All is going well, you have taught your pup after 7 – 10 days to: walk on a lead, retrieve and come when called.
When is the best time to start training your pup? As soon as you bring it home. Not training in a formal way, but in a very relaxed and happy positive form.
Lead training should commence each day at the same time for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute in duration. Tie a long light lead, approximately 2 metres, on the pup’s collar and with plenty of verbal encouragement have the puppy drag the lead around. (Pls note – the lead must never be left on while the pup is left unsupervised).
As the pup is following you around, use their name as often as possible. Every now and again pick up the lead and let the pup feel a slight tension on the lead. This should be increased ever so slightly over a 7 day period. After 7 days the pup should be walking on your left side very happily for about 2 to 3 minutes per day.
It is very important at this time of their training to introduce two reward factors:
1. Food &
2. Toys (retrieves)
These rewards can be given to the pup every time they do something that pleases you, eg: comes to you, sits and does not jump etc. or when they are told to do something, eg: go to the toilet.
‘Retrieves’ can be a rolled pair of socks or an old soft toy specifically for training. If using food, use only very small pieces of food, and it should be something the pup really enjoys (I personally recommend Lamb Puff over Dried Liver, as many puppies find the liver too rich).
When using the retrieves, let them have a chase of the article as a reward for a good deed. When they pick it up, run backwards clapping your hands and calling ‘Name Come, Name come’. Stay as low to the ground as possible as this does not make you so dominant.
When the pup comes up to you do not snatch the retrieve out of their mouth. Instead gently keep encouraging them to come to you and quietly take the article from their mouth, giving them plenty of verbal and physical praise.
If at any time your pup won’t let go of the article, all you do is offer them a tasty piece of food in return for what is in their mouth.
The beauty of this method is that the pup does not realise they are being trained and by the time they reach 4 months of age, 80% of their training is already completed.
Remember the following when training a young dog:
- Be consistent.
- All training to be positive (no negative training at all at this time).
- Keep all training sessions short.
- Always finish a training session when the puppy is successful.
At birth, a newborn puppy is unable to eliminate its own waste – Mum licks the puppies to stimulate elimination and in doing so, cleans up as she goes (the equivalent to nappies on our babies). Around three weeks of age the puppies begin to soil for themselves – Mum continues to maintain cleanliness in the nesting area.
As the puppies become more physically capable, they will attempt to move away from the nesting area to toilet. This can be further assisted by providing the litter with a different floor surface outside their bedding. The puppies will instinctively seek an absorbent area to toilet, such as grass/soil or carpet.
It is instinctive for dogs to avoid soiling their sleeping or eating areas. However, puppies will have accidents – Mum will continue to keep the nest clean and will not scold or reprimand a puppy for any mistakes.