Written by Amber Aquart, Certified Dog Trainer
4 Puppy Training Tips in Honor of National Puppy Day
Puppies are absolutely adorable, but they can also be quite the handful. Training and raising a puppy takes a lot of consistency and patience. Luckily, certified Dog Trainer and Pet Lifestyle Expert, Amber Aquart, has shared some of her Top Tips for raising a well-trained puppy!
Training Tip #1: Management (Prevent unwanted behaviors)
Crate Training is one of the best ways to set your puppy up for success and prevent unwanted behaviors. Teach your puppy from an early age to settle in their crate or play pen by making it a positive experience. Be sure they have plenty of things to occupy themselves with, like safe chews and toys. Make sure the crate is large enough for the puppy to be able to comfortably lie down, stand up and circle around; the crate should also grow with the puppy – this is especially important for larger breeds. A crate should never be used as punishment, and your puppy should have plenty of time to get used to going in their crate. Use the crate or a puppy play pen when you’re unable to keep an eye on your puppy. Once your puppy starts becoming more reliable in the house, you can start giving them more freedom. Try to keep your puppy on a schedule. Puppies need to go potty every few hours but if they just drank an entire bowl of water, they will have to go much sooner. Keeping your puppy on a feeding/potty/playtime routine will help you anticipate when they will need to go.
Tell your puppy the cue “Go Potty” or “Get Busy” each time you take them out. Follow this with a reward, like Carnivore Crunch when they finish. This can eventually teach your puppy to go on cue!
Training Tip #2: Socialization (Take your puppy out!)
Socialization includes introducing your puppy to a wide variety of objects, people, and places while making sure they have positive experiences. In order to keep the experiences positive, it’s important to never pressure your puppy into a situation that they are uncomfortable in. Puppies go through several fear periods and it’s important to take action to help them through it. Take treats with you wherever you take your puppy and encourage them to interact with or simply hang out around new things and places. Playing the “Go find it!” game is a great way to help boost your puppy’s confidence.
“Go Find It”
Tell your puppy “go find it!” and then toss a treat on the floor (encourage them to get the treat if they’re hesitant).
As soon as they eat the treat, call your puppy’s attention to you.
Once your puppy looks up at you, tell them “Good!” and hand them a treat.
This fun and simple game will help your puppy’s confidence in new areas and also improve their focus and attention on you!
Training Tip #3: Attention and Relationship Building
Teaching your puppy to focus on you is a fundamental element of training. If your puppy learns to focus on you and look to you at a young age, this will help them with distractions in training later on. Everywhere you go, encourage your puppy to look to you, and be sure to reward them with a treat any time they offer attention. This will help your puppy learn that you are better than anything else in their world, which will help your training in the future.
Training Tip #4: Building Skills and Cues
Not sure where to start when teaching your puppy a new cue? Here are a few tricks to help you get started on the right paw.
Show your puppy a treat and slowly lift the treat up towards your face while saying the word “Focus”. As soon as your puppy looks up at your face, tell them “Good!” and then hand them the treat. As they improve, you can increase the amount of time you ask for eye contact. This trick does wonders when working on your puppy’s attention skills!
Show your puppy a tasty treat like the Single Ingredient treats, let them taste and nibble on it, and slowly lift it above your puppy’s head. Most puppies will eventually lean backwards into a sit position. As soon as they sit, tell them “Good!” and give them the treat.
With your puppy in a sit position, let your puppy continue nibbling on the treat. Slowly move the treat towards your puppy’s front paws and down towards their chest. As soon as your puppy bends down and lies on the floor, tell them “Good!” and reward with a treat.
When your puppy is sitting, let them taste a treat and then move the treat under your puppy’s chin. Most puppies will try to paw at your hand to move the treat where they can see it. If your puppy does this, tell them “Good!” and reward.
People usually start off by teaching their puppy to “Sit” or “Shake”, but are unaware of one of the most important skills to teach—Auto Settle. Teaching your puppy to “settle” automatically will not only keep you sane, but it will teach your puppy patience.
Whenever your puppy relaxes or simply remains calm by your side, surprise your puppy with a reward. Teach them that the more often they take breaks and “do nothing” the more attention and rewards they will get! This important skill will help you properly manage your puppy in the future and shape them into a well-rounded and attentive family member.
Raising a puppy is hard work, but it’s well worth it! We hope that you enjoyed reading and learned a few things about how to raise your pup.
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About The Author
Amber Oliver Aquart is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Studio Animal Trainer, Pet Lifestyle Expert and Influencer. Amber and her two talented rescue mutts, Tucker & Oakley, have been featured on Animal Planet, and in several films and productions. Amber created Pawsitive Development to help educate and inspire others to develop a better relationship with their dogs through positive-relationship based tips and techniques.
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Amber Oliver Aquart was paid for her time, but all opinions remain her own.