14 common puppy training questions

14 Common Puppy Training Questions

You don’t have to take your new dog to puppy training classes for obedience training. With a little patience and a pocketful of treats, you can teach your puppy good habits and training commands at the dog park or in your own backyard. Consider the following answers to common puppy training questions to learn some basic training tips.

1. How Do I Pick the Right Puppy for Me?

There’s no right or wrong way to find a new puppy. What’s important is finding the dog that’s right for you. When deciding what breed to get, consider your living situation, lifestyle, and energy level. Do you live in an apartment or a house? Do you have a backyard? Do you have enough free time to train a puppy properly? Will you be able to provide an energetic dog with the long walks they need? Are you an active and adventurous person or a homebody? You should also take your budget into account when making this decision. Can you afford the comparatively high costs of buying a dog from a breeder? Can you afford to feed a dog with special dietary needs? Next, do research to figure out which breed suits your lifestyle. Note the personality traits, history, and activity level of the breeds you like. Select the one that best suits your lifestyle and budget.

2. What Is Puppy Socialization?

Socialization is the process of introducing your puppy to new sounds, smells, people, and objects to help them become comfortable in new situations. The best time to socialize a dog is during puppyhood when they’re between three to 20 weeks old. During this socialization window, your dog is naturally more curious and open to new experiences. You can also socialize an adult dog or older dog, but it is a slower process—you have to break bad habits and combat anxiety and fear.

3. How Can I Socialize My Puppy?

There are various strategies for puppy socialization: introducing them to new people and family members, discouraging nipping, and exposing them to loud noises, new environments, or unfamiliar situations. To best socialize your puppy, think of the things they’ll commonly encounter as they age (for instance, noisy children or other dogs). Make sure that your puppy acclimates to those experiences when they’re young.

4. When Can I Start Training My Puppy?

You can begin housebreaking training when your puppy is eight weeks old. You can start teaching your dog obedience commands when they are around four to five months old.

5. What’s the Best Method for Puppy Training?

Operant conditioning, which relies on rewards and positive reinforcement rather than punishment, is the current preferred training method for puppies. In operant training, dogs are coaxed into the desired behaviors through an incentive, usually a treat, and quickly rewarded when they perform successfully or display good behavior. This contrasts with compulsive training—which was the dominant method of dog training for decades—in which the trainer would often physically place the dog into the desired posture. When the dog misbehaved, positive punishment, like a strong jerk on the leash, was employed.

6. What Is Clicker Training?

Clicker training is a training method that involves holding and clicking a training clicker during sessions with your dog. Training clickers emit a distinctive clicking sound when pressed. By triggering a click while simultaneously teaching a technique or offering a treat, you can condition your dog to associate the sound with the command or reward. This, in turn, can help reinforce their training. Clickers can be especially useful for the come command.

7. What Commands Should I Teach My Puppy?

There are seven basic commands you can use as a foundation for other commands and training techniques: sit, down, stay, no, off, come, and heel.

8. What Is the First Command I Should Teach My Puppy?

When training a puppy, there’s no set order for teaching training commands. However, sit is a great command to start with since it provides a strong foundation and offers a natural transition to the other basic training commands.

9. How Often Should I Work on Commands With My Puppy?

To teach your dog basic training commands like sit, stay, and down, you’ll need to train consistently for short periods—three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes (puppies have short attention spans). Once your puppy learns each command, resist the urge to stop training sessions altogether. Routine training sessions are a good way to build trust and reinforce the commands with your puppy.

10. When’s the Best Time to Teach My Puppy Commands?

There are two times when training is most effective: when your puppy’s energy is stable (they’re not too excited or tired) and when they’re hungry (they’ll be extra focused on your treats). The best time to train is in the morning or right before mealtime.

11. Why Is My Puppy Barking All the Time?

Barking is a natural instinct that all dogs have—they’re typically barking at something they perceive as a threat. You’re never going to get your dog to stop barking altogether; your goal is to get them to stop barking on command. To do this, you’ll need a bottle filled with coins and some dog treats. When your dog barks excessively, say “quiet,” shake the penny bottle, and say “quiet” again. As the days go by, shake the bottle less and less and rely more on the verbal command. When your dog stops barking, treat them. Keep several penny bottles around the house in key areas where excessive barking is common: one by the front door, one in the kitchen, one by the couch, etc.

12. Is My Puppy Ready for off-Leash Training?

If your puppy has learned the come command, they may be ready for off-leash training. However, off-leash training doesn’t work for all dogs; there are some instincts that no amount of training can overcome. If you’re considering removing the leash, have a professional trainer evaluate your dog to make sure they’re a candidate for that style of training.

13. Is Crate Training Necessary?

You don’t need to crate train your puppy, but it does help significantly when trying to housetrain them. To use a kennel when housetraining, you’ll employ the “housetraining triangle” (crate to outside to inside to crate again). This triangle consists of taking your puppy outside to do their business, bringing them inside for an hour of free time, and then crating them for around three hours. After about three hours in the crate, head back outside and repeat the process. This training method will help strengthen your dog’s bladder. As your dog progresses, add on to their playtime and subtract from time in the crate (about 15 to 20 minutes each day). Eventually, you can decide to no longer crate them at all.

14. What Should I Do If My Puppy Has an Indoor Accident?

Housetraining can be difficult, but if your puppy does go in the house, there’s a simple and effective way to discourage this behavior: Leash them to some kind of anchor—a chair, a table, a cinder block—beside the site of the accident, and leave them there for about 20 to 30 minutes. Dogs don’t want to hang around their own business, and your puppy will be discouraged from doing it again.

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