The best time to begin obedience training your puppy is the moment they come home. Your puppy has already started some basic obedience while still with us. Although most view obedience training as the simple, sit, stay and come, we view obedience as a lifestyle for our dogs. The time that you put into obedience training as a puppy will pay off with high dividends in the adult years. We highly recommend using both hand and voice commands when training your puppy. For instance, when we give the command to sit, I also raise one finger, the dogs quickly recognize the verbal and hand command and can use them interchangeably. There was a time that hand commands saved one of our dogs' lives, so I will forever be a proponent of training both. When raising the one finger and telling your puppy to sit, hold a small but tasty treat between your other three fingers and your thumb. You only give the verbal command ONCE! If the puppy does not sit, you move your hand with the treat up over their nose and over their head, if they still do not sit, give a gentle pressure on their hip with your other hand until they are in the sitting position. Immediately give the treat. Your puppy should have the sit command down pat within the first week of coming home. Our favorite treat for training is small diced up hot dogs, or the food rolls that are mentioned in the crate training information. We recommend keeping your training sessions to five minutes or less but the more frequent in the day, the better. For instance, we may have 10 5 minute training sessions with a puppy in a day, rather than two 25 minute sessions. Remember every interaction that you have with your dog, they are learning something. Good or bad, every interaction is defining their future behavior. If their behavior won’t be cute when they are an adult dog, it is not cute as a puppy.
I understand that life is busy, but I cannot stress the importance of puppy kindergarten or beginner obedience classes to get you both on the right road to a successful partnership for years to come. For training a puppy or dog of any age, we recommend training with a martingale or a slip collar. These collars are designed to place even pressure all the way around the neck of the puppy which will humanely train them from the start not to pull on the leash. I never recommend a harness, choke chain or gentle leader under any circumstance and training your puppy properly from the start will eliminate the need for any of these devices.
We do not recommend flexi leashes, for dogs that do not have exemplary leash manners. Flexi leashes although loved by many can be dangerous to dogs, handlers and bystanders. The use of flexi leashes can establish some poor leash habits that become difficult to change. We prefer a four foot, two handled leash. We also do not recommend using splitters on leashes in multiple dog households.
Most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy every moment. The puppy stage is demanding but it passes way too quickly. These dogs are extremely intelligent and easy to train, they have biddable temperaments and will go to the ends of the earth to please their family members. Dream big for your puppy, set lofty goals and then go accomplish them together!
I am the owner of Prodigy Farms and only second to the love for my dogs, is my love for educating dog owners on canine care and behavior. I am the stay at home mom of three amazing boys that are active in the rearing of our puppies. With a background in nursing and years spent competing in the dog world, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that I like to share with others here. So welcome to my blog, I hope that you are blessed by your visit and will find tools and information here that will enable you to raise and train a happy healthy dog to create a lifetime of joy with!