Getting a new puppy means that there is a lot you will need to consider, not least of which is how to train it. Puppy training must be considered a high priority, as the earlier you start, the easier it will be and the less damage will be done to your house. Your puppy’s temperament throughout its life will largely depend on what you do at this important stage.
For the first week, it is very important that you get into a routine with your puppy. Allow an entire room for the puppy to begin with, and cover the floor in newspapers just in case of accidents. Put the food and bedding in a specific place so that your puppy learns where to find these.
Try to keep your level of noise down when you are playing, as you don’t want to startle your young puppy. This may be difficult if you also have children in the house, but do your best. Remember that young animals also need a lot of sleep, so if he or she looks tired, leave them to sleep rather than continuing to play.
Set up a schedule and stick to it. If you spend all of your time with the puppy in the first few days, they will expect this to continue, and then find it difficult when they are left alone for the first time. Being firm now will make for a much better behaved dog in the future, and will also mean that your puppy learns much faster.
Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviour. Praise will go a long way to ensuring your puppy behaves as you want, so teach him or her to play with toys and to chew these only. If your furniture does get chewed, you can use a firm reprimand such as “off!” when you see it happening, then get one of the toys for your puppy to play with instead. If you have to leave the puppy alone, make sure they are confined in an area where nothing can be damaged.
Toilet training a young puppy
Toilet training a puppy can take up to six months, so be patient and be prepared for accidents during this time. Be persistent with your training and techniques – you will get there eventually. It is important to follow these rules when house-training a puppy:
Make sure your dog has frequent access to the area being used as a toilet, as this will reduce the mess that is made inside the house.
Use treats as a reward for using the right area as a toilet.
Do not punish the puppy for using the wrong area – positive reinforcement is much more effective at encouraging the right behaviour.
Have a regular feeding schedule as part of your routine.
Keep a record of when your puppy last used the toilet area and figure out a schedule. They often need to go every 30-45 minutes, except when they are sleeping (which will be a large part of the time).
A regular feeding schedule will help to establish a routine. Don’t leave food out all of the time, as this will encourage random timings for going to the toilet. However, water should always be available for your puppy.
If you have a home with easy access to the outdoors, then this should be the main toilet area. Choose a very specific place outside. If you don’t have a garden, then choose a small, enclosed indoor area. Get into the habit of taking your puppy to the toilet area regularly, particularly when he or she has just woken up, after eating or drinking, or whenever you think they may need to go. You will need to do this until about three months of age, by which time some control should have developed.
When you need to leave the puppy alone, make sure he or she is confined to a small space that is completely covered in paper. You will start to notice your puppy’s preferred messing place, and then you can start to reduce the amount of paper you use. Don’t be discouraged if sometimes you have setbacks – this is normal. Stick to the procedure and you will be able to train your puppy.