One of the most exciting times in a dog owner’s life is when we get a new puppy or dog. In these videos, I hope that I’ve given you some practical strategies and advice for helping you to help your dog or puppy reach their full potential as a good canine citizen. It’s important to remember that from the moment you bring your new puppy or dog home, he’s watching you and learning how to live in your world. Training happens whether you are aware of it or not, so it’s up to you to be training what it is you want. One of the things you need to learn is to see everything you do with your dog as a training opportunity. It’s also important to remember that socialization and exposure shouldn’t end when your puppy comes out of that critical socialization period around 16 weeks. You need to continue taking him to different environments, and new and different experiences his entire life.

It’s important to understand that you can incorporate training into your everyday life. We use lots of food rewards when we’re in the teaching phase of training. So getting into the habit of every time you give your puppy a food reward for something that you like, tell him your reward marker word, “yes” , in this example before you give it, and that’s the beginning of your marker word training process. Your puppy is building up the bridge between that word and the delivery of food right from the very start, and if you remember, that’s how we wean food away.

When you’re training your puppy to wait calmly in his crate or in a doorway when you open them, you’re teaching him a few things. You’re teaching him to look for you for leadership and guidance, and you’re also teaching him impulse control, which is very, very important. Getting him to sit and wait for his dinner is another way of teaching impulse control and getting him to learn to listen and look to you for guidance.

Walking him around on a lead without expecting anything of him other than to follow you is the very start of teaching him to walk on a lead with you for loose lead walking. It also builds up your relationship with him. You can also start teaching your puppy to toilet on command, right from the very start. So every time he goes to go to the toilet, tell him the word that you’ve chosen, whether it be wee, or toilet, or whatever that word is so that he starts associating that word with his action of toileting. That way in the future when you say that word, he’ll know exactly what it is you’re asking of him.

Many puppies after they’ve toileted will be really happy. So if you can make yourself inviting, get his attention, and get him moving towards you, you can then tell him “come”, which is the start of his recall training. Everything that you’re doing with your puppy every day is building on what you want to achieve in the future. If you reward your puppy for everything you like, then your puppy will do those things in the future more often. At the end of the day, you’ll have the best dog that you’ve ever wanted.