On the way to adulthood, the puppy or young dog goes through several phases. In addition to the well-known socialization phase, this includes notorious puberty. But there are still more stages of development.
The first begins right after birth and is called the vegetative phase. In this first and second week there is not much happening with the child: the eyes and ears are closed, the sense of smell is less pronounced. He is almost busy drinking and sleeping.
You can perceive a bit of your environment in the so-called transition phase in the third week. Around day 17 of the life, the puppy slowly learns to see and now he listens. Now he takes note of his brother and also of the first external stimuli.
A very important moment is the subsequent stamping phase of the fourth to the seventh week. These should be used optimally, since during this time the personality of the puppy is defined. Now you can hear, see and smell and learn to use impressions. Therefore, it is very important that these be diverse in this phase, so that the puppy becomes a well-established and bold adult. With the other puppies, now has fun, measured with them and learn the rules of the game in a social structure, very important for further social competence.
Period of socialization
During the socialization phase (weeks 8 to 16), the puppy learns to find his way. You, as parents of a dog, have the task of making your little one fit for life. New sounds and many impressions must be presented to the puppy without exceeding it. Since you learn very well at this time, you can do the first small exercises and gather them with many people and other animals; the important thing is positive experiences. The consequence from the beginning is important, because in the socialization phase, the child also seeks his place in the pack and will also try to test his limits.
How To Puppy Train Your Dog: 7 First Steps
If you are a veteran in the pet owning area, you may already have a few tricks under your sleeve. But if you are totally new to this, you will need some guidance and practice, and most of all, you will need patience.
As with small children, training your puppy will take time until they can finally understand what is good and what is wrong, take simple orders and hopefully know where they can go and release themselves. Remember that anything your puppy does comes from a place of love and keep that in mind, especially when he misbehaves.
So if you are looking for guidance, we got you covered. We will walk you through the essentials on dog training for you, the new puppy parent. Here are 7 easy first steps that you will need to consider.
1. Get your puppy to respond to his name
This is very important. Your puppy needs to know when you are talking to him and when you are talking to someone else in the house. Try to repeatedly say his name while playing, petting and feeding him. Remember to be always positive and use a gentle voice when approaching your puppy.
2. Be prepared
Get some supplies to help you train your puppy. Some of the essential things that you will need are treats to reinforce positive behavior; a crate so your puppy learns that he has a place that it is his own; a collar and a leash so you can take him out to walk; some toys so his energy is well placed on them and not on your couch; and maybe some material for you to better understand your puppy.
There are plenty of books you can buy and videos you can watch online. Remember we are also here for you.
3. Be disciplined
By training your puppy, you will be learning a few things too. Not exactly how to respond to treats, but you will learn how to manage your emotions and, most of all, the discipline that it takes to train your puppy.
Set up a schedule that is easy to follow and fun, so everyday you spend some time training your puppy. It is well known that humans take 10,000 hours to master a task, but do not worry. The commands and initial tasks that you will teach your puppy are much easier to learn.
It is better that you have a few short periods of training throughout the day, preferably around the same time as you are feeding your puppy. The important thing here is to keep your routine everyday.
4. We are all in this together
If you live with a family, let them know that it is up to everyone to be in charge of the puppy training. It will not work if just one person pays attention to it. This can be confusing for your puppy as he might get mixed signals of what is right and what is wrong.
It is a team effort and everyone can have fun doing it. Remember that puppies learn by playing too, so your family can have a great time.
5. Understand the needs of your puppy
Puppies are amazing creatures. As dogs have been domesticated for centuries, they cannot survive very easily without our help. Puppies need love and companionship. They also need proper caring. That means vet visits, vaccines, proper nutrition, exercise and physical activity, socialization and a peaceful and welcoming home.
Have that in mind and be prepared to take care of everything, and your puppy will live a long happy life.
6. Let the world meet your puppy
You love your new puppy, let the world know and bring your friends to meet him. This is more important than you think. It is not just bragging rights (although bragging about your perfect cute little puppy is legitimate), but your pet needs to learn how to behave around people that come to visit.
Ever been to a house where there is a dog that just will not stop barking at visitors? That is very annoying and shows that the dog was not properly trained. It is exactly what you are trying to avoid.
Letting visitors meet your dog will teach him how to socialize and recognize when someone is a friend or an unwelcome presence in the house.
