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How to train a puppy and when to start?
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How to train a puppy and when to start?

It's tempting to spoil a puppy and be swayed by its adorable appearance when you bring it home, but this can occasionally hinder training efforts, say experts

 

Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health

“Training and taking care of a puppy is like bringing up a human child,” says Rakesh Kumar Prasad, a dog trainer in Hyderabad. Patience and a thorough understanding of the pet are necessary. He says, “Each month in a dog’s life is roughly equivalent to one human year. A pet requires similar care to how you would care for a child.”

Rajdeep, a dog trainer in Delhi, adds that it is better to seek advice from a vet before bringing home a puppy to understand the kind of responsibilities that come along with it. “You can also speak to other pet parents about their dogs to understand different dog behaviors before making a decision,” he says.

How to train a puppy at home?

He suggests selecting a breed based on the available space and the floor level of your flat. According to him, higher floors are better suited for smaller breeds, as staying on an elevated floor might limit socialization opportunities and potentially lead to increased aggression in dogs.

Experts say training and socializing for the pets should begin at four or five months of age, following their vaccinations. Effective dog training involves encouragement, appreciation, and discouragement, adds Prasad. If the dog does something good that you’d like them to continue doing, encourage them by indulging in some activity. If they do something unpleasant and not appreciative, make it evident to them with the tone of your voice, facial expressions or body language. He asserts that non-abusive communication fosters a responsive relationship with the dog. As they pick on the energy within the household, it is important to maintain calm, he adds.

What is the first thing you should train your puppy for?

The first thing that they should be taught, he says, is basic hygiene and hence, toilet training. The owner should know when they need to take their pet outside for nature’s call. Usually, it’s immediately after their meal. It is better to get them used to pooping outside as the walks can be a good exercise for both the owner’s and pet’s health. “The dogs usually poop within 10 to 15 minutes once you take them on a stroll but initially, it might take longer. As you keep repeating the process with patience, they’ll learn soon,” he adds. 

They can also be taught initially to follow commands like sit, fetch, crawl, roll, handshake and stay. “The recall command is important. They should be taught to walk properly on a leash. They should be trained to walk when you walk and stay when you stop. They should be able to understand and do so even if they are off the leash,” he adds.

It’s tempting to spoil a puppy and be swayed by its adorable appearance when you bring one home, and this can occasionally hinder training efforts if you opt for a do-it-yourself approach.  Rajdeep says, “If you excessively pamper the dog with an abundance of hugs and kisses, their ability to learn commands may be limited to just a few. Training a pet goes beyond watching online videos; it requires practical knowledge and hands-on experience.”

How long does it take to train a puppy?

Training duration typically ranges from four to six months or even longer, depending on the dog’s temperament and personality. Therefore, cultivating patience is crucial. While treats may be necessary initially, it’s advisable to gradually reduce their use to prevent the dog from developing a habit of expecting treats for every task. Seeking professional assistance, especially in the early stages, allows the owner to observe and learn, facilitating continued training at home. All the family members and the household help, if they are the ones taking care of the dogs more often, should speak to the trainer and learn how to handle the pet,” he says.

A good training can help your pet learn basic commands and understand what behavior is right and wrong. “They also need to be educated like a human child,” says Prasad. Ultimately, it should be a win-win situation for both the dog and the owner. The pet should enjoy the whole training and not feel like a burden.

Takeaways

  • The training for a puppy should begin at the age of four or five months, following their vaccinations.
  • They can then be made to socialize so that they don’t become aggressive.
  • Training is very important for a puppy as they learn basic commands and manners.
  • It requires a lot of patience. Some puppies can pick up soon while some might struggle.
  • Experts say it is best to seek professional help initially as training your pet can be difficult, especially when it is very likely that the owner might fall for their puppy eyes and pamper them a lot.
  • The pet should enjoy the training process and not feel like a burden.

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