When you train your puppy, make it fun with these five exercises that both you and your new dog will enjoy!
Train your puppy to heel
One of the most important things you should train your puppy to do is heel. In other words, to stay by your side when walking. Not only is this good because it means your puppy isn’t pulling on his lead, but it is also safer for the dog. An obedient heel mean they won’t risk running into the road if they see half a sandwich. Or galloping off to say hello to another dog who might not be as friendly…
Use treats as positive reinforcement when you start to train your puppy. Make sure the dog is not walking in front of you at all. If the puppy does start to drift forward, stop and tug them back, then reward once they are in the right position.
Stop puppy from barking
Some breeds are more prone to barking than others. With some dogs barking to guard their house or owner, and others barking/whining out of boredom, loneliness or hunger. Either way, no-one wants a yappy puppy. A fun way to train your puppy not to bark is actually to teach them to bark!
Encourage your puppy to bark, and give a treat when s/he responds correctly. Once this behaviour is learned, follow “bark!” + treat with “ssshh”. Once pup is silent, congratulate and repeat “ssshh” while rewarding with a treat. Your puppy will come to understand that “bark” means to make noise and “ssshh” means to stay quiet.
Making recall fun
Recall is essential for safety, and shows a dog’s respect for their owner. You need to train your puppy to understand that “Come!” means to return to you, not to keep running in the opposite direction. There might be a really interesting thing just up ahead, but your recall needs to stop your puppy in his tracks, turn him around, and have him running back to you.
Recall training can be fun! Simply use treats or your puppy’s favourite toy, and s/he’ll be desperate to get back to you. It’s important that you repeat the puppy’s name and the word “come” every time, so that the dog associates “their name” + “come” = treats/toys if they return to base. With young puppies, start recall lessons using a long 5m lead.
How to train puppy to be nice
You want your puppy to get along with all other dogs, right? Socialising a puppy from a young age (once all vaccinations are done) is essential. Take your puppy to a dog park and train them by introducing them to as many dogs as possible. Some might not be interested, some might be in a bad mood and give a snarl to say “go away kid”, and some might be even more boisterous than your own! By meeting and interacting with different dogs, yours will understand how dog hierarchy works, and learn to be polite to others when out and about. Plus, s/he gets to have fun and play!
Prevent puppy boredom
A bored puppy can lead to chewing and barking. Keep their brains stimulated (and sharp puppy teeth occupied) with fun games at home. Try putting a treat right down inside a Kong toy, so they really have to work to get it out. Or teach them “up!”, a fun game where the puppy has to jump onto something nearby (like The Floor is Lava). The advantage of “up” is that you can follow it with teaching “down”, which will come in useful when teaching your puppy not to jump up at people.