Training Your Puppy
Written by Elena Barnard | Friday, December 6, 2013
How to Stop Your Puppy Chewing
When you get a new puppy, your first concerns may be towards making sure they are comfortable in their new home and have plenty of toys and the right food to help them feel at home. You might overlook that a puppy has a slightly destructive nature and that your house may not be as puppy-proofed as you first thought.
Puppies will inevitably chew as they grow up – their growing teeth can irritate or cause them pain, and teething is a way for them to relieve some of this pain as well as help them express their anxiety. By directing their attention to specific chew ‘toys’ that are scented or flavoured to something appetising, you can help avoid any wanton destruction to your favourite furniture, as well as any wiring or other items that can be detrimental for your pet.
Puppy House Training
High among your priorities may be to get your puppy house-trained as soon as possible, so as to avoid any unwanted stains and messes. There are a number of ways to do this, but the easiest is to place newspaper or waste paper inside your house in a chosen location, often where the puppy has gone before. Over time, you move this paper closer to a door that leads outside, getting the puppy used to ‘going’ where you want it to.
Eventually you can move the paper outside and the puppy learns that this is where it needs to go to use the toilet. Whilst training, you should walk the puppy in the mornings if you are going out, and in the evenings before bed to avoid accidents in the night; this allows you to monitor the toilet habits during the day without any transgressions or relapses when you are asleep. Always try to get the puppy to the newspaper before it does its business in the house, and never clean up the mess in front of the puppy – distract the puppy (and praise it for going to the toilet on the newspaper, if they have) before cleaning the mess up so that they do not mistake it for part of a game.
Teaching Your Dog Commands
Teaching your dog other commands is an important part of maintaining control over your pet both in and out of the house, and ensures that you can keep your dog behaving as you wish. Commands such as ‘stay’ or ‘come here’ are useful when out and about, allowing you to recall your pet or to get it to stop and wait when crossing a road or encountering another dog. Teaching ‘sit’ allows you to keep your dog in one place, calm them down or give them a treat. It also lets you check your dog over for fleas and ticks, and may be a good choice for a first trick to learn.
The best method to teach a dog these basic commands is to utilise positive reinforcement with a favourite treat and plenty of patience. It will take constant reinforcement of the desired actions and a healthy number of treats before your dog will reliably perform each time, so spend a little time each day teaching the same trick until your dog has understood and learnt the manoeuvre fully; trying to teach multiple tricks at once can lead to confusion and will only hinder the learning process.