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January 2024

Puppy Training Tips

Puppy Care

How To Train A Puppy: 7 Top Tips For Training Sessions

1. Use Positive Reinforcement

Dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, so praise them constantly! It helps build up their confidence and keeps training sessions fun. Something to remember about training is if you’re shouting at your dog and having a negative experience, your dog isn’t going to want to learn. So, remember to constantly reward good behaviour and keep training sessions short and fun.

2. Give High-Value Treats

Have you ever performed better when the stakes were raised? Put extra effort in when there was a coveted prize on the line? Your puppy is no different! All treats are not created equal – and it’s a good idea to have some extra high-value treats in your arsenal for training sessions. Loaf and jerky work well, but you can also use little bits of cheese, cabanossi, chicken, or steak for extra motivation. Mix up treats in a bag which is comprised of low and high value to keep your dog guessing what’s coming next and keep them engaged.

Hot Tip

Don’t forget treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s overall diet. Factor in how many treats you’re feeding your dog to calculate portions at mealtimes, and it’s advised to skip breakfast if you’re going to puppy school or plan on training during your morning walk.

3. Practice in a Calm Environment

If you encourage your puppy to listen to you at home, this will make it easier to keep your puppy’s focus when outside of home. From the moment you bring your puppy home, it’s a good idea to get them into the habit of listening to you. Incorporate this into your everyday routines by getting your puppy to sit and wait before meals, encouraging them to wait till they hear a release word (you might use ‘free’, ‘start’ or ‘eat’) to start eating.

Practice training little and often with 5-minute bursts of focus time at home to keep your puppy in the habit of listening to you without overwhelming them. It’s also a great idea to teach your puppy the ‘watch’ command. Say ‘watch’ and reward your puppy for looking at you with praise and treats. This is a great command for them to know when you’re outside of the home and there are potential hazards or undesirable distractions you want them to avoid, and if they’re trained to focus on you, it will be easier to divert their attention in busier environments.

4. Use Hand Signals

Dogs can’t always hear you – especially when you’re outside home and there’s new noises – so it’s a good idea to train your dog commands with corresponding hand signals so they can either listen to the command or respond to the action if they’re having trouble hearing you.

5. Try Crate Training

The crate is great! Crate training is an excellent training management strategy for your puppy. Your puppy will come to see their crate as their safe space. It is also beneficial as a management tool. When your puppy is with you, you can focus on monitoring their behaviour and have short bursts of training – and then you can pop them into their crate for quiet time (and know they’re not getting up to mischief while out of sight). Puppy pens also work for this.

As your puppy learns appropriate behaviour, you might start to give them free reign of the house. It’s better to do this for short periods of time, and gradually allow them to access more of the house as you’re more comfortable in their training. It’s important to remember that puppies are going to make errors and that’s ok, it’s up to us to manage it and keep our eyes on them.

6. Remember Puppy Enrichment

Don’t forget your puppy is in a crucial development stage, and they need to be both physically and mentally stimulated as they grow! If your puppy is enriched in positive ways, they’re less likely to engage in undesirable behaviour. So, ensure they’re getting plenty of exercise and play and supplement this with training and mentally stimulating toys.

7. Enroll in Puppy School

Puppy school is a great way to learn tricks and tips to train your puppy, while also stimulating them mentally and helping their little minds develop. At Petstock Puppy School, you will enter a 5-week training program, with each class consisting of a one-hour training session with different skills on offer each week. It provides excellent guidance for new owners, as these sessions can be repeated and practiced at home.

Puppy School

Level 1: What Will They Learn

Level 1 of Petstock Puppy School seeks to expand on the basics taught in puppy pre-school and offer more advanced skills for you to train your puppy. Stay, advanced target training, using marker words, recall and party tricks are all part of the level 1 course.

You will also get further training in best practice training techniques – from how to motivate your puppy, to how to keep them calm and how to encourage engagement.

Level 2: What Will They Learn

Level 2 of Puppy School offers more advanced training – and puppies will need to have completed level 1 to undertake it. The lessons focus on useful skills which you can build up at home – including distance control, nosework training, precision heelwork and other advanced skills and tricks.

Active puppies will thrive on the challenges that Level 2 training offers, and it’s a brilliant opportunity for owners to put their puppies mind to good use (and give them something constructive to work towards, which is beneficial in avoiding unwanted behaviours.

Petstock Puppy School

What to get your best mate started on the right paw? Head to our Puppy School page to find out more

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FAQs For Correcting Common Unwanted Puppy Behaviours

How do I stop my puppy from jumping up?

First off, it’s important not to reinforce the behaviour by giving them attention when they jump up without being given a cue to do so. If they run to greet you and are jumping up, wait until they’ve stopped to give them praise and attention.

Secondly, it’s important to remember your dog is engaging in this behaviour because they enjoy it – you don’t need to prevent it completely, rather it’s better to put management in place so they’re not doing it constantly or at inappropriate times. Instead, train your puppy to jump on cue. You can do this by using the command ‘jump’ when they jump and give them treats and praise for jumping on cue.

Simultaneously, train your puppy to greet you (and guests) calming while all their paws remain on the ground. Pop them in their crate or behind a pen that’s in a separate area of the house. Have plenty of treats on hand and practice letting them out of their crate or pen, rewarding them for calm behaviour.

How do I stop my puppy from chewing?

Chewing is a normal puppy behaviour! You don’t need to prevent it, rather it’s better to manage the behaviour and redirect their chewing focus to appropriate objects.

Next time you spot your puppy attempting to chew something they shouldn’t, direct their focus to treat-dispensing toys. You can fill them with food and freeze them to make them more exciting for your puppy.

They’re also a great tool when you’re leaving the house, as it will occupy your puppy and re-direct their focus away from you leaving.

Always supervise your puppy the first few times you give them a chew toy and monitor their behaviour to ensure they’re chewing it safely and aren’t shredding or ingesting it. Never leave a puppy (or dog) with a chew toy unless you’re confident of their chewing strength.

How to stop my puppy from pulling on lead when they see other dogs?

Firstly, you need to start off by teaching your puppy the ‘watch’ command. When you say ‘watch’, you’re going to want to pull your puppy’s focus away from distractions and towards you (giving them plenty of praise and treats when they do this).

Then, when you go for walks and come across other dogs, you’ll tell you puppy to ‘watch’ you and focus on you – not the other dog. You may need to start doing this from quite far away at first, gradually closing the distance required to keep your puppy’s focus on you rather than distractions.

Then, when you know the dog or the situation is appropriate, you can allow your puppy to approach other dogs calmly for a play.


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