Puppy Training Requires Preparation, Patience, And Positive Reinforcement
Very often, the cute and playful nature of a newborn puppy can be the primary factor in the decision to bring a dog into the home as the newest member of the family. Another factor may be an anticipation of the enjoyment and companionship that lies ahead when the dog matures and, for want of a better description, settles down with age.
However, there is a critically important stage that lies between the cute newborn and the adult dog – puppy training and its adaptation to the home, family, and neighbourhood. And it is this stage that can be particularly challenging to dog owners, to the point that it may lead to feelings of frustration and second-guessing about the decision to get a dog.
Some of the most common challenges that new puppy owners will face, in no particular order, include:
- Housebreaking or potty training
- Crate training
- Establishing a routine (meals, exercise)
- Learning to speak puppy language
- Nipping, biting, chewing, and/or gnawing
- Sleep disruption/deprivation
- Separation anxiety
- Property damage (often due to inquisitiveness)
With a combination of preparation, patience, and positive reinforcement, the challenges noted above can all be addressed and resolved, either through individual efforts on the part of the owner family or in tandem with formal puppy training classes, such as the programs offered by the professionals from Alpha Paws.
There are several ways that new puppy owners can implement the training needed to acclimatize the puppy to its new surroundings and establish the behaviours that will lead to a comfortable and compatible dog-owner relationship. Such processes will consist of:
- Puppy obedience training – learning basic commands/language
- An important aspect for socialization with other dogs as well
- Regular exercise – for general health plus socialization benefits
- Also leaves the puppy with less energy for unwanted behaviours
- Crate training – provides a place of comfort and security for a puppy
- Helps in appeasing separation anxiety
- Establishing a structured environment
- Permitting access to certain rooms only
- Toys specifically intended for the puppy only
- Designated sleeping area (an aspect of crate training for a puppy)
- Regular reward – for the reinforcement of positive behaviour
- A combination of praise and treats or often just lots of praise
- Make puppy training a family affair – full participation by all members
- Plus consistency with all puppy routines, training commands, etc.
While bringing home a new puppy will require a strong commitment to its training and orientation during the first few weeks and months in its new environment, the rewards will be well worth the time and effort invested. A well-trained and well-behaved puppy will become a well-trained and well-behaved adult dog, resulting in a strong relationship built upon mutual respect and companionship.
A critical aspect to establishing such a long-term relationship will be enrolling the puppy in obedience training classes, such as our Puppy Preschool Program at Alpha Paws.
Tips For Housebreaking And Crate Training A Puppy
Training a new puppy in your home involves a good amount of discipline; not in the traditional negative sense, but more from the perspectives of repetitiveness and routine for both the puppy and the owner family.
The key aspects to housebreaking and crate training a puppy include:
- A consistent routine – take the puppy outside after meals, waking, playing
- Establish bladder control – puppy will avoid ‘going’ where it sleeps (its crate)
- Set priorities – take the puppy out on a leash to reinforce that it is potty time
- Establish boundaries – block off certain rooms or entire floors in the home
- Recognize the signs – active sniffing, circling, may mean that it is time to ‘go’
- Positive reinforcement training – praise (vocal/physical); reward with treats
- Avoid negative reaction to accidents – just take puppy outside immediately
- Be mindful of the crate time – a puppy can only hold its bladder so long
- Avoid training ‘shortcuts’ – potty pads can teach a puppy to just ‘go’ inside
One way to establish a base for the greatest success with your puppy training might be to compliment your housebreaking efforts with professional obedience training from Alpha Paws. Our training sessions will help in establishing the basic commands, body language, and dog-owner relationship which can be reinforced at home and guide a puppy’s overall development and behaviour as it matures into an adult dog.
Bringing a new puppy into your home can present a number of challenges. If you feel that professional puppy training services would benefit both you and your puppy, look no further than our dog training team located in Newmarket. Call Alpha Paws today at 905-830-9500 or 1-877-868-PAWS (7297) to discuss how our programs can best support your needs.