Training and socializing a new puppy are vital. We attended some classes across Toronto for our doumentary episode on puppies and to find out how to train your puppy best.
Margaret Pender, Owner, Trainer and Behaviour Counsellor of one of our favorite training facilities –DogGone Right! – is an expert at training Puppies. She has 7 Golden Rules of Puppy Training.
7 Golden Rules of Puppy Training from Margaret Pender
- First things first –Keep it FUN!! Negativity will only harm the relationship with your puppy and can teach them that learning new things is not fun for them. Praise your puppy when they are doing something you want rather than focusing on when they are doing something you don’t like.
- Set yourself and your puppy up for success. Until you are sure your puppy will respond with reliability, do not work in highly distracting or difficult areas. Start off teaching your puppy a new skill without distractions and once your puppy has reliably learned the skill, introduce distractions slowly.
- Practice, practice, practice! Work your training sessions in to your everyday schedule. It is much easier to teach your puppy to ‘sit’ if you ask them to ‘sit’ before every meal – that’s 3 times per day already accounted for!
- Keep training sessions short. Think about it this way – if you are watching a one hour television program and you train your puppy only during commercials, by the end of the program you have worked with your puppy for approximately 15-20 minutes. How easy is that!
- Work at your puppy’s pace. Some puppies or dogs require a little more time to figure out exactly what you want, so don’t expect them to understand immediately. If your puppy seems to be struggling or having a difficult time with one aspect of their training, spend more not less time practicing the particular exercise.
- Increase difficulty levels for exercises gradually, in small increments. Pushing your puppy or dog for the end result without practicing and increasing the criteria gradually will only confuse your puppy and frustrate both of you!
- Use a clicker when teaching your puppy a new behaviour. Clickers can be very useful tools. When used appropriately they keep the association to rewards strong.
DogGone Right! Inc was founded by talented head trainer and behaviour consultant, Margaret Pender in 2004. It began as an in-home private training, dog walking and home boarding service and has matured into a full-time pet dog obedience training and behaviour counselling service.