Puppy Dog Training Tips

Puppy dog training can start as soon as you bring home your puppy. Though a young puppy may not have the concentration necessary to master more difficult commands, you can immediately begin to teach them what the rules are around your home.

Keep It Positive

Decades ago, when punishment training was our only training option, owners were advised to keep their puppies out of training until six months. Before then, they just couldn't handle the punishments.

Now that we have positive training, puppies of any age can and should begin training. Puppies respond well to praise, petting, treats and toys, so you have a plethora of reward options. Rather than punishing your puppy when he's bad, make him work for all his favorite things. Then, you will have a puppy excited for training and listening to you rather than a dog who fears you.

Buy a Crate

Many people see crates as punishment, but dogs are den animals and actually enjoy their crates. Just as you wouldn't leave your two-year-old alone in the house, you shouldn't leave your puppy loose before he is potty-trained and taught which objects on which he is allowed to chew.

Get your puppy used to the crate by feeding him meals and giving him special treats in it. Put a warm blanket and an old shirt that smells like you.

This crate will help you with potty training and limiting his exposure to things when you can't supervise. You can also put him in it for time out, which will allow him to calm down when he is too hyper. As long as you are calm when you put him in it, he won't see it as punishment.

Be sure not to leave him in the crate too long. A small puppy may not be able to hold his bladder longer than an hour, and you don't want to force him to eliminate in the crate. How long he can hold it will depend on the age, breed, size and individual temperament of your dog.

How to Stop Jumping

Puppies jump on each other when they greet, so your puppy will probably think he can jump on you, too. Most owners think correcting the puppy is the way to go, but most corrections (pushing, yelling, etc) are actually rewarding for your puppy. Any attention is good attention.

Thus, the best way to eliminate jumping is to ignore it completely. Turn your back. Walk away. Don't look at, talk to or touch your puppy.

As soon as all four of your puppy's feet hit the floor, give him the attention he desires. As soon as the jumping starts, remove all attention.

How to Stop Puppy Nipping

When puppies play with one another, if one puppy bites too hard, the other puppies don't bite back. Instead, they all turn their backs and walk away. As your puppy's companions, you should handle nipping the same way.

If your puppy puts his teeth on you, yell "ouch," even if it doesn't hurt and storm out of the room. Everyone in the family should go with you. Once the puppy has been isolated, he will learn that he can't nip.

The next time it happens, yell "ouch" and offer him a toy. If he chooses the toy, continue playing. If not, storm out of the room. This will teach him how to play with you politely so everyone in the family can interact in a safe and fun way.