*By Ashish Anthony
Once you have selected your puppy and brought your new puppy home, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding training and obeying commands.
Exercising Your Puppy
The amount of exercise required by a puppy should be best left to the puppy. There shouldn’t be any forced exercise plans, including the daily walks. For puppies, walks should be limited to a mere toilet break. Training sessions which last only 5-10 minutes are fine. Puppies should be kept fairly slim through their diet, especially dogs with rapid growth (Dogs like Great Danes, Mastiffs etc). Reasonably sized balconies, terraces, and backyards are great for larger breed dogs.
House Training Your Puppy
House training should begin as soon as bring your new puppy home. Get a potty-training pad or lay down some newspapers on a tray (to ensure there is no residue leftover on the floor). Put the puppy on the training pad (a toilet training spray will help in this process) several times a day, particularly after meals and drinking water. Soon enough, the puppy will understand. Gradually, however, the puppy must learn to go outside to relieve itself. One good tactic is to move the training pad or tray daily slowly towards the door until it is fully outside. Taking your puppy to the training pad first thing in the morning, after every meal and water drink, and at night before bed. An hour before bedtime, take away the water to prevent accidents from happening, but remember to always put it back first thing in the morning. If your dog goes to relieve itself outdoors, remember to leave a tiny bit of excrement there, making it easier for your puppy to smell it and catch on. Always remember to praise your puppy every time he does his business properly. Word association like “go potty” also does wonders. A combination of these tactics will speed up the learning process. In case there is an accident, do not over-react or yell at your puppy, that will merely scare it. Once something has happened, there is nothing you can do to change it. Positive reinforcement is always a much better and healthier bet. Eventually, the puppy will learn to hold, and go at the right time.
Basic Commands to Teach Your Puppy
Although they may be inquisitive, puppies generally have a low capacity of understanding and remembering words and commands. That can easily be worked on. You can start with some basic commands before getting help from an expert, or doing it yourself.
Sit: It is important for your puppy to sit on command. This will help in being able to control it to an extent. You can start training for this command before giving food; raise the bowl a little higher than its head, which will automatically make it sit. If this doesn’t work, gently push your puppy’s back down. Once your puppy sits, praise it and then give the food.
Come: If you want your puppy to come to you, start walking backwards. This will get the puppy to come towards you. Never run behind your puppy, as it will think it is a game, and will not obey.
Leave it: You do not want your puppy to take everything in its mouth and eat it, so whenever you find it mouthing something he should not, put your hand as an obstruction and firmly ask your puppy to “leave it”.
Socialising After Getting Your Puppy
Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can start taking it out for short walks and start socialising. It is always a good thing to start walks at places you know and are sure of, as the puppy may lick or eat things that you don’t want. Always remember, before starting a walk or playing, make sure your puppy has gone to the toilet. Before socialising, give your guests some treats to encourage your dog to meet the new people and not become aggressive instantly. Same can be applied to avoid dog aggression.
General Rules to Follow
- Do not allow your puppy to trouble you or your guest while eating.
- Do not give your puppy scraps from the dinner table, as it will get it used to begging for food.
- Always maintain a constant feeding time, place, and bowl. This will create recognition in the puppy’s mind.
- Indoor dogs need to be assigned a space of its own, whether it be a bed, mat, or crate. Whenever your puppy tries to take another space, firmly place it back in its own space, and if it tries to move away, say no. Do this for a while until your puppy settles down. It is okay to let your puppy sit on the floor next to you occasionally, as it craves the cool floor in summertime. All toys and playthings need to be kept in a designated spot.
- Whenever your puppy goes after your shoes, furniture, etc., Say leave it and offer it a toy to play with.
- Unless you want to give away all of your personal space, do not allow your puppy on furniture. It is a much better idea to go down to its level on the floor and interact. This will build discipline.
- A puppy shouldn’t be left unsupervised for long periods of time.
- Get your puppy used to wearing a collar. Once it gets accustomed to the feeling, introduce wearing a leash. Do not pull on the leash; instead, let the puppy go and follow it till it gets used to the leash.
Always remember to take your puppy to the vet regularly for vaccinations, and try to make other places it’s comfort zones. Places like parks, car drives, or even its own pet store. This will ensure a happy pet, and a happy pet is a happy you!
Founder Just Dogs*