1. Training starts from the day your puppy arrives. The largest brain development for a dog occurs during the imprinting period from 8-16 weeks, take advantage of it.
  2. Start by loading up your marker. The marker is the link between the command and the reward. Once the dog is conditioned to the marker, you are effectively taking a photo of the command just completed and matching it with the reward. The marker is the word “yes” or a clicker.
  3. The earlier you start either crate or place training, the more effective it becomes. Dogs are den animals are need an area where they feel safe and free of their instinctual fear of predators. If done correctly, the crate or bed can be set up within one or two days.
  4. Dogs understand non-verbal cues easier than verbal cues. Always match your obedience commands with a hand signal or sound. I don’t use a vocal command until the dog is starting to understand what the command is.
  5. There is huge debate over if and how many words dogs understand. The number of words understood varies greatly according to a variety of research documents. One thing is certain, dogs respond to the tone of your voice. Therefore, your voice infliction is extremely important. Monotone commands are extremely hard for the dog to understand.
  6. Engagement is the key to developing a focussed, enthusiastic dog. Put simply, engagement in dog training is your dog wants what you have and will enthusiastically interact with you to get it. These interactions if fully engaged will be behaviours already learnt by your dog. Reward your dog when they complete obedience commands without your direction. They will keep doing it if rewarded.
  7. When loading up the various commands for your puppy, ensure you master the commands before adding too much stimulus. In saying that, it is important to vary the locations around the house or training area in which you practice. No good being the master of the recall in the lounge room but unable to engage your dog in other areas around the house.
  8. Socialisation for our puppies is hugely important if you want to create a calm, well balanced dog rather than a reactive one. Start by exposing your dog to all environments on walks, play with other dogs and interact with family and friends. The early experiences of your puppy will shape their personality, how they interact and deal with stress. Expose them to different distractions, sounds and surfaces. Use a gradual approach to the level of exposure, too much stimulus can create stress and have the opposite affect you are after. Remember dogs are the masters of association, they match experiences with either positivity or negativity.
  9. Toilet training is easier to manage if you have a structured routine with your puppy. During the day, your puppy will empty approximately every 1 to 1.5 hours. This will gradually increase over the course of the first two months at home. If your dog soils inside the house, remember that pheromones are released and leave a scent post. The dog is instinctively drawn to this post and is triggered by involuntary reflexes. Therefore, it is important that you thoroughly clean these posts and if needed block these areas off. Use these pheromones to your advantage outside. Place your puppy in the same area as previous visits, your dog will instinctively empty in these areas. Repeat a command word for emptying and then mark and reward your dog when emptying. Before you know it, your dog will be emptying on command.
  10. Keep your puppy fully engaged by making sure your training sessions are fun, short, and sharp. Be happy and positive, dogs have an amazing ability to sense our emotions. If you are stressed, fair chance your dog will be too. Remember you can shape your dog’s personality during this developmental period. Enjoy your time with your puppy.