The day your puppy was taken away from its mother and placed in your care is the day you became 100% responsible for the young pup. Accept your role as leader responsibly by training the four basic obedience commands necessary to every civilized dog’s schooling.
Though your work schedule or distance from a qualified dog instructor often preclude working with an experienced trainer, teaching your puppy to sit, lie down, come and stay falls well within the average owner’s capabilities. Combined with frequent outings to assure proper socialization, suitable at-home training turns your little rascal into the dog that other dog owners wish for.
Most new owners agree that teaching critical lessons, such as not pottying in the house, destroying couch cushions or raiding the garbage, to name just a few, leaves precious little time for anything else. How then, do top trainers who work full-time, raise a family and compete in various canine sports, manage to do it all?
For one thing, you don’t need to spend an hour per lesson teaching basic commands. Puppies have an extremely short attention span, which is best worked within 5 to 10 minute sessions. That’s only one or two sets of television commercials!
Use whatever time you have to your advantage. A favorite technique amongst many trainers is for you to let your puppy follow you around while you do light housework by putting it on a leash and tying the other end to your belt. This gets the puppy in the habit of staying with you without the worry of it wandering off into mischief. Plus, it presents an easy opportunity to periodically stop what you’re doing to interact and get in a bit of training.
Realize that consistency is key in any level of training. Everyone in the home should be on the same page concerning the puppy’s guidelines so the puppy doesn’t get mixed signals about acceptable behaviors from different family members.
Additionally, don’t be a nag. Avoid repeating the same command over and over. If sometimes you say something once and expect compliance, but on other occasions you repeat the command five times before getting the behavior, this lack of clarity creates confusion for a young dog. Be willing to wait and allow the puppy to think for itself about what you just asked for. You might be happily surprised at what you see.