How to Train a Puppy

Well, thanks to Bluma we have made it to a credible discussion about how to train a puppy. When I adopted Bluma she was all of Three months old. This is great because at the very beginning puppies are helpless and need their mother.  Once they become aware of the world and become mobile they begin to learn to be dogs.  Our focus is on training and communication with your pup. So, three months is a good starting point. Even before this point the very first lesson they learn is who is the boss.

Have you ever watch a littler of pups feed from their mother? you will notice that some pups are more assertive and aggressive they tend to be the first to feed and soon begin taking charge of were they eat and who else gets to eat. The point, one of the first lessons is dominance. If you continue to watch this communication progress you will see that the pups will soon find their place from the strongest to the weakest. The order that your puppy falls in this hierarchy is key to how your pup will see its self and behave in future  situations . There are theories of how to intervene in these situations but, this is another post for another day.

As I mentioned Bluma is a very confident dominate dog.  She learned from day one that if she controlled food water toys and territory she would be the boss.  Now some of the problems with just letting this behavior go unchecked is obvious.  One concern is that she is not big enough to back up her attitude. Two, attempts to dominate in the animal world means that if you challenge this assertion of dominance Bluma will fight. This is how she won with her siblings so why not do what has worked up too know. This means that if you are the one challenging her dominance you are the one who will be bitten.

A common mistake with small breed dogs is to think this is cute and to ignore it. Well, bigger dogs are also dogs and when they say they are the boss and your little dog challenges that your little dog will lose. Dogs are animals they solve problems in animal ways. Our job since we are suppose to be the smart ones is to learn their behavior and help them learn how to be successful with us and other dogs.  With larger dogs even pups can soon put a hurt on you so, people pick up on the fact that this is going to be a problem. This is a good time to get some professional help. In either case the solution is to teach your dog that you are the boss.

Now remember this is a puppy, be gentile, redirect behavior, restrain and calm. Never hit or be abusive even if you have a large breed dog. You will regret the results in the future if you do.  I like to take a few things into consideration when training puppies.

1. remember puppies have almost no attention span. be patient train in short periods and give lots of loving play breaks.

2. Do not underestimate your puppies abilities. Puppies begin learning from day one. If you want your puppy to stay.  Don’t fall for the puppy eyes they can do it.  Don’t expect them to be able to stay for extended periods of time as older dogs can but don’t underestimate. Start with very short times and gradually build.  Bluma could sit, heal and was working on stay one week after we got her. She is now, working on more advanced social skills and challenges. We are very proud of her.

3. Here is a tip I have only heard here at Motley Dog Dog Training. …. Make sure you dog or puppy knows when you are serious and when you are not. Sounds crazy but, I have worked with Motley and Bluma on this and it is not only very effective but necessary if you want your dog to consistently and accurately communicate with you.

Dogs are masters of non-verbal communication. They can also be taught by you, facial  expressions that communication messages to them. (Garnand, Jeau 2013)  The most useful are:

I am serious

I am disappointed

I am playing

Yep, you can practice these expressions with your dog while correcting their response until Hey, my dog knows I am serious.

Well this is a good start.


More to come

Motley & Jeau