When your new resident comes into your home, please consider that he needs to assimilate a lot of information in a very short time. He no longer has his familiar surroundings, siblings and old family around him, and first has to get used to his new people and environment. Give him time!
With the best will in the world, and however much you love your little four-footed friend, there will be times that you would like to send him up to the moon without a return ticket. Such as when he chews the third pair of your favourite shoes.
By this time, it will certainly be obvious that you need to start your puppy’s basic education. The following tips are just a few basic points, but they are the most important lessons that a baby dog needs to learn.
House-training is one of the most important things that a puppy has to learn for the benefit of your carpets and the nerves of everyone involved. But you will have to be very patient in the first few weeks. Take your puppy outside at regular intervals, no more than a few hours apart. You will need to do this even at night, as your little friend won’t be able to hold on all night just yet.
Puppies generally “go” immediately when they wake up, after eating and during / after play. Always praise him cheerfully and clearly when he poops or pees outside. If you catch him at it inside, say “No” in a loud voice and take him into the garden. If he then does his business outside, give him lots of praise once again. If your pup has already peed or left a little present on the carpet for you, then you are simply unlucky. If you get there too late, your penalty is to clean up after him. There is no point in telling him off; the puppy won’t understand what you are punishing him for.
Come! Or what is my name anyway?
To teach your puppy what he is called, use his name when you talk to him and give him food at the same time. Puppies generally understand what you mean very quickly, and learn to expect something nice when they hear their name. Now hold a piece of food in your hand, move a couple of metres away from your do and call his name. Give him his reward when he comes.
The next step would then be to address him by name when he is not paying attention to you. This will prepare him for the next important point: Your puppy needs to learn that he has to pay attention to you, and not the other way around! Use his inattention to hide yourself and call his name. But don’t go too far away. If he comes to you when you call, praise him effusively. You can also walk away from him cheering loudly; that will draw his attention and he will follow you. Again he should be rewarded with food or a game when he reaches you.
No! Out! Off!
Some things that are rather cute in a puppy, are not quite so nice in an adult dog. That’s why your puppy needs to learn that he cannot always do what comes into his head. He has to learn and accept this even when he is interacting with his siblings, mother or other older dogs. So, don’t let him get away with everything. It is you who decides what is permitted and what isn’t!
But to do this, you first have to teach him exactly what “No!” means.
Take a treat in your hand and hold it out to the puppy. When he comes to take it, close your hand and say “No!”. Wait a few moments, then open your hand again and repeat the game. Puppies generally learn what “No!” means very quickly. Now open your hand and offer the food, saying “Take it”. It won’t be long before he waits for you to say “Take it” before he takes the biscuit.
When this works, raise the stakes a little, and put the treat on the floor. But make sure that you can be faster than your dog if there is any doubt. Repeat this exercise lots of times; start in the home environment with few distractions, then repeat it outside. If you practise this regularly and consistently without your little one having any successes of his own in the meantime, your “No!” will quickly work well in other everyday situations.
A “No!” is vital, and helps avoid dangers.
When your little friend exceeds the limits of good behaviour, you must show him as much. In some cases it may be enough to simply ignore him, such as when he becomes too wild and pushy in his social contact with you. In this case, say clearly and firmly “Stop!”. Stand up and go away. He has now lost what was important to him, and is left standing there on his own.
If this is not enough to stop him, or if, for example, he has already chewed up your favourite shoes that we mentioned above, simply ignoring him will not have much effect. In this situation, it does not matter to your puppy whether your go away or not. This is where you really need clear signals to tell him to stop. This isn’t so bad, provided that you are unambiguous, and your response is appropriate for the situation and is given immediately. Restrict his actions by going straight up to him, or bending over him and holding him in place. If this is not enough, you can bump into him or turn him over. That sounds and looks unkinder than it really is. If you have ever watched an older dog interacting with puppies, you will know that they don’t act with kid gloves. The lesson hits home as a result, and it is not generally necessary to keep repeating it. People can still learn a lot from dogs when it comes to immediate and unambiguous action! You never meet a puppy who will ignore serious signals to stop from an adult dog. On the other hand, puppies who do not take human signals to stop seriously are sadly all too common. That’s it in a nutshell. Behaviour that is so sweet in a puppy, is anything other than sweet in an adult dog.
The important factor here is that dogs do not bear grudges. Perhaps we should take a leaf from their book and learn from our dogs. It is not good to ignore dogs for long periods. Quite the opposite - it can really harm the relationship between man and dog. Acceptance of the “peace offering” by the rebuked one is extremely important, and will strengthen your dog’s trust in you.