Daily dog training time
There is no set amount of time for training your dog every day. As a general guide, you should aim for approximately 10-15 minutes of training per day if you want the training to be effective.
It’s not necessary to train your dog for a full 10 or 15 minutes consecutively. If your puppy seems to learn better in short bursts, then do what works for them. As long as it’s enjoyable and not stressful, your dog will love spending time with you.
It’s been proven time and again that animals learn best from positive reinforcement. Be sure to never get angry with your pet if they aren’t responding in the way you want them. Being firm but patient will get you the best results.
You can start to train your puppy as soon as they come home. Training a puppy is similar to teaching a toddler. You have to do it for short periods when they’re in the mood for learning, and you have to repeat it constantly.
Like toddlers, they absorb information like a sponge. They learn from the tone of your voice, they way that you point at things, and when you reward them. A dog desires praise and attention from their owner, and they will soon realise what actions result in these outcomes.
Remember that puppies have extremely short attention spans and won’t be able to concentrate for long periods of time. There are a number of different methods of training your dog with food, and these can be done in short spaces of time
According to a recent survey, the majority of dog owners believe that their dog is more well behaved than other dogs. It could be our natural biases kicking in, but it raises an interesting point. Training your dog is one of the best gifts that you can give them, and it will have lifelong impact.
If you’re still finding it difficult to train your puppy and you’re interested in finding out more about training collars for dogs, check out our buying guide here.
How to begin training a new puppy
There is so much advice out there about the best way to train a new puppy. While some of it can be really helpful, the more how-to articles you read, the more confused you can become!
Above all, remember that you and your little puppy are going to be companions for (hopefully) a long time. The lessons you teach them now will last for years, so it’s definitely worth spending time building good habits.
Don’t be in a rush to teach them every command or trick that has ever existed. That’s a good way to get burned out. Approach the training process with an open mind and relatively low expectations.
· Use food lure training
The first thing you will notice about your puppy is that they are extremely motivated by food and treats. This is great for you as a new full-time dog trainer!
Show the puppy what you want them to do by giving them a command, and then moving the treat so that they do it automatically. For example, if you instruct the puppy to ‘come,’ try holding out the food at a distance so that they walk towards it.
Similarly, for commands like ‘heel,’ it’s a good idea to say the command and hold the treat at thigh or heel height as you’re walking.
It may seem strange at first, and it might seem as though they’re not even really understanding why they’re being rewarded! But stick with it and you’ll start to see results. Pretty soon you won’t need to provide treats every time.
· Coming when called
If you’ve ever been in a park while someone let their new puppy off the leash for the first time, you’ll understand the value of teaching a dog to ‘come.’
Frantically running after your dog to get them to return to you while they tear around, oblivious to your panic, is probably one step in the dog ownership manual you want to skip.
Follow the below steps to teach your dog how to come.
a) When playing with your puppy, repeat their name or the word ‘come’ and drop a treat every time you say it
b) Then move away from them, place a treat on the floor, and repeat the process
c) When you can get your dog to look up when you say their name, provide a treat to reinforce this behaviour
d) Remember to praise them in a way that they find enjoyable whenever they respond to their name or the ‘come’ command
· Loose-leash walking
This type of training is very important to do consistently. If you want your dog to be able to walk with you in a well-behaved way, it’s going to take quite a lot of training to be able to get there, but it is possible.
The steps below outline how to get your puppy to walk beside you in the way you want:
a) Get your puppy used to their new leash by letting them smell it before you go out for a walk
b) Try it on them at home and once they’ve been out a few times, make it a fun part of your walking routine
c) Give them plenty of treats if they are resistant to wearing it
d) Stand still with your puppy on the leash beside you and give them more treats for standing still
e) Step forward and when they follow you, give them some more treats
f) Repeat the process and take the pace of your puppy’s learning into account
g) If they start to walk ahead of you, walk in the opposite direction, call them and provide a treat when they return
Eventually, with enough consistent training, your puppy will be walking beside you, at your pace. Success!
· Teaching your puppy to sit
One of the most common commands for a dog to learn, this one is definitely not the easiest one to teach to your new canine companion. There could be a few reasons for this. One reason could be that your dog doesn’t understand what you want from them.
The following steps should work for the majority of puppies:
a) Don’t push your dog into a sitting position because it could be confusing or stressful for them
b) Hold a treat in front of your puppy. Ask them to sit, praise them verbally and then give them a treat
c) Wait until they stand up again and repeat the process, saying the word ‘sit’ as they are sitting down
d) Alternatively, place a treat above your puppy’s nose and move it back over their head so that they have to sit back in order to reach it
e) When they are seated, give them the seat
f) Repeat this a few times with the treat, and then without
g) Eventually, you will be able to do this with a hand signal and the word ‘sit’
Just like that, you’re a magician!
Training your puppy can be fun!
Who knew that training your dog doesn’t have to be a stressful experience? As we’ve seen, there are a number of methods you can use to train your cute new canine companion.
If you have ever felt frustrated or demotivated by puppy training – don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel annoyed with the process, but there are a number of mistakes that you should avoid making when training your puppy. Remember though, you’re the adult, and the puppy has slightly less cognitive understanding than a toddler, so it’s not fair to get cross with them.
The best way to teach your dog some desirable behaviours is through patient, calm, and loving instruction. Take your time, don’t rush through the steps, and above all, have fun with it!