Set yourself up for success
When em-barking on this journey with your fur baby, there are some common training questions that we hear all the time from new puppy parents. Set yourself up for success with these recommendations from Trainer and Co-Owner of Adventure Dog Training Club, Andrew Abbott.
What mindset should pet parents have when starting puppy training?
Pet Parents should be enthused and excited to start the life adventure that awaits with their new four legged family member. Prevention and patience are two important words to have in your mind when starting puppy training. An ounce of prevention can save new pet parents a world of struggle with their puppy later in life. Crate training, for example, can help teach good bathroom habits and prevent destructive chewing. Ensuring a puppy gets an appropriate amount of socialization and desensitization at an early age can reduce the risk of fear, stress, and anxiety based behaviours towards new and unfamiliar things once they’re older.
Having a very well structured daily routine is key! Ensuring that meals, naps, bathroom breaks, play times, and brain games are all on a regular and predictable schedule will help ensure the puppy’s needs are met daily. A great routine will also inhibit any wiggle room for bad habits to start. Start your puppy off with a hyper structured routine, and slowly become more relaxed when good habits have been established. It’s much more difficult to wait for problems and bad habits to arise, and try to stop them by adding structure once they are already becoming an issue.
Have patience when engaging in training communication skills and socializing your puppy. Young puppies usually have a short attention span, and training sessions that are too long could cause frustration. Go at the puppy’s pace and never force them into a scenario they are not ready for. Let them dictate the pace at which they familiarize themselves with new and unfamiliar things, and the speed at which they learn new commands.
It is important for pet parents to understand that training starts the moment you first take home your puppy. Be prepared with all essential tools, and have a daily routine and structure planned before you bring home your new pup!
What essential items should you have to start training?
Here is a list of all essential tools we at Adventure Dog Training Club recommend all new puppy owners have before they start training:
-Y shaped harness (ex: Ruff Wear front range harness) and a six foot solid leash (or belt leash) for walking and transportation.
–Flat collar with I.D. tags.
–Crate big enough for the puppy to be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down inside of.
-4 to 5 durable, non edible, non stuffy/squeaky chew toys for long-term chewing access. Treat stuffable Rubber toys are ideal (brands such as Kong and West Paw). Ensure they are big enough to not be a choking hazard.
–Toys that are appropriate for tug, fetch, and playtime. This includes squeaky toys, stuffies, rope toys and so on. (these types of toys should not be left with a puppy unsupervised).
-Single ingredients freeze dried treats that can be broken into pea sized or smaller pieces for training and toy stuffing.
What is a good exercise or verbal cue to work on first?
The most important exercises and verbal cues you can first teach a puppy are;
1. Eye contact on name call
2. Recall on their name call
4. An audible marker that indicates when they get a behaviour correct (such as “good”,
“yes”, or a “click” from a clicker trainer).
Why are puppy classes a good idea?
Puppy Classes are an invaluable tool for pet parents to participate in. They will help you stay up to date on the latest science based training methods, and they will ensure you are setting your puppy up for success for the rest of their life.
Puppy classes are a great place for puppies to off leash play with each other (if it is a group class), which is essential for good socialization.
Puppy classes also give you an opportunity to check in with your trainer and make sure that your routine and structure is set up appropriately for your puppy. Puppies of different breeds, sizes, ages, and temperaments may require slight
changes in their day to day routines (ex: how much exercise is appropriate, how much training can they handle, how often they need bathroom breaks, etc.).
When should you ask for support in puppy training?
Whether you have raised a puppy in the past, or you are a brand new pet parent, it is a good idea to start training with a professional right away. Don’t wait till problems and bad habits start
arising at six months or one year of age. It is always easier to prevent problems and bad habits with good training from the start. It is more time intensive and more challenging to change bad habits after they have been allowed to develop.
Puppies are all individuals, just like their owners. It is important that your trainer works with you and your puppy to build a training program that will fit the individual needs of you both.
The best time to seek support in puppy training is day one, the second best time is now! It is never too late to start training and making improvements to the relationship and communication skills between you and your puppy. Dogs are a 10-15+ year commitment, it is worth putting the effort into raising them right!
Contact Andrew at Adventure Dog Training Club if you have further questions on puppy training, or if you’re interested in learning more about puppy classes. Also be sure to come see us at Global Pet Foods for all your puppy training essentials!
Andrew Abbott, co-owner of Adventure Dog Training Club, has been working in the professional pet industry for over a decade. With experience in pet retail, grooming, daycare and boarding facility management, and a plethora of dog training experience and knowledge.
At Adventure Dog Training Club, we apply science based training methods, prioritizing the quality of the relationship and communication skills between owner and dog. We offer a wide variety of private in-home training services; including puppy training, 3 levels of foundation training, behaviour consultations and urban mushing sports such as canicross and bikejoring.
We service St. John’s & the Bay Roberts area in Newfoundland.