Join our Wahroonga veterinary clinic for some awesome puppy training tips you won’t often hear.
Puppy training tips are all over the web. But what are the secrets to helping your puppy really sit up and take notice?
Here are some of the magic puppy training tips and tricks the team at Wahroonga veterinary clinic Fox Valley Animal Hospital get to grab your pup’s attention!
Hand feeding versus bowl feeding
One thing we know from working with thousands of pet patients at our Wahroonga veterinary clinic is puppies will do just about anything for food!
If your new pup is particularly responsive and eager at meal times, a great way to ensure the lessons stick is to hand feed as opposed to bowl feed your dog.
What do we mean by this? Well, the first connection your new puppy makes it with food as a reward. So by providing a bowl of food morning and night, they can feel like they are gaining a jackpot reward for no reason.
With a puppy that isn’t listening, a great way to counter this is portion out the same amount of kibble you would give them at meal time and pop it in a zip-lock sandwich bag. Carry it with you whenever you are with your pup. As you take them through things like “sit”, “come” and “stay” throughout the day, feed them their nutritious and delicious kibble in small portions.
That way, your pup learns new commands while grazing on kibble will stay more attentive for longer. This is great for allowing lessons to stick in your pup’s mind, while ensuring they don’t overload on treats.
Not all puppies are the same. Some can very boisterous, curious and playful. Sometimes, to the
point where you sometimes feel like the ears may be painted on! Excitable breeds such as Labradors, Stafforshire Bull Terriers and other very happy-go-lucky pups can get extremely excited and overwhelmed. Other puppies in class, new sounds and smells when out and about, or when meeting new people for the first time can throw even the best puppy training tips right out the window!
This excitement may cause them to play-bow, bark or even jump. All behaviours you don’t wish to encourage at random moments, especially when your dog is interacting with children later in life.
One very simple way to calm these moments of over-excitement is to give a gentle massage on the front chest of your dog. Use a soothing voice, massage the same way the fur travels down your pup’s body, and repeat a word like “gentle” so your pup associates not only the massage, but the calm feeling with the word. We use this technique and similar massaging pats at our Wahroonga veterinary clinic all the time.
The massage soothes the excited puppy, and can also transfer to a command in an adult dog by association. Like all things, practice makes the lesson stick. Not that we think your dog will mind!
Make bath time a game
We all know most dogs really aren’t keen on bath time. But starting the grooming and bathing process as a positive experience as early as possible can really help make bath time much more pleasant for you and your pup.
First rule of thumb, don’t get frustrated or pull and push your new pup near the water, under the hose or into the shower. Help them get used to the bathing experience by encouraging them slowly to get used to the feel of the water, any sounds associated like taps running, and the area you will be regularly bathing them in.
Puppies are very trusting, but can also be very stubborn. So make sure the bathing experience isn’t done at a time when you are time pressured so you can take that little bit more time allowing them to feel comfortable and in control. Try to ignore negative behaviours and praise positive steps so the overall experience seems happy.
Try using a favourite toy to encourage them to explore the water through fetch or bobbing games.
Always use a soothing tone and lots of praise. Combine massage into the shampooing of your puppy’s body, and for all positive behaviour, reward your pup with liver treats or a little chicken.
And if all else fails, remember the Pooch Parlour, which is attached to our Wahroonga veterinary clinic. You’d be amazed at some of the tricks groomers have learnt in keeping dogs happy and getting pups ready for bath time.
Take your pup where you go
You’ll often see dogs old and young in our Wahroonga veterinary clinic. It’s because our staff also realise the benefits of having your dog with you during the day and the places you go.
There are limitations to how much exercise your pup can have during the early stages due to their still forming hips and joints. However making an effort to take your pup along with you (post appropriate vaccinations of course!) can really help your pup feel connected to you, and therefore listen to you. Plus, it also readies your pup for all kinds of situations in later life.
Starting lead training early is a good idea, as is getting your pup used to the noise of vehicles on the road, passing pedestrians and bicycles. Introducing your pup to different kinds of walks as opposed to a set walk around the block can help you when you need to transport them later on. Not being startled by loud traffic noises and strange places helps with your dog’s confidence and aids with keeping you both walking safely.
Cafes and shops are also another place where you would like your dog to be on their best behaviour.
Taking your pup for short visits to dog friendly shops with treats at the ready teaches them to relax while you enjoy a coffee. And it means you’ll have far better luck with your dog behaving in social settings later where food scents are involved.
And if your workplace allows it, short visits to work in the early stages of puppy life (post toilet training) can be a great way to minimise the alone time at home.
So there you have our puppy training tips that you don’t often hear. What did you think? Have you tried any of these? What have you found that works for you?