It’s an exciting time when you get a new puppy home. Everyone wants to pamper the puppy with new things such as toys, treats, beds, fancy clothes, etc. Among all the fussing, it’s also important to understand importance of training the puppy & starting early. Here’s more on house training your pup.
Training is an art of communicating with animals. As a pet parent, it’s our responsibility to teach them how to behave in the home, around people, etc. Some normal doggy behaviour can’t be acceptable in our perfectly social world, such as toilet habits, chewing, barking, digging, etc. That’s why we need to teach our puppies what is acceptable and what is not. Training is the best way to teach your pet good manners and avoid any behaviour issues.
Right age to start
It’s always better to start the training as early as possible, once the puppy comes to your home. The best time for the puppies to learn new things is between 3-4 months of age. Even when the puppy is not fully vaccinated, one can always start basic training at home such as toilet training, controlling teething issues, getting used to wearing a collar & leash. It’s better to teach them good habits from the beginning rather than worrying about bad behaviour later. If you are taking help from a professional trainer, it’s always good to ask them to provide guidance on basic habits which you can practice at home and then start more formal training once the puppy is fully vaccinated.
Tips for toilet training
At the age of 3-4 months, it’s natural for puppy to pee 15 – 20 times and poop 3-4 times in a day. It’s also normal to pee little quantity frequently. You need to give him place to pee in the house as well as outside, at least for 2-3 more months. As he grows his peeing will reduce and he will have better body control.
- Every pet parent must start toilet training from the pup’s 1st day at home.
- Decide pup’s food quantity and timing (as per your vet’s advice) and maintain that routine for days to follow. This will help you understand pup’s body routine. Fix his food timing and accordingly observe his toilet habits for a week to 10 days (you can note it down as well).
- Pet parents need to decide a particular area for puppy to pee and poop and let the puppy have access to it on regular intervals. Set up 2/3 toilet training spots inside the house, mostly in rooms which he has access to.
- You can use newspapers, doormats, old clothes, puppy pads, etc. Soak the paper in his urine and keep it in the designated area for a few minutes every day, thus that spot can get his smell. Smell of the puppy’s urine and surface of the designated area play an important role in toilet training. Puppies prefer to pee at a spot where they can smell their own urine and also prefer different textured surface other than home tiles.
- Praising the puppy at the right time i.e. when he decides to pee in the right spots, increases the chances of the puppy learning faster. If the puppy makes any mistake, please avoid harsh methods such as locking pup in the bathroom, rubbing the pup’s nose in the pee. These acts can only make the puppy scared of you but doesn’t teach him anything about toilet training. Initially avoid pushing him to the bathroom, etc that won’t help.
- Encourage him verbally to pee around the designated area. It means saying ‘Good boy’ every time he pees on that spot or at least closer to that.
- If you catch him in the act of peeing in the wrong place, only then verbally scold him but do not hit him. Don’t yell at him if you notice this after he has peed. This scolding will not help at all.
- Look for his body signs i.e. he may start sniffing floor, scratching, turning round, etc. As soon as he shows any signs take him to the designated pee area or encourage him to go closer to that.
- Usually puppies pee after they eat, get up from sleep, after playing/running around for few minutes, etc.
- When you are out of the house, it’s better to give him access to only particular part of the house and keep a pee spot in that area as well.
- Follow this for at least 2-3 weeks to notice any changes in his behaviour. It will happen gradually so don’t expect quick results. Your patience and regular timely praise will help achieve results faster.
- Together with this you have to give him 2-3 walks outside, so continue with your current routine.
Tips to control
- Understand that teething is a natural process and all pups will go through this phase no matter what breed or gender.
- Use toys (wherein you can put food) to keep the puppy occupied. Using food from pup’s daily diet can be very useful.
- Giving the puppy access to limited areas in the house can help to stop damage to furniture.
- While interacting with puppy, it’s necessary not to encourage biting of hands, clothes,
Tips to perfect
- Consult your vet about pup’s daily diet.
- Fix quantity of each portion and maintain regular feeding times.
- Do not encourage begging or stealing human food.
- Strictly do not encourage hand feeding.
- Do not entertain fussy eating habits.
- Take professional help to teach your pup to be calm around food.
Tips for making play
time always a fun time
- Daily play sessions are very important for each puppy.
- Keep them short and interesting.
- Use variety of textures in
toys such as rubber, wood, plastic, etc.
- Pet parent’s presence and involvement is very important during these play sessions or else pups can get bored of the same toys very soon.
- Do not encourage pups to play with old shoes, door mats, etc. They may not understand difference between old and new stuffs and may continue to bite things which are otherwise off limits.
Tips to being comfy with
collar & leash
- Get puppy used to soft collar initially in the house, while he is still not allowed to go out for walks.
- Put the collar on and distract the puppy with something interesting i.e. during food time or play time.
- Put collar on only for small duration initially and then gradually increase time.
- It’s normal for puppy to scratch the collar and feel uncomfortable for initial few days. He will get used to it eventually.
- Once the puppy is used to wearing collar, put the leash on and get him used to walking on leash for few minutes every day.
- Use well fitted and gentle collar and leash. Never choke chains or hard metal collars.
Tips to control
- Practice ‘being alone time’ when the puppy is tired or sleepy i.e. after walk/meal.
- Make this quiet time part of pup’s daily routine and not only when you have to actually go out of the home.
- Start by leaving puppy alone in separate room while you are still in the house. This will help build pup’s confidence gradually and pet parents can supervise the activity as well.
- Do not encourage puppy to follow you everywhere in the house all the time. This only makes the puppy over attached to you.
- Give lots of chew toys while leaving puppy alone to keep him occupied. For example, Kong!
- It’s pet parent’s responsibility to first teach puppy to be alone and not to expect miracles without putting any efforts.
It’s always better to get professional help from the beginning. You should consult your trusted vet and a genuine professional trainer if you have any doubts. It’s beneficial to take help of professionals at early age rather than to consult them only when the behaviour issues start popping up. Pet parents’ involvement in every vet visit and training session is also very important.
Happy pet parenting!!!
(Pooja Sathe runs CRAZY K9 CAMPERS in Mumbai providing pets and pet parents unique opportunities to spend quality time together through weekend pet camps).