How to Train a New Puppy to Do What You Want

Naughty puppy in need of training

Do you wonder how to train a new puppy? There are many things you'll want to teach your new pooch. Follow these puppy training suggestions to get your training efforts off to the right start!

5 Steps for Housebreaking

1. Select a Training Location

Decide where you'd like to train your puppy to relieve herself. Ideally, choose a grassy spot in your yard that is fairly close to the door that you will use to take your pet outside for bathroom breaks. Think about the best location before you begin training your puppy since it will be very difficult to get your dog to change locations once bathroom habits start to form.

2. Establish a Training Schedule

Get in the habit of taking your puppy to the spot you have selected at roughly the same time for several times each day. It's advisable to schedule potty breaks about 30 minutes after your dog eats, as well as a few other times during the day.

3. Use a Training Command Term

Decide on a training command term that you will use to help your puppy learn when to go to the bathroom. When you arrive at the selected spot with your dog, say the command. This will help your puppy associate the command with relieving herself, as well as the location. When your pet gets older and you begin going to the park, traveling or visiting other people's homes, the command will help your pet adapt potty behaviors to new locations.

Many people choose "go" or "potty" as a training command. You can use any phrase or word that you want. However, be sure that the words are not likely to be used in settings where it would be inappropriate for the dog to go to the bathroom.

4. Provide Positive Reinforcement

When your dog exhibits the desired behaviors, provide positive reinforcement. Pet and praise your dog lavishly to send the message that her actions are appropriate. Avoid punishing your dog when she has an accident. It's not realistic to expect that your puppy will never make a mistake during the training process. To engage in successful puppy training, focus on reinforcing desired behaviors rather than punishing accidents.

5. Be Patient

Patience just may be the most important element of training. While housebreaking a puppy isn't an impossible task, it's also not an easy one. It's up to you to lay the ground rules and remain consistent with the training routine. Remember that the training process is just as stressful for your pet as it is for you and avoid losing patience at all costs.

How to Train a New Puppy: Commands and Tricks

In addition to housebreaking, you will also want to begin obedience training as soon as possible. Many dog owners find it beneficial to take a formal obedience class with their pets, while others choose to pursue training on their own. Either way, the primary ideas behind effective housebreaking also apply to obedience training: consistency and positive reinforcement.

Teaching Sit

Every dog needs to learn how to sit. When you are ready to teach this command, choose a location that is as free as possible from distractions.

  1. Put a few soft dog treats in your pocket, such as bits of cheese or hot dog.
  2. Position your pet so that she is standing in front of you. Show your pet the treats.
  3. Point to the ground and tell your pet to sit. Without repeating the word, use your hands to urge your pet into a sitting position. It's best to do this by gently pushing on the hindquarters.
  4. Once your dog is in a sitting position, give a treat along with petting and praise.

Continue practicing this a few minutes each day. Eventually, your pet will begin to sit on command once you say the word sit. It is very important to utter the command word only one time during the training process; otherwise you may inadvertently training your dog to sit after hearing the command a certain number of times rather than once.

Teaching Lie Down

After your puppy has learned how to sit on command, you can move on to teaching your pet how to lie down. When you are ready to teach this command, the first thing you will need to do is give it the sit command.

  1. When your dog is in the proper sitting position, say "lie down" while holding out a treat near your dog's mouth, not quite close enough for her to be able to take it from your hand.
  2. Move the treat slowly downward, gently nudging your pet to follow with your hand.
  3. Once your pet is in a prone position, offer praise and give the treat.

Repeat this several times and practice over a number of days until your dog begins lying down simply as a result of hearing the command.

Teaching Roll Over

Once your dog has learned a few basic commands, you may want to teach your pet how to roll over or perform other tricks. Before you can tackle this trick, it's important that your pet already knows how to lie down on command.

  1. Start by having your dog lie down.
  2. Once your pet is positioned properly, say "roll" one time, and then gently use your hands to nudge your dog into rolling over.
  3. When the dog has rolled over, praise and give a treat.

Repeat several times. Continue this activity until your dog is able to perform the trick on command, offering praise and treats throughout the process.

Living With a Well-Trained Dog

The only way you can enjoy the benefits of living with a well-trained dog is to spend time training your puppy effectively. Once you have followed the steps for how to train a new puppy long enough for your dog to go to the bathroom outdoors consistently, you'll understand why the hard work was well worth the time and effort put forth during the training process. The same is true for teaching your dog obedience commands and tricks. When you invest the necessary time and energy in training, you'll be on your way to creating good habits that can help your new pet become a well behaved adult dog.

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How to Train a New Puppy to Do What You Want