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Successful Puppy Training

In order to properly train your puppy, you need to know what to do and the right time to do it. Below is a list of curriculum to guide you during the first month of acquiring your pet.

Most of what a puppy learns about people, he absorbs from his owner. If the two are aligned along a harmonic pathway, the dog will learn confident and calm responses to his world that is critical to his character development.

What you need to overcome in raising and training your puppy isn’t his natural instincts; it is the nervousness caused when these instincts can’t find a harmonic expression. The reason owners run into so much trouble isn’t that dog training is hard; it’s that we spend so much time doing things that don’t work. Dog training is easy, but fixing problems born from nervousness is very hard.

Training a dog is like building a fire. You must ignite the flame of confidence and nurture it with the dry kindling of little successes. Until the fire is blazing, too big a log can’t be added, and neither can the flame be exposed to outside elements. Once the critical point is reached, any size chunk of wood can be handled and any gust of wind will serve to heighten its roar.

 Week One: During your puppy’s first week home (he should be around 8 weeks old), it is important to take him for a vet check up. Sample of his stool is checked for worms and preventive inoculations are given. Begin teaching your puppy his name from day one. Set up his eating area as well as his crate or sleeping quarters. Begin the process of housebreaking as well as collar and leash training. Watch him while he plays by himself and observe his style and personality. Play gently and enthusiastically but avoid roughhousing. Say “Ok” whenever you feed him, hand him a toy or a treat, and as you walk out the door with him.

Week Two: As you play with your puppy, gradually add simple phrases and words into the games. If he is retrieving, say “Take it “as you throw the object. Praise him when he brings the object back to you. Say “Out” as he drops it and praise him again. Continue with “Ok” during meal, for going out, with playing, housebreaking, leash training, and observing.

Week Three: During your puppy’s third week home, begin to correct him gently for nipping and for chewing on shoes, cords, and furniture. Provide a toy for him to chew instead. Even if he stays inside the house, be sure to walk him around on his leash everyday. Always use eye contact. Say “Watch me” to draw his attention to your eyes. Praise him for looking at you. This method teaches him to look to you for direction. Begin to tie his leash to your belt and have him trail around wherever you go; starting for a few minutes at a time, working up to an hour as it becomes easier. This will help him bond to you and will also help with his training.

Start teaching table manners, beginning with “No” and “Ok” for food. Initiate the “Sit” and “Stay”, working for no more than five minutes at a time this week. If you are at home most of the time, make sure that you leave him alone for short periods of time during the day to get him used to being alone. Begin to correct the stealing of food and found objects - keeping in mind that prevention is your best correction. Correct excessive barking, noise, and whining.

Week Four: Carry on with all of the above training, adding more time that he walks properly on leash. Continue practicing “No” and “Ok” with food no more than twice per week. Continue to let him explore the house under supervision, both on and off the leash. Initiate the “Come” and “Down stay” to the training program. Work with your puppy no more than fifteen minutes at a time. If he is going out, you may start teaching him to “Heel” but do it very gently. Get him used to grooming procedures such as brushing, nail clipping, and occasional baths. 

Encourage and gratify your puppy’s instincts to help him develop confidence. To maintain the fire of self-confidence and calm learning, you must add a log to the fire. Training is an ongoing process, and intermittent reinforcements are needed over the course of your dog’s life.

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