5 Helpful Puppy Training Trends!

This year, we’ve seen changes far and wide, including the puppy training industry! Here are our favorite trends we’re seeing and doing ourselves with all the new “pandemic pups”!

This year has brought on new lifestyle changes for all of us and as a result, some of the ways we’ve been training our puppies have had to shift as well! With more puppies being adopted because families are home more, plus with fewer interactions puppies are having with other people and dogs due to social distancing, it’s a whole new landscape for everyone to get adjusted to! At our training center in Willow, Alaska and with our online puppy training students all over the United States, we’ve seen an increase in specific areas new puppy owners need help with now more than ever before.

So what are those puppy training trends? We’ve compiled our top five puppy training trends from this year that can make a major positive impact on your puppy’s life!

1. Teaching Puppy Handling 

One area puppies in general are getting less experience with, largely due to social distancing rules, is meeting new people. And since part of your pup’s future interactions will involve veterinarian visits, regular grooming and cleaning, and interactions with other people, all of which involve some form of physical contact, it’s essential to get your puppy familiarized with others handling them as soon as possible! Teaching your puppy to be comfortable with having their paws, tail, ears, eyes, muzzle, and mouth touched can significantly lessen the chance of them growing up to feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even totally dislike being touched.

While we might be inclined to think that just starting your puppy from a young age with those interactions will ensure they are comfortable with being handled, that’s not necessarily true. The goal of teaching them is to start in slow increments and gradually increase their exposure over time and feel totally comfortable. By immediately immersing your puppy in an experience, you can run the risk of creating a negative experience and association that can be much harder to reverse as your puppy grows and can even cause more anxiety. 

We cover puppy handling 101 at school and in our online puppy school course but if you’re interested in learning the correct ways to handle your puppy, build up their confidence, and clean them yourself schedule a call today.

2. “Place” Command: Teaching Your Puppy to be Calm and Settle

Place has always been our (and our puppy owners’) most favorite command, but now it’s become even more useful at home — especially for everyone working from home and even homeschooling the kids!

Introducing Place command to your puppy’s skill set is essentially teaching your puppy how to be calm on command in a specific spot for a duration of time. So while you’re busy with zoom meetings and school lessons, your puppy can essentially be relaxing in their spot nearby instead of doing all sorts of other, probably less desirable things!

Getting your pup to stay on Place for longer durations takes some time to build up to, so take your time with it and practice daily to make it a habit. In the beginning, using a leash, rewarding periodically with your puppy’s food, and giving them something to do on Place, like chewing on a special toy or chew stick while you’re supervising them, can help encourage your puppy to spend longer time spans on their specific Place.

3. Switching to Online Puppy Training

Perhaps one of the newest and biggest changes in recent years, especially in 2020 with the quarantine, is the switch from traditional in-person puppy training to online puppy training. Suddenly, there was a boom of puppy adoptions and a huge demand for an adapted virtual puppy help to train a new generation of puppies that couldn’t attend physical facilities or work in-person with trainers.

The benefits of online puppy training for puppy owners span well beyond lack of in-person training availability. Puppy owners can train their puppy right from home with zero commute time. In our online puppy school, our trainers are able to interact with an entire class demonstrating in real-time how to perform certain puppy training techniques, and work one-on-one with owners right in their own home through screen-sharing. Some added bonuses: puppies don’t run the risk of being over-stimulated and distracted by other people and puppies, and they’re working in a place they are already comfortable in, which helps their training! 

What we love most about online training is our ability to extend what we do at our center in Willow, Alaska to other puppy owners all over the country, while still working intimately with them. We get our puppy owners seeing amazing results quickly and are able to offer all this comprehensive puppy training at a cost-friendly rate that can fit many budgets.

If you are interested in learning more, read about online puppy training benefits, and check out our online puppy training course!

4. Using Puppy Training as a Playtime Activity

Playtime doesn’t just have to be about getting your pup’s excess energy out and running amok, it can also be a great opportunity to enforce basic obedience commands and practice training routines, plus strengthen the bond between the two of you!

Especially now with more of the workforce telecommuting from home, using these ample opportunities to play with your puppy in a structured way will not only enhance their training skills, but lead to an even more well-mannered puppy! Introducing training routines that combine commands like Come, Sit, Stay and release with “okay!” for example followed up with a high-value reward, really help your puppy perfect listening to you and to a variety of commands in different sequences. Other games like hide and seek are great for stimulating your pup’s brainpower too by having them seek you out from around the house! 

Most importantly, adding a training session during playtime is a great way for you to build on your relationship. As your pup’s new owner, they will look up to you for guidance, leadership, and security. While puppy training helps establish a clear line of communication, it’s the bond between the two of you that will ensure your puppy wants to listen to you!

5. Emphasis on Addressing Separation Anxiety

The most common trend we’ve seen this year with more people working from home, hands down, is an increase in separation anxiety in puppies. Working from home poses plenty of benefits. Quality time with your new puppy is invaluable but with consistent attention and company, many puppies aren’t learning how to be left alone. This may not seem like a problem initially, but as everyday life starts reshifting to more activities opening back up and families going back to work and school, inevitably there will be times in the near future that our puppies will need to be alone. Without being taught how to be alone, your puppy’s anxieties can manifest in barking, crying, howling, chewing, and destructive behaviors when you do need to leave them.

Being proactive about this and starting to give your puppy some alone time throughout the day by letting them hang out in another room away from you, as well as leaving the house without them, even for short periods of time, can help immensely with this transition and save your puppy (and you!) from more stress later on!

For more help with this, we go into detail in our how to train your puppy to be home alone blog so if you’re currently dealing with your pup’s separation anxiety at home, or want to prevent it, give it a read!

With the changes this year has brought to us, we know that these puppy training trends are here to stay! But we also know that by working on each of these areas, our “pandemic pups” of today will be able to still grow up to be well-rounded adult dogs ready to take on the world when it’s ready for us again!


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