Training Your New Puppy

As proclaimed by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, January is National Train Your Dog Month! The organization is the largest professional association for dog trainers in the world and strives to promote the importance of training and socializing of dogs. For its 8th consecutive year, APDT will offer a variety of free webinars with tips on how to teach your dog basic behavioral manners. From sit to stay to come, all the way to recall skills and walking nicely on a leash, you will be provided with a variety of resources to ensure you properly instill these manners in your dog.

What’s great about National Train Your Dog Month is that it falls right after the holiday season, when many families buy or adopt puppies. You can start training your puppy as early as 7 weeks of age, and beginning training around this time is extremely important to not only molding your dog’s future behavior but also to earn your dog’s trust. Training isn’t just done on a whim, though. It is purposeful, planned, and repeated often, and handling it in such a fashion is the key to success. So, what should you know before starting to train your puppy and using the APDT’s free resources for assistance?

Gather your supplies
To train your pup, you have to make sure you have the necessary supplies to do so. Purchase a collar and a leash to train your puppy to both walk nicely and to work on its recall skills in a safe and controlled environment. A harness may also be used if your puppy is prone to pulling so it doesn’t choke while working on walking on leash. Additionally, small training treats are essential to reward good behavior while working on commands and clickers may also be used in combination with treats. These help to create a sound that your dog associates with treats and good behavior.

Start with the basics
Sure, it’s fun to teach your new dog new tricks, but before you go teaching your puppy how to roll over and dance, start with the basics. Once your puppy has good manners hammered down, it makes it much easier to teach it more complicated and fun commands. To get your puppy behaving like a good boy or girl should, begin teaching them “come,” “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and how to walk on a loose leash without pulling. Remember, always reward good behavior in response to commands with a treat and praise.

Remain in the right mindset
Just like with young children, teaching puppies takes time and it’s important to remember this at all times during the training process. Rather than allowing yourself to get frustrated with your puppy if it isn’t listening as well as you’d like or running around the house with your sock while you yell “come!”, remind yourself that it is a very young animal with a short attention span and continue to work on teaching it to listen every time you give a command. Celebrate the small successes and praise your puppy for its good behavior even on tougher days! 

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