn’t get bored. At Vet4life we really like the Kong dog toys. You can fill the Kong with food or treats to keep your puppy occupied, as well as satisfying chewing needs and giving him or her mental and physical exercise.
Teaching your puppy to behave well around other dogs will make it a lot easier when you’re out and about. It is an important part of their socialisation that puppies learn to behave with each other and become sociable dogs. This will also have a great effect on their behave as they grow up. When your puppy is playing with another dog, you should be looking for nice, balanced play, often with tails wagging nicely up in the air. If your dog does a ‘play bow’ he or she is positively inviting another to play. During play if the dogs become too boisterous, then take them away from each other, let them calm down a little, and then let them play again. We recommend short play sessions (2-3 minutes) to promote sociable pups.
One of the most important exercises when training your new puppy is the ‘recall’, because we all want to be confident our dog will come back when he or she is called. Did you know there are four main reasons why your dog doesn’t come back when called?
1. He or she thinks it’s end of play. To stop this, recall your puppy at random times when walking and reward well. This way he never knows when he is going home.
3. He’s had a bad experience, e.g. the owner has shouted (or worse) at the dog.
4. Of course the puppy has not been trained!
The Vet4life puppy school will tackle these problems. It’s important that training is made fun and interesting so we often practice the recall exercise through a tunnel! A training line is also useful as the puppy has the freedom to run around in different environments but is always safe and does not get rewarded for not coming back when called – you can reel them in.
You can also train your puppy not to jump up and reward him or her for keeping four feet on the floor. This is a favourite exercise of ours as you can see the puppy thinking for himself – “what do I need to do to get the reward? Oh yes! I must keep my feet on the floor and not jump up, otherwise I get ignored and my owner turns her back and walks away.”
Training your puppy to behave when being groomed is another important exercise. Some puppies may try and bite the brush – to stop this, give him or her a treat, and then slowly brush the puppy treating for no mouthing. Grooming is a great exercise to do with your pup as it builds up your relationship and of course, it keeps your puppy from building up dead hair and tangles, particularly if they have long hair! You can also look for the dreaded grass seeds and observe any changes your puppy has on his skin.
Do you have any tips or tricks for dog training? How do you ensure good behaviour?