So we’ve covered what to think about before bringing a puppy home, and what to do on those first few nights. But what happens next?
When can you start training your puppy?
Is there a certain ‘way’ to play with your puppy? And what the heck is this puppy socialisation all about?
We could talk at length about all of the above – and we go into lots more detail in our online dog training classes. But here is a great little rundown to give you a good head start and some tips that we think will really set you up for success from day one when it comes to training your puppy.
WHEN CAN I START TRAINING MY PUPPY?
Honestly? From day one! A good Breeder will already have been putting in some of those first crucial steps of training your puppy. Toileting, exploring, handling – this is all training! We can get fixated on teaching our puppy to sit from day one, or getting them to give a paw or lay down. They are all great things to learn for different reasons, but the most important thing for your puppy to learn right now is that life is pretty cool and so are you!
So how do we do that? From playing training games where we teach your puppy that hanging out with you is awesome, to building up your puppy’s confidence so they are happy in all situations.
We can do this in the home with the things we have around us. There are lots of training games that we teach in puppy class that will teach your puppy life skills to take into the outside world. So instead of struggling to recall your puppy, he will already know that you are where the fun is at so recall will simply be a fun game that your puppy has learned to play!
IS IT OKAY TO PLAY TUG WITH MY PUPPY?
This is something that we get asked a lot and to be honest we aren’t sure where it’s come from, other than that some people believe that by tugging with your puppy, you are inadvertently teaching them to be aggressive?
However this just isn’t the case and as far as we know there is no evidence behind it.
Lots of dogs find playing tug very rewarding. And when your dog finds something rewarding you can use it as a training tool for good behaviour.
Playing tug is also a great relationship building game! There really is nothing more fun for some dogs. You can teach a drop cue to add in self-control, you can run around the garden with a sheepskin tug to mimic the squirrel they chase every day and teach them to wait until YOU release them.
These skills that your puppy is learning then start to transfer to the real world.
We can use tug toys to our advantage whilst keeping up the fun element for your puppy, and it’s something we always have in our training kit. Imagine pulling out your puppy’s favourite tug on a walk for a surprise reward! Best owner ever!
Tug e nuff have the best collection of tug toys on their website and if you use the code ONTHEBALL at checkout you will get 10% discount off your first order. Visit their website here.
HOW DO I SOCIALISE MY PUPPY? (HOW DO I SOCIALISE MY PUPPY IN LOCKDOWN?)
I think almost every puppy owner that has come to us in lockdown has worried about their puppy’s socialisation – to the extent that they are seeking out other dogs and puppies that they don’t know, for their puppies to play and socialise with.
Whilst supervised play with polite dogs that you know MIGHT be good for your puppy, it really is only 5% of what socialisation is all about.
The problem with the current train of thought around puppy socialisation is that all dogs are NOT the same. And as a concept trainer we very much look at a dog’s emotions as an individual, and work on that as a whole rather than work on specific behaviours.
If you keep putting your slightly unconfident puppy into situations they aren’t 100% happy with, for long periods, then eventually your puppy is going to react, no matter how many treats you give them.
Why? Because you are only looking to solve a ‘behaviour’ – your puppy sitting in the pub nicely, your puppy watching the other dogs play at the park. You are not addressing their confidence as a whole nor are you starting in an environment that they feel safe in.
It’s a problem we see a lot of – ‘over’ socialisation.
In concept training we look at dog training and socialisation as a ‘very big’ overall picture, rather than working on just one small behaviour and something we go a lot more into in our classes and one to ones.
You can also read more about socialising puppies in one of our previous blogs here.
So we hope that’s answered some of your questions about the most common queries we hear from new owners.
If you want to join in our puppy classes for more real life training and lots of amazing handouts and free downloads, just click here – or to join one of our virtual classes or in personal classes for FREE (yes free first class for everyone!) then click HERE and lets get you set up.