Dogs are known as a man’s best friend and are important members of the family. You can form a special bond with a dog that you may not get with any other living things. They have been known to be great for companionship, relieving stress, dealing with loneliness, navigating through life, protection, and enhancing moods. Despite all their good features, they can only be at their best for us when we train them. Most first-time dog owners often wonder about the best time to start training their pet and how to effectively make it do our bidding. To help you figure this out, listed below are a few pointers.
1. Start Training Them Young
The best time to start training your furry friend is from 7-8 weeks of arrival. During this period, your pup is open to basic training cues like sit, come, stay, and stand. Some people prefer to start immediately when the puppy opens its eyes. The most important thing is that you start early because when you postpone the training, you stand the risk of negatively affecting how it develops. Training your dog at a later time, say at 3-4 months, equates to retarding their development because this stage is when they would rather be independent and explorative than being receptive to taking orders.
2. Conduct Short Sessions
Puppies are analogous to a two-year-old child, they have a short attention span. They live in the moment and easily get bored. To effectively train your dog, keep the training sessions sweet and short between the range of 15-20 minutes. That way, your dog will be able to get the best out of its classes.
3. Positive Reinforcement
This is the process of encouraging good behavior by giving a reward in terms of treats, toys, cuddling, or something your pup finds rewarding. Puppies can sometimes be mischievous and engage in all sorts of naughty habits that could sometimes embarrass us. One of these habits is repetitive barking, and managing barking dogs requires a bit of tact and skill. Whenever your pet is barking incessantly, rebuke with a firm voice and give reward anytime they stop. It’s important to only give the reward whenever your pet stops barking since this will help them understand that it is unacceptable behavior.
4. Have A Consistent Approach
Train your dogs consistently for them to be able to take in their lessons. Maintain a routine and try not to switch things up often at least within the first six months. This stage is crucial for their growth and development hence they need a structured pattern. Create a daily schedule for your pup and stick to it so as to avoid confusion.
5. Set Up A Comfortable Haven
Just like humans, your dog also needs its private space. Build a doghouse or a kennel and make it as comfortable as possible. Creating a crate for your dog is necessary and they should be trained on how to enjoy staying in it. You can start off by encouraging them to stay in the crate for about 10 minutes and reward them with treats afterward. Please make the dog crate as roomy as possible so that the puppy would be able to stand and turn around; however, it shouldn’t be too big in order to prevent accidents. The best crate to purchase would be an adjustable crate of your dog’s estimated full size with a built-in divider. Buying an adjustable crate is beneficial to avoid having to constantly buy a crate as your dog grows.
6. Leash Training
Your puppy should be trained on how to be comfortable on a leash as it is both important for its safety and there are certain places as well where it is made compulsory to put a dog on a leash. You can start their leash training at eight weeks indoors for periods as short as 7-10 minutes, ensure that they get comfortable and love being on a leash (this could be done by rewarding them with treats when they are on it) before introducing them outside. Needless to say, the leash should fit them comfortably.
7. Be Patient
Training a puppy is like training a child, they are clueless about a lot of things and therefore, they all learn at a different pace. They are also prone to making mistakes and might not get most of the training on the first attempt. It is certain that the process will be challenging and frustrating because your dog is finding it difficult to communicate with you. Be rest assured, these things, although they take time and effort, will definitely be worth your while in the long run.
Training a puppy requires a lot of work, time, and money. Therefore, before you commit to getting one, ensure that you are willing to give your all. Conditioning a pup for them to be at your beck and call revolves around consistency and positive reinforcement.