Top tips for training your new dog

Congratulations – you have a new four-legged family member!

Bringing your new puppy home for the first time can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you have never had a dog before, and trying to make heads and tails (pun intended!) of how to train it will fill you with questions.

To make life easier for both you and your new puppy, some basic training tips should be tackled straight away. But fear not; training a new puppy is actually a lot less complicated than you might think – and is a great way of really getting to know your dog.

  1. Decide (and be firm) on the “house rules”

One of the first things you should do when it comes to training is decide early on – ideally before you even bring the dog home  – what is allowed and what is not allowed around the house. Dogs, much like children, respond better to rules and routines that are firm and fixed, as it avoids confusion and uncertainty.

Things to consider here might be: Is your dog allowed onto your bed? What about other furniture? Are there some parts of the house that will be off limits? Can he sit beside the table when you eat? What about the garden? Where will he eat and sleep? Having decided all this before you bring your new puppy home will make it easier to stick to from the start, and will cause less confusion and frustration.

  1. Nip any biting in the bud

If your puppy or dog starts trying to “play bite” or nip you, discourage him in a firm, yet kind, way. Get a chew toy, and offer him this is he starts chewing on your clothing or nipping at you. If he actually tries to bite, whether just gently or an actual bite, tell him ‘no’ straight away, then stop the play or cuddles and walk away.

  1. Potty training

If you want to make sure your puppy does his business on the grass or in a certain spot outside, carry them there to begin with or make sure they get to the preferred spot before eliminating. It prevents accidents and lets your pup know where he has to go.

Be generous with positive reinforcement when they go where they are supposed to go, and give them plenty of scratches and words of encouragement.

  1. Give him his own private spot

To make your puppy feel safe and at home, make sure you set up a den or spot that he knows straight away is his. Teach him this is where he sleeps and goes to relax, and make sure he has moments throughout the day when he can go there to just chill out in the safety of his own “room.”

  1. Reward good behaviour

The easiest and most effective way of getting your puppy to do what you want him to do is to use positive reinforcement to reward good behaviour. This means dishing out treats (not too many, mind you), toys, love, and heaps of praise when he is getting things right. However, make sure you don’t ever reward him when he has done something bad – as this will confuse him.

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