7. Baby steps
Remember, Rome was not built in a day. Do not expect your puppy to learn everything at once. You will end up confusing him and frustrating yourself.
Start with the easiest commands and tricks. You already got your dog to respond to his name? That is a good start. That is the easiest command on the list. Next steps include the following commands:
- Leave it
Of course, as we progress, we will get to more difficult commands and tasks for your puppy, especially the part we talked about – going potty in a special spot.
Remember to be prepared. Set a family reunion so you know everyone is on board. Get your research done and we are always there to help you along the way with a series of articles.
It is not a race, and it will be easier than you think if you keep working on your schedules and treat your puppy with love, patience and understanding.
The first thing to have in mind is that dog training is a responsibility of every dog owner and makes life easier for both the family, and your puppy. By the end of the first few months, you will have a well behaved, happy and healthy dog.
Sitting is a relatively easy command to teach your dog. Many experienced trainers teach, it is the first command on the list. If you understand how to teach a dog to sit pretty, it will give you a jump start. You can then start developing a profound relationship with your dog. Set him/her in the mood of learning new stuff and give you the role of the leader.
The Importance of Language
As you may know, the first thing to do is to teach your dog to respond to his name, in other words, to pay attention to you. This can also be achieved by your overall attitude: body language, speech and tone. Dogs are smart creatures but it is important that you use short words, a clear tone and gestures that can help the dog associate your movement to the command. At the beginning of every training session, get your dog’s attention by using all these elements mentioned, and always keep a bag of tasty treats, as dogs learn with positive reinforcements.
In order to teach your dog how to sit, you must follow simple steps that are very easy for both you and your pet. Simply put you need to:
- Get a treat in your hand and make your dog move around following your hand, then stop and place your hand over his head. The dog will sit, by instinct.
- As soon as the dog sits say as clear as you can “sit”. When the butt of the dog touches the floor try using a positive voice reinforcement like “good!” or “good boy!”. Be happy about it.
- Immediately after you do this, give the dog the treat that is in your hand.
- Repeat a few times, you will notice that the dog will obey to the “sit” command much faster than at the beginning
Try not to repeat the command more than once each time, so the dog gets used to obeying at the first time he is asked to do something. Also, keep your body language calm to ensure your dog does not get confused and understands that he is following orders and not playing. Ensure a fast sequence between the voice command, the voice reinforcement and the treat, so your dog gets conditioned to follow orders.
Once you managed to get your dog to master the first step, it is time to make him understand that he is not going to get a treat every time he follows the sit command. To do this you just have to make a few changes to the previous step. Every two or three times he sits, give him a treat. The rest of the times just say “good” or “good boy” and give him a gentle touch. This is because the dog will associate the verbal positive reinforcement with the promise of a treat, and eventually he will understand that he must follow the command and he will get a reward now or later.
Sit and Stay
Once your dog follows the sit command, you can condition him to stay longer in the position just by making a few changes to the previous step. In order to achieve this, increase the time between the verbal positive recognition (“good boy”) and the treat, but put another command in the middle (“stay” or “done” to either start a new or finish the last command), that way your dog will not confuse sitting with staying and breaking position. To put it easier, follow these steps:
- Ask your dog to sit. Once he dog sits say “good” or “good boy” a few times, for two or three seconds, and then break position by saying “break” or “free” or whatever word works best for you to let your dog know that he does not need to remain in this position.
- Try to think of a word that will not usually be used in other contexts besides ending the sit command.
- You can also try saying “sit” and once the dog sits, say “stay” and using another hand gesture for this command, like placing your hand open in front of the dog.
- Keep the dog in the stay position for a few seconds and then break by saying “free” and giving him a treat.
- Keep repeating this sequence, increasing the duration until you are satisfied.
Remember to use gesture at the beginning of every new command and eventually your dog will understand that both the words and your body language refer to the same command. Eventually these can be used independently with the same result.
Increase Distance and Time
As with the last part of the previous step, it is important to not only increase the time your dog stays sitting but also the distance that you can put between you and your dog. This is simply achieved by slowly moving apart while saying “stay”. Eventually your dog will stay longer no matter how close or far you are from him. Always remember to keep rewarding him for following instructions. Try to make training something that you do everyday for a few minutes a few times a day with your dog, and he will learn within weeks to follow the essential commands.
Do you have a new furry family member? Share the story of your dog! We would love to hear from you.