Teaching A Young Dog New Tricks: Puppy Training 101
Puppies are more than adorable sources of endless entertainment. They’re also little engines of cuddly chaos. So if you’re freaking out, don’t sweat it. You’re not alone. We’ve even compiled some tips to help get you through the first few months of what will surely be a wonderful friendship.
CONTROL THE ENVIRONMENT
Everything is new to your pup, so they’ll try to explore it, mostly by putting it in their mouth. Which is fine for their chew toy, but not so good for your mid-century modern coffee table. The solution? Choose carefully what your puppy has access to. Use a playpen, child gates or simply tether them to you. Remember: If they can’t reach it, they can’t chew it. Or pee on it.
Dogs aren’t born knowing what “sit” or “heel” mean. Or how to walk on a leash. Or how to communicate with you. You need to teach them all of that, and you do it by consistently reinforcing the good and ignoring the bad. The more reliable you are with your puppy, the faster you two will build up trust, aka the basis of understanding.
TIRE THEM OUT
A sleeping puppy is a well-behaved puppy. And an awake puppy is likely doing something it shouldn’t. While we don’t recommend coaxing them into naps all day every day, we do encourage you to help them get their nervous energy out. To help your puppy settle and learn, make sure they get plenty of exercise, especially before training. This can include running around the yard, learning fetch and playing with other dogs (after they’ve had their immunizations, of course).
TREAT THEM WELL
Puppy metabolisms run hot. So you can get away with giving them more rewards— which is lucky, because that’s the simplest way to reinforce good behavior. Try something craveable like our Skinny Minis® Apple Bacon flavor. There are very few things a pup won’t do for one of them. Us too, TBH.
PLAY THE LONG GAME
Training a puppy takes time. Sometimes they take two steps back before they can take one forward. So make like Philly and trust the process. Go easy on yourself! Your pup will soon be a well-behaved adult and you’ll be looking through old photos wishing you could do it all again.
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