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Mindset advice for puppy training success

05/03/2022 - Puppy Training Advice

Puppy Training Success

So, you’ve made the decision to bring a new bundle of joy into your life! But getting a puppy is the easy bit – what you do once that puppy arrives in your home is another thing entirely! As any new puppy parent will tell you, they’re hard work and often have a seemingly endless supply of energy. As our puppies grow, they get bigger and stronger – and they’re learning very quickly how the world works. To ensure our pups grow up into the wonderful dogs we pictured when we first brought them home, we need to make sure they’re learning the right lessons. That means we need to train them – but how do we do that? There’s lots of conflicting advice out there and it can be a real minefield for new dog owners. It’s for this reason that we’ve decided to make a list of rules for how to approach puppy training.

Start Early – Don’t hang about! Puppies are information sponges and everything they do will teach them something, whether you like it or not. They will pick up new skills and behaviours astonishingly fast if you give them the chance, and training from an early age is a great way to build their cognitive skills. 

Use Positive Reinforcement – There’s lots of outdated information out there about telling dogs off or “correcting” unwanted behaviours. Never punish your dog for something you dislike – saying “no” doesn’t mean anything to them, and science tells us that this is an inefficient way of teaching our dogs and has the potentially to go terribly wrong. Punishment-based training has been linked to an increase in anxiety and aggressive behaviours. Instead, create environments that make it easy for your puppy to do the right thing and reward them when they do – for example, cover the house in toys and reward them by engaging in a game of tug if they go and pick one up!

Get a Professional – Just like driving a car doesn’t make us a mechanic or an F1 driver, having a dog doesn’t make us all dog experts; and that’s okay! Lucky for you, there are people out there who have dedicated their lives and careers to learning all about our dogs. Professional trainers and behaviourists will have a deeper understanding of your dog’s needs and behaviours. Not only can trainers coach you through training your dog the basics, they can help you understand your new family member and resolve problem behaviours, while ensuring your pup’s needs are met. Trust us when we say that prevention is better than cure and don’t wait for problems to crop up before you seek out a professional trainer. Get yourself booked into some classes asap so you can start as you mean to go on. For details of this go to www.bestbehaviourdogtraining.co.uk

Try Kettle Training – This is one of our top tips for learning to incorporate training into your daily routine! Training a new puppy can feel daunting, and there’s no doubt that a new dog’s arrival is going to disrupt your old routine. Training sessions don’t need to be an hour, or even twenty minutes. Try training your dog when the kettle’s boiling, or while the bath’s running, etc! These odd moments throughout the day will all add up, and you and your dog will both be building good habits in the long run.

Be Consistent – Just like us, it takes our dogs time to truly learn a new skill. It doesn’t matter how much we practice a new skill during the course of one day, or one week or even one month – if we really want a lesson to stick, we need to keep at it. We don’t need to burn ourselves out doing the max we can right away, but a little consistent work over a period of time will go a long, long way. Not only that, but your new puppy is a baby! They are going through so many changes through puppyhood and adolescence – it will be at least 2 if not 3 years before you really see the mature dog you will end up with. Trust the process and keep at it – the work you are putting in down will pay off BIG time for both of you.

Be Compassionate – As we’ve said, your new friend is still just a baby right now. At the start of their journey, everything is brand new and they are going to make mistakes and struggle at times. As they get older, they will reach adolescence and this is an even more tumultuous time than puppyhood! Not only are their bodies growing and hormones racing, but their brains are actually rewiring themselves during this period of their lives. You may need to go back and revisit old skills that you thought you had down. Show your growing pup some compassion and be patient with them. You’re on the right path and you will both get through these phases, together! If you ever get stuck, speak to your trainer for advice – this is where they are best able to support you in understanding your dog and why they do the things they do!

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