Did you get a puppy during covid and now you don’t know what to do? Do not fret because Urban Paws is finally going to open up group training next weekend (in addition to private sessions)! If you can’t make it into our facility or you just can’t afford it right now then follow our training series here. We will be going through the different types of training we offer and break it down for you to follow at home. This first article will be going through the basic things that puppies will need to know in order for you to be a successful owner.
Puppies have very short attention spans ( and sometimes that can continue as an adult) so we recommend getting a treat pouch and some stinky low-calorie “training” treats. We love Bocce bakery and Fruitables here since they are less than 10 cal per treat and come in lots of flavors/proteins. A lot of dogs are food motivated but everyone is different and it's important to figure out what drives your puppy if treats are not working. It is crucial to remain consistent and PATIENT with puppies- if they are young try breaking up the training into shorter sessions. Avoid repeating yourself too many times because it will be easier for your pup to ignore. Say their name or command and wait a few seconds before repeating it if they are not responding.
The first thing any dog is going to need to learn is their name and recall. At the start of training you are going to want to give the pup treats even if they aren't responding- just repeat their name or come and put a treat down. Then try saying their name again as soon as they finish the treat on the ground- if they look at you give them another treat. When you have a young puppy it will be practice, practice, practice. Do not use recall to punish and when your puppy is learning their name always reward them for responding even if they were up to no good.
It is also important for you to socialize your puppy early without throwing them into a free play group setting. This means walking and training your pup around other people and dogs. Make sure they are spending time early on with the people who will be in their life regularly. Walking with others while social distancing is perfect for this! We like to take puppies to dog parks( while staying outside them) and busy areas like Grant park. Having your dog socialized is the only way they will be successful at loose-leash walking.
The first command you will probably want to teach your dog is “sit”. Never try physically putting your dog in this position as it will confuse or even upset them. We tend to use the luring method and find it easy to learn. You hold a treat in front of your dogs face or nose and lift it up-this will naturally move their head up and bottom down. When your pups bum touches the ground give them a treat. This movement of your hand going up becomes a hand signal for sit.
Training your dog to lay down is very similar. If you are using the lure method again you will want to start training your dog while in sit. Take a treat in front of their face and then lower it to the floor. It will take a few practices but stay with it and give them the treat after they lay down. This movement also becomes a hand signal for down.
Once your dog learns to sit and lay down it will be time to learn stay. This is a very important command that some people completely don't think about. You will have to be patient and gradually increase the stay length. They will need to learn a release word- to train this try throwing a treat and saying the release word when they go towards it. Have your pup sit and then slowly step back while holding your hand up and saying wait or stay. Start with just a couple seconds then release and praise. Once they are able to stay for longer than 10 seconds you will want to give them multiple treats to encourage them to stay.
If you are still having trouble with these commands here are some more extensive links for each thing-
You can also sign up for Urban paws training here on this site or by calling the facility directly.