There is nothing quite as exciting as bringing a new puppy home to be part of the family. Whether he's going to be a family pet or a working dog, one thing remains the same: A puppy needs to be trained early and often to become a happy member of the family. If you have never trained a puppy before, use these tips and tricks to help you along the way.
Train Your Puppy Not To Bite
One of the first things many new dog owners want to know is how to stop a puppy biting. While teething is a natural part of your puppy's development, it is also painful for any fingers or toes that get in your puppy's way. For this reason, it is important to teach your new family member bite inhibition. You can do this by making a high-pitched "ow!" sound when your puppy bites you. Other dogs do something similar when a puppy is playing too hard, so your pup will likely view it as an indicator that he needs to calm down.
It is also a good idea to get your puppy plenty of chew toys. Doing so ensures he's not only not biting you, but not chewing on your furniture, doors, or floors, either. Finally, teach your puppy that biting you means playtime is over when you're playing together. Avoid yelling at or physically punishing your puppy, as they may view getting a rise out of you as another form of play. Simply stop playing and direct your attention elsewhere.
Teach Your Puppy To Use a Crate
Training your puppy to sleep in a crate and to stay in one when you aren't home is not only protecting your home while you're away but also protecting your dog. In fact, your dog should remain crate-trained for the duration of his life for his own safety. When training your dog to sleep in a crate, be sure to use positive reinforcement. Place some of his favorite treats in the crate and leave the door open, allowing him to check it out on his own. A favorite blanket or toy can also help him to get used to the crate. Remember, your puppy's crate needs to be large enough for him to stand and turn around in, and even with a properly sized crate, your pet should not spend more than a few hours at a time in it.
Train Your Puppy in Basic Commands
Basic commands are important for any puppy, but this is especially true if he will grow into a large dog. Hyperactive large dogs may jump on people and inadvertently hurt them. For this reason, it's important that you teach your dog how to "come," "sit," and "stay." For the best results, combine the verbal command with hand commands, such as touching the floor when you want your pup to lie down. Reward him with treats anytime he does what you ask him to, which helps to create positive reinforcement in his mind.
Teach Your Puppy Where To Potty
Almost every puppy is going to have an accident from time to time, but training your puppy how to use the potty and where to do it as soon as possible will cut down on the amount of scrubbing you'll need to do. While many people choose to use training pads, this can actually be detrimental because it reinforces to your puppy that he can go inside instead of waiting to go outside. To properly train your puppy, take him outside every couple of hours as well as about 30 minutes after eating. He should also go right before bed and as soon as he wakes up. This helps him to set a schedule. Be sure to provide positive reinforcement via treats.
Train Your Puppy To Walk on a Leash
Whether going for potty walks or taking him to the veterinarian, it's important that your new puppy learn how to walk on a leash. Avoid using retractable leashes, which can be dangerous for both you and your pup. Instead, use a traditional leash that is no longer than six feet. Attach it to his collar in the house and let him drag it around with him to get used to the feeling of it. As he becomes accustomed to it, start picking it up and teaching him how to walk without pulling. Stop walking if he pulls and provide plenty of treats when he does walk well on it.
Remember, the key to training a new puppy is to be consistent. A puppy's bad behavior might be cute but laughing instead of training is reinforcing that behavior. Be consistent with training and rewards for the best experience for both you and your puppy.