Whether you have just got a new dog or are handling a puppy for the first time, proper puppy training is a vital part of your bonding stage as well as the dog’s development. Many people will recommend that you put training as your top priority, but what difference does it actually make?
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What Does Training Involve?
To many people, puppy training can seem like it is just another simple part of keeping a puppy, but that is not exactly true. The training is not as simple as a puppy learning where its bed is – it is about building up their development and making sure that they act how you need them to act.
Poor training can stick with a dog for life and make it very difficult to re-train them later. If they are taught that it is okay (or at least not bad) for them to attack visitors, for example, they will have no reason to stop doing that in the future.
Training a puppy is about making sure that they act in line with your expectations, are not going anything extreme, and know exactly what they are allowed to do. It also helps you build trust in both directions, ensuring that they will actually listen to you when it matters most.
Things like potty training and general behavior training are all very important: they tell your new puppy how to behave around the home, where they should do their business, and what kind of living situation they will be involved in.
This can mean things like sticking to a routine for feeding and walking them, giving them a defined potty spot, or limiting them to certain areas that are “theirs.” The more effort you put into teaching them how to behave, the better behaved they will be in day-to-day life.
It is also a good idea to remember that the average puppy will not have context for what life is like at home unless you bought or took them on from another owner. This means that you will have to train them with things like chairs that they are not supposed to sit on or surfaces that they are not meant to climb onto.
Building a relationship with your pup is a vital part of making them a full-blown family member. While sending them off to get trained for you can be tempting, this has its own drawbacks and is not the overall solution to the problem.
If you are not actively training your puppy and positively reinforcing their good habits, you are creating a situation where they are not connecting to you. This means that they might not respect your instructions or take a lot longer to become attached to you.
You also need to be present at the training so that you can understand your puppy. Dogs are just like people – they all have their tics, habits, and responses that are not always clear if you do not know them. Understanding how your puppy reacts allows you to interpret their needs based on what they are doing.
This kind of relationship is vital for living with a puppy long-term. Since you can’t communicate clearly, knowing their habits allows you to understand what they are doing. Their attachment to you can make it easier to correct bad behaviors in the future.
Puppy training should also break them into a loose routine, even if it is not always structured in the same way. A puppy should know the rough time that they are getting fed and when you are coming home from work, and the times that they might need to go for walks or spend time outdoors.
Like humans, puppies adapt based on how they are living. If you are not pushing them into a routine, they will just do whatever they want and might even form a schedule that does not align with your own. By training them properly, you can integrate them into your life well.
This also matters a lot for people who are not necessarily at home all the time. If your puppy knows the general time you will get home from work, it can help them adapt to your own life and ensure that there are no issues around the house when you are not there.
Dog training is about the dog and the owner. While many trainers can easily get your dog to perform certain tricks, your puppy is likely to fall back into its old habits quickly. This is because training a puppy is only half the work – the other half involves you.
Whether you are getting in-person or online puppy training, a major part of the process is teaching yourself how your puppy thinks and how you can nudge it towards certain behaviors while avoiding others. This is not just about respect but about the interactions that you have together.
If you are not properly prepared to train your puppy, then no amount of offline or online puppy training will make a difference. Poor care or a bad routine might reinforce the wrong behaviors, and not knowing your dog can make it very hard to correct those things.
There is also the fact that most puppy training is between the owner and the puppy. Your interactions will be unique, and they will have a personal relationship with you – one that you want to make positive at all costs. This can often mean spending a lot of time and effort getting to know how they think and react.
Training is important whether you get a puppy from a breeder or rescue an older dog from the shelter. Finding good training techniques can be tough, especially if you have never trained a dog before. Often, knowing some basic examples helps a lot, as does getting outside help through online puppy training options. The more advice you can gather, the better.
Sites like https://www.puppytrainedright.com/site/home are a good example, acting as a key place to start your training if you are stuck for ideas. It can be tempting to dive headfirst into your training ideas, but if they do not work, then you might only cause more harm to your dog’s behaviors in the long run.
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Featured Photo by Taylor Kopel on Unsplash