Puppy on absorbent litterThere’s no doubt about it – puppies can get away with an awful lot. From their Buddha bellies to their tiny yips, they can melt just about any heart. But after awhile, those small growls at the food bowl or extra puddles on the carpet can begin to seem less cute.

However, before you have second thoughts about bringing a new puppy home, there’s good news! By starting a young pup off with socialization and good puppy training, you can raise a confident, happy canine.

Planning Your Puppy Training Course

One of the first things to do with your precious puppy is to schedule his or her wellness exam and vaccines. This is also a good time to inquire with The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center about training.

In most cases, puppies embark on training between 3 to 12 weeks of age, with professional group classes starting after 12 weeks of age.

Your veterinarian is a great resource for helping you establish your puppy training and socialization plan.

Establishing Your Pack

Dogs are pack-oriented animals who need ongoing structure and socialization to understand the rules and how to confidently get along. One of the best things you can do is to begin handling your puppy, getting him or her used to all family members right away.

Because you want your puppy to see you and other people within the home as pack “leaders,” getting him or her used to household rules can lay the groundwork for next steps. This includes establishing where your puppy will sleep, mealtime schedule, and family routines.

Housetraining

As you teach your puppy to learn the proper place to potty, also consider crate training. Since dogs will avoid eliminating in their “dens,” this safe space can help you teach your pet when and where to “go” outside.

In a 24-hour period, plan on frequent trips outside, including going out every few hours (yes, even at night) for the first few weeks of your puppy’s life. Whether you use the clicker method or stick with small treats, reward is the name of the game each time your pet successfully eliminates outside.

While there will be accidents, your pet will learn over time using positive reinforcement and consistency in routine.

Basic Obedience and Socialization

As you’re working on crate and housebreaking training, it’s important to begin introducing positive socialization with other people and puppies, as well as basic commands.

Commands can be reinforced with repetition and reward. Some basics include:

  • Come
  • Sit
  • Drop it
  • Stay
  • Leave it

Socialization and training can be safely and effectively achieved through puppy training classes (participants should be within the same age range and fully vaccinated). Since basic commands are imperative to introducing your pet to places like the dog park, they’re also the foundation for other forms of training (e.g., dog walking).

When it comes to puppies, there’s a lot to learn (for both puppy and owner), but patience, consistency, and reward-based training can instill confidence in your growing puppy.

At Springbrook Animal Care Center, we offer an enjoyable and educational Beginner Class for puppies, covering all the basics. Please contact us for more information or to enroll your puppy.