Top tips to train your new puppy
If you were so glued to BBC2’s Six Puppies and Us that you are thinking of getting a four-legged friend of your own, you’ll know you have to be ready for all the training. The TV show, which tracked the pups from being picked up by their new owners through to being six months old, showed all the terrible traits that the new additions could have.
We all watched in horror as dogs – from tiny fluffy poogles to large, leggy labradoodles – peed in the corners of rooms, nipped their owners and leapt up and knocked children over. But the show did demonstrate that all the mutts could all learn to be well behaved with the right training and a lot of patience, and you can start their lessons as soon as you bring them home.
Here are some top tips for your pup’s first training sessions from dog food firm Pedigree:
– Teach your pup to come when called. This is the command to be mastered first and foremost. And since he or she will be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. Get on your pet’s level and tell him to come using his name. When he does, make a big deal and reward him with a treat.
– Take care of the jump up. Puppies love to jump up in greeting. Don’t reprimand him, just ignore his behaviour and wait until he settles down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behaviour by patting your dog when he’s in a ‘jumping up’ position.
– Discourage him from nipping. Instead of scolding him, pretend that you’re in great pain when he nips you. He’ll be so surprised he’s likely to stop immediately. If this doesn’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or trouser leg.
And here are some suggestions of handy items that will help to train your puppy…
– Toilet training is bound to be any new owner’s first concern. Try Training Pads Puppy (from £4.50 for seven, petsathome.com) – the scented pad encourages your puppy to relieve itself on the pad rather than on your floor. The pad can then be gradually moved outside, so your dog knows where to go!
– To help your new arrival get used to being on a lead, try Clix Puppy House Line (£3.79, companyofanimals.co.uk). A dog lead with a difference, it’s designed to be used indoors to stop jumping up, chewing, digging and chasing.
– As soon as your pup has had all its injections and it’s time to go out on the street and meet other dogs, a Halti Training Lead (from £7.99, companyofanimals.co.uk) may be just what you need. It is perfect for controlling larger pups as it stops them pulling.
– To stop your naughty pup from chewing your best furniture, spray your table or sofa legs with Bob Martin Puppy Chew Stop (£3.29, petsathome.com). The bitter taste will deter your dog from doing it again.
– Make sure you reward your dog whenever it does something right. Coachies Puppy Training Treats (from £1.19, companyofanimals.co.uk) are a delicious mini motivator. And as they are low calorie, you don’t have to worry about how many you hand out to reinforce good behaviour.
– You can also pop Coachies inside a Nina Ottosson Pyramid (from £7.49, companyofanimals.co.uk). The toy is designed to occupy and stimulate playful puppies by releasing a treat each time the pyramid is knocked.
With consistent training, you’ll have a very good doggie when he’s fully grown.