Puppy training and play
Three reasons to train your puppy
It’s good for their physical and mental wellbeing
Training helps your puppy to cope with unfamiliar experiences and helps to prevent fear of meeting new people, so they may be more comfortable in social situations. Building training into your pet’s playtime also makes use of all that extra energy and keeps them happy and healthy.
You can spend some quality time together
Dogs are social animals and love being by your side. Training provides a perfect opportunity to understand your puppy's temperament, have fun together and build a bond.
Trained puppies are well-behaved puppies
Even a little training can make your puppy much easier to live with. So, whether they are left on their own at home or joining in the fun at a family get-together, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that they will be friendly, obedient and fun to be around.
Dogs are by nature pack animals. So, spending hours alone at home may be stressful for your puppy. This abandonment "anxiety" can lead to chewing, soiling and barking. That’s why it’s important to prepare your puppy for spending time on their own.
Puppy training tips
Puppies can learn very quickly and enjoy a well-designed training session. Here are a few tips to help you keep your sessions fun and make sure you and your puppy get the most out of every exercise.
Letting your puppy know that they have done something right is an important part of the training process. Try using a low-calorie snack, a healthy treat or use kibble from their daily food portion. Other non-food related rewards can be praise, attention or their favourite toy. All of these will act as an incentive to repeat good behaviour.
Training sessions don’t have to be complicated or last for hours. After a while, your puppy’s attention may start to wander. So, go for short, frequent training sessions. You may have to repeat the same session a few times.
Puppy schools are a great way to introduce your pet to new skills and get professional training advice. This experience will help socialize your puppy and encourage them to get used to being around other people and dogs.
In the early months of life, your puppy’s brain is constantly growing and developing. That’s why starting training early, when they are most receptive to new experiences, is so important.
To help your puppy understand, it’s vital to be consistent. You shouldn’t allow something one day that you don't allow on another day, for example. When it comes to training, the best approach is always to use the same words for the same commands, and encourage family members to use the same language.
How to house train your puppy
Teaching your puppy the basics
Training your puppy to understand a basic set of everyday commands can make them more comfortable in social situations and easier to handle. It can also keep them safe in busy or dangerous places, so you can confidently take them anywhere and meet anyone. The following tabs cover some of the essential everyday commands you will need:
How to train your puppy to sit
Begin by holding a dog treat in front of your dog's nose. Lift the treat over the top of your dog's head to encourage them into a sitting position. As your dog lifts their head to follow the treat, they should naturally sit. Reward your dog for their good behaviour.
Repeat these steps several times a day until your dog understands. After this, continue to use the hand gesture and gradually remove the treat. Once your dog reliably sits, you can introduce a verbal cue at the same time.
How to train your puppy to lie down
Once your puppy knows how to sit, you can teach them to lie down, by holding a treat, lowering it between their front paws and pulling it away from them. When they lie down, reward them for their good behaviour. Again, continue to repeat this action, slowly phasing out the treat, until your puppy is able to complete the action in any given situation.
When you are confident your puppy can complete the action reliably, you can start to associate a verbal action with the command too.
How to train your puppy to wait
Start by getting your dog to sit using a hand gesture and saying the word "Sit". Put your hand in front of you, palm forward, as you say “Stay”
Wait a couple of seconds, then reward your dog for their good behaviour. Now repeat the exercise. Ask your dog to "Sit", but this time step back with the palm of your hand facing your dog and give the “Stay” command. Wait for three seconds then step forward and reward your dog.
Repeat these steps gradually increasing how far you step back, giving your dog a reward every time they stay. Don't forget to "release" your dog at the end of every exercise by encouraging them to get up again. You’ll find that you’ll get better results with frequent sessions of several minutes.
How to train your puppy to come to you
Puppies aren’t the most focused animals, so it’s best to run their training sessions in an enclosed area with very few distractions. Start by letting your puppy wander off, then crouch down, open your arms out and use an excited tone of voice to call their name followed by the command word.
When they arrive give them lots of praise and reward them with a treat. Then, give them another treat while you clip a leash on their collar. Once they’ve finished the treat, unclip the leash, stand up and walk away. Now repeat the process from the start.
Practise every day for a few weeks, keeping the sessions short. Make sure you practise in different situations, always with the safety of your dog in mind.
How to train your puppy to heel
Start by getting your dog to sit. Put a treat in your hand and hold it at the level of your dog's chin. Then walk forward briskly and say "heel".
As your dog is about to catch up, stop walking and get them to sit. Now, reward your dog for their good behaviour. Repeat these steps for several minutes or until your dog gets tired.
Practise whenever you get an opportunity. Heel walking is an advanced behaviour for a dog so you'll get the best results if you carry out frequent training sessions over a number of months.
How to continue your puppy’s training
Crate training a puppy
Crate training is a safe and simple way to introduce your puppy to living in your home and prevent unwanted behaviour like chewing or soiling.Crate training your puppy
Playing with your puppy
Why is playtime so important for puppies?
Play is an important part of their development. Playing with toys and interacting with you on a daily basis helps them to understand some of the basic rules they will need to become a happy, well-adjusted adult dog. Playtime also helps your pet:
Which toys are best for puppies?
Choose toys that stimulate their curiosity, encourage them to move, or introduce new tastes and textures.
Rubber toys allow your puppy to chew.
Interactive toys that contain treats help to keep your puppy stimulated.
Puzzle feeders to slow down eating.
Tips for your puppy’s playtime
Choose appropriate toys
Only choose toys that are the appropriate size for your puppy’s mouth to prevent swallowing. Make sure they're durable and check regularly for tears
Regular play sessions
Dedicate at least two play sessions with your puppy each day, combined with training sessions to maximize fun and learning
If your puppy bites, stop playing and allow them to calm down
Avoid slippery floors
Choose a room without a slippery floor, so your puppy doesn’t injure themselves
How to socialize a puppy
Socialization is one of the most important steps in ensuring your puppy grows into a well-adjusted, confident adult. It's never too early to start gently introducing your pet to new experiences, people and animals.Socializing your puppy