Training a puppy or a dog is an important first step in your relationship. The experience is not only bonding but teaches a dog about acceptable behavior. To get started, set a goal. The most popular first lesson for any new puppy or dog is for him to learn his name.
8-Step basic puppy training
Training should be a fun, rewarding, and fulfilling experience for both of you. There are some basic steps you’ll include in any type of coaching, whether you and your puppy or dog are attempting a brand-new trick or working on basic manners.
Here is a list of the most important 8 steps to train a puppy or dog.
- Commitment: Choose a particular area that you’ll continue to use as a training-only area, somewhere you cannot be disturbed, and is relatively quiet.
- Patience: The first lesson should be something easy and fun for your puppy to learn, like his name.
- Consistency: Limit training sessions to no more than 15 minutes, and a minimum of 5-minute periods, a couple times a day.
- Determination: Keep signals and cues simple, and classes focused on one new skill. Use one word per skill learned.
- Support: Use a firm, and caring tone of voice. Do not yell or growl at your puppy or dog, only encourage him with positive direction and reinforcement.
- Praise: Reward your dog or puppy’s good behavior immediately with something he values like treats made for puppies (his puppy dog food kibble could also be used as a treat), lots of praise or his favorite toy.
- Practice: Make the most of natural training opportunities that will help a puppy practice a routine such as sitting before putting his food down. If he is very young, the time that you expect him to sit before eating shouldn’t be longer than a couple of seconds.
- Socialize: Puppies learn skills from other dogs and socializing a puppy is one of the most important stages in his development. You can take him to a dog park, sign him up for puppy playtime classes or take very short, leashed walks in an area where there are other dog walkers.
Puppy training techniques
The best method used when learning how to train a puppy or dog, and the most successful amongst professional trainers is a rewards-based, positive training technique. A reward could be many things, but most importantly, it must be something a puppy or dog values as worthy enough to do, in order to receive the reward.
Some of the best and most successfully used dog training practices are:
- Voice signals – The easiest way to teach a puppy is by using your voice. Always use a calm, but firm tone with clear instructions on what you expect. Example: Sit! Then reward him when he gets it right.
- Hand cues – Your puppy or dog will need to have a good understanding of voice commands before introducing hand cues. These types of commands are best for distance training and are often used in agility training.
- Clicker training – You can train your puppy to follow your instructions using a clicker. The sound is also distracting and will make him pay attention immediately. Clicker noise should be associated with a specific action, like learning to not jump up on you or other people. Reward him for getting it right.
- Game playing – Creating a game around training a puppy or dog could be fun for both of you. You can apply this technique to any object play, such as throwing a toy. When your puppy or dog returns it to you, reward him with a treat.
Learn more about caring for your dog