News // 11.7.21

How do I train my puppy?

Having a new puppy is a really exciting experience, and a wonderful addition to your family. For the puppy, it can be equally exciting, and even a bit overwhelming to suddenly be in a new environment with new owners, usually away from its parent and siblings. This, combined with their very young age and brain development, puppies tend to be as cheeky as they are cute. It’s not with bad intent, they are simply learning about the world around them, reacting with emotion and testing boundaries. While this is to be expected and a very normal way of being for a puppy, it’s important to instil good habits and behaviours as soon as they are developmentally ready to begin being trained; around 8 weeks of age. The best option to set you on the right path with your new puppy is to enrol in an accredited puppy class to give you all the tools you will need for puppy raising.

When to start training your puppy

Training your puppy should begin as soon as you receive your puppy, the best time to start puppy training is as close to 7 or 8 weeks as possible. For both home-training and professional puppy training, starting any earlier than this will likely not reap a lot of benefit. Your puppy’s brain development and learning capacity play a big role in the ability to retain information during any sort of training. When enrolling into a puppy school, aim to have your puppy booked in, even prior to receiving your puppy. This ensures you won’t miss out on the critical time frame that you have to get them started. The age they need to be in order to enrol is between 8-12 weeks.

How to begin training a puppy

7-8 weeks old

In these early days, you just want to start with the basics. Here, you should be allowing your puppy to explore their new home and new family members and develop some confidence in their new environment. During these first days and weeks, aim to apply management and consistency to everything to do with your puppy. Your puppy should be learning:

  • Where their food and water is

  • Appropriate play and games using toys of their own

  • Enrichment activities that they can do by themselves to start to gain independence

  • Where they sleep and their regular nap times which should be every 1.5 hours or you will have a very over tired puppy.

  • Toilet training to your designated toileting area

10 weeks old

At 10 weeks, it would be an ideal time to have already commenced training within a puppy school to start learning the correct techniques to train your dog with some commands. 

You also want to start getting your dog ready for exploring the world (or, at least, your neighbourhood), safely and stress-free. This includes:

  • Exploring new areas on lead only such as friends’ houses, neighbours houses/yards, cafes and restaurants.

  • Learning that all new people are nice and exciting by ensuring some lovely interactions with new people of all different walks of life.

  • Ensure some car rides happen for your dog during this time to get them used to travelling in a vehicle. The car rides should be quick and fun, with the radio turned off to not increase noise and stress to the puppy. 

  • Have your puppy experience new surfaces, new places and new experiences like water and baths all while making it a positive experiences. 

  • Begin training some basic commands in your home only initially to eliminate distractions that would occur outside of the house while training. 

16 weeks old

It’s time to reinforce positive walking habits with your pup. It’s not just about reining in any naughty behaviour, it’s about getting them into more purposeful walking. This just means that they are less distracted by what is going on around them, and more focused on remaining close to you, where they’re going and demonstrating the behaviours you have been teaching them in their puppy obedience training. This is:

  • Remaining calm with people, other people and other dogs/animals

  • Keeping a bit of slack in the leash

  • No barking

  • Not being excitable, aggressive or fearful.   

At this stage, your puppy should also be demonstrating calmer behaviour in the home, with other people and while around other animals. There still may be a few hiccups, but you will be well on your way to a beautifully trained dog. 

If you’re training with a puppy pre-school

Puppy preschool is perfect if you’d prefer to have a professional take the reins in training you puppy. However, while they’ll be very well versed in knowing how to pace the training and have a deep understanding in communicating with puppies of all breeds, it doesn’t take you off the hook. Typically, puppy preschools are offered over a course for 4 or 5 weeks. This means you need to reinforce the behavioural techniques at home. 

The training schedule is similar to the at-home method, however due to the experience of trainers, the pace is a lot quicker (typically it can take one month to fully train your puppy) with specialised training techniques. 

Our Allambie puppy preschool is led by our qualified trainer, Amy Smith and our head nurse, Ally Bream who are both accredited dog trainers. Puppy training is about creating a collaborative approach that sets your puppy up for success in a caring and nurturing environment, with techniques that work in everyday life. 

Talk to us today about your puppy training questions, and any enquiries about our puppy preschool

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