If you have finally given in to your kids non-stop asking for a puppy dog and are looking at breeds, you should first acknowledge that this is a lifetime commitment. Your new family member needs to be registered with a local vet, chipped and vaccinated; the key to having a great relationship with your dog is early training. Much like humans, dogs develop personalities and if you set out with some sound training, your dog has a better understanding of what is required.
We talked to a leading dog trainer for some essential advice.
- Be patient – Don’t expect miracles overnight, training takes time and with controlled repetition, he will eventually get the right idea. Try your best to create a rapport with your canine friend, use the reward system to encourage the right behaviour and eventually, you will develop a strong bond, with you being the boss, of course. As soon as your puppy arrives, register him with one of the vets at Inner West and the vet will administer the first set of vaccinations.
- Use doggie treats – Start with a popular brand, small chunks are preferred and always have a few in your pocket to use for positive reinforcement. Don’t overdo it; give one when he gets something right and at no other time and he will quickly get the hang of the game. A badly behaved dog is usually a confused one, a dog that doesn’t understand what is expected and treats are a great tool.
- Start with a little exercise – Rather than getting straight into the training, you should run around with the puppy for a few minutes and this will ensure that he is awake and ready to learn. There is a lot of resources online to help you with setting up your training; YouTube has hundreds of puppy training videos and that will give you the confidence you need. Click here for how to deal with fleas and ticks.
- Be consistent and habits are formed – The key to training any puppy is to be consistent, which leads to routines and routines become habits, which is what you want. Training sessions should not last longer than 15 minutes, puppies have a short attention span, much like kids, so keep the training periods short but often.
- Use enrichment toys – Chews are great for cutting teeth, while enrichment toys are rubber chews with a small space inside where you can put chews and other goodies.
There are certain legal liabilities when you raise a dog, plus the animal must be registered and chipped. With the right training, you new family member will bring you many years of enjoyment.