You've got a puppy and like all excited owners, you too are looking forward to spending quality time with him. Puppies are quick learners, so the earlier you start puppy training, the better it is. But before the training day arrives, there are some basic rules you might want to know. Your puppy’s first few days at home are extremely important and the rule you set then, will last a lifetime.
1. Make him familiar with his name
The first thing your puppy needs to learn is his name. The shorter the name, easier it becomes for him to remember. Never scream your puppy’s name as they are very sensitive and can understand the variations in your tone. Shouting will just stress him out. Say his name slowly and clearly so that he can associate his name with each command.
2. Maintain 'command' consistency
You have to make sure that from the very beginning your puppy understands the word NO. And to make him understand, you should be consistent with your command. Anything that is forbidden must be associated with NO. Also ensure that tone is sharp enough every time you say it.
3. Handle 'accidents' with care
Never punish your puppy if he accidentally “eliminates” indoors in your absence. Scolding works only if you catch him in the act. To prevent such incidents, take him out for a walk every two hours - in the morning, after every meal and after playtime. When your puppy goes round and round, recognize his signal of wanting to go out and always praise him verbally or with a pat for “eliminating” outside.
4. Help him understand simple commands
To make this new puppy a member of your household, he should first understand your command. ‘Sit’, ‘lie down’ and ‘stay’ are 3 command your puppy needs to understand in the same sequence. Your puppy should also be on the lead while you are teaching these commands. Before moving on to the next one make sure he has understood the first one.
5. Let walking on the lead be 'joyful'
First, let your puppy get used to a collar and then slowly get him used to a lead. Make him sit next to you and then command him to come for a walk using the word COME. Always keep him near you and if he pulls, say NO and give a sharp pull on the lead. Never hit your puppy with a lead, it should be a symbol of fun walkies and not punishments.
6. Call out for your puppy
More than just a command, calling your puppy is like inviting him for petting or reward. But if your puppy does not respond to your command simply walk in the opposite direction or hide and he will come searching for you. Associate the word HERE with calling and start using it to call him during mealtime. Praise and pat him for following the command and pretty soon he will start following it.
7. Never leave your puppy alone
Initially, when your puppy is 4 or 5 months old avoid leaving him alone as it might create a real anxiety crisis for him. Being left home alone will be the fact of life for your puppy and you need to prepare him for this. Start by leaving the room for just a few minutes. If your puppy cries, come back, tell him to be quiet and go out. Praise him if he remains calm and gradually extend the duration.
8. Mealtime manners
It is important to teach your puppy mealtime manners from the very beginning. Always feed him at the same time and from the same bowl to get him habituated. Feed the puppy after everyone is done eating - this helps him realise who is the boss because it mimics the pack behaviour. Also, avoid feeding your puppy titbits or table scraps as it upsets his nutritional balance.