By the time they are about 7 weeks of age, puppies can learn the same things as adult dogs. The only difference is they have shorter concentration spans and are clumsier as their motor skills are not as well developed. Puppies can learn to “sit”, “stay”, “drop” and “come” on cue very easily when food is used as a reward. These words are really just good manners for dogs. Think of “sit” as really meaning “please”. Ask your puppy to earn attention or walks by sitting (saying “please”) first. This will help them grow up to be well mannered. Teach your puppy to settle or be quiet on cue is also very important to help manage your new puppy. By using short, easy steps and lots of patience your puppy will quickly learn what is expected of them. Training is forever. Your dog needs to exercise their mind as well as their body so regular training is needed in addition to physical exercise, so you have a well-behaved pet.
· Take time to spend 10-15 minutes each day training your puppy throughout their life.
· Each lesson should be short and fun and always finish on something the puppy can do easily.
· Daily leash walks when your puppy is old enough to go out are important to help them use up some physical as well as mental energy.
· Use rewards and remember – there has to be something in it for the dog. Dogs, like people, learn fastest when the reward is given immediately, is very desirable and given every time. Once your dog knows what you expect of them, they will remember what is expected longer if you reward them intermittently.
· Be consistent in your training. If your dog is allowed to jump up sometimes and not at others, it is very difficult for them to learn what you expect of them.
· There is no need to shout if your puppy is disobedient. Their hearing is four times better than yours!
· Everyday try to touch your puppy all over. Look in their ears, in their mouth and clean their teeth so that they learn that these are tolerable, even fun, but certainly not frightening experiences. Reward them when they are relaxed. Remember, if they won’t let you look in their wars when there is no problem it will make it very difficult for you to put eardrops in later.
· Touch their paws and practise giving them tablets daily so that when your need to give them tablets later if they are ill or injured they will accept them more easily.
· When doing anything with your puppy be positive and use lavish praise and reward.
· Most importantly, HAVE FUN and enjoy your new puppy!
For an appointment with Dr Elaine please go to: www.animalwellness.com.au