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Slowly does it with puppies

I am getting lots of messages from puppy owners asking for help. Some of the pups they talk about are no more than 10 weeks old. Already owners have them sitting, lying down, shaking hands and are concerned that their puppy pulls on the lead.

This is way too much for a dog under 16 weeks old. Young puppies have the concentration span of a gnat and formal training should be started only when the pup has developed sufficiently to enable him to focus.

Rather than teach your puppy tricks, the early weeks are better spent fostering the right kind of relationship. All puppies like to have a strong leader. In the dog world strong leadership means security, weak leadership means quite the opposite.

Dogs living without leadership develop all kinds of unwanted behaviour, such as dominance, nervousness, aggression.

Start by establishing house rules like staying off the furniture and bed, no teeth on skin at any time, no jumping up. If you have more than six house rules you have too many. Keep it simple.

Let your dog know that you set the agenda. You decide when games start and stop. This is a good time to commence house training. Contrary to public opinion, dogs hate soiling their own space so do not allow your puppy to wander all over the house, or you will find him relieving himself behind the sofa or curtains.

Dogs have a great body clock and if you have a consistent routine, taking him outside at set intervals he will soon learn the rhythm.

Don’t bother with the “naughty” step, they don’t understand it. If he messes up in the house, just clean up and do more work on your toilet training routine.

If you can start a new puppy class with a young dog that can sit quietly at your side and show you some respect, you have fulfilled your goal.

Formal training comes later.

More training tips on my website: vicbarlow.com 

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