- Please be sure to enroll your puppy in a CREDIBLE dog class in your area! The
invaluable experience of a reputable trainer along with the experience of socialization, working under distraction, structured learning, objective evaluation and someone to ask questions and learn from. Even the most experienced owners, handlers and breeders
will attend dog classes. Practice makes perfect!
- The typical STAR Puppy / Kindergarten training class consists of : (STAR Puppy classes are intended for dogs under 12 months of age)
- 7 weeks of training meeting once a week.
- The classes are fun socialization
opportunities and geared around basic training and support for new dog owners.
- They will require proof of current vaccinations (many will only require at least 2 DHPP vaccines), aggressive
dogs are usually not permitted (private classes necessary), a proper leash and collar (the trainer will usually go over which type of collar they want you to use in the first class).
- My top recommendation is to find an AKC affiliated training club near you. Find them here : http://www.apps.akc.org/apps/clubs/search/index.cfm
- If there are no AKC clubs near you available, your city / town will most likely have a class offered through the Parks & Recreation Department, also look into private trainers / training facilities in the area that
are not AKC affiliated. Also, if nothing else, your local pet retail stores like Petco and PetSmart will offer puppy classes.
The basics are simple commands and simple manners, they should be taught from the beginning. This is the foundation for you and your dog :
– recall is necessary, especially if you plan to do any off-leash adventuring, you want to ensure that you can get your dog to come back to you.
- Watch – a basic command
that you will find invaluable for training. Teaching eye contact focus and attention from your dog. Having your dog know the “watch” or “look” command, at any time and any place will ensure that you can regain your dogs focus.
- Leave It
- Drop It
- All basic manners like : no jump, no bark, no biting or mouthing, staying off furniture, no chewing, etc.
Good Citizen – CGC
The CGC test should be a minimum goal for any dog owner, not only for training their dog, but also ensuring your dog is socially acceptable (many rental
agencies require dogs to complete this title in order to gain entrance to a home, as well as many home owners insurance companies take this into mind when providing insurance and sometimes this will decrease your premiums)
The test covers :
- Accepting a friendly stranger
- Sitting politely
- Appearance and grooming
- Walking loose on lead
- Walking through a crowd
- Sit & down on command and staying in place
- Reaction to another dog
- Reaction to distraction
- Supervised separation
It is my hope and desire that each of my puppies receive this minimal level of training. I don’t require all of them
to attain the actual certificate or title (although it is a desire), but to be trained to this level so that they are a respectable member of not only their household, but their community and are the best possible representation of my breeding program and
Crate & kennel training is a must even if you plan to have your dog free inside your
home. They need to be acclimated to a crate or kennel for many reasons, I have outlined the most prevalent :
- Potty training : most of the time, when a puppy is taken outside at
the proper increments, they will not want to potty in their sleeping area.
- Safe & Secure : providing a safe space for your dog while you can not directly supervise them, thus
preventing them from getting into things that are undesired. Remember they are puppies and get into everything!
- Private Space : a place to call their own, an escape from guests and
overwhelming situations / people, or simply a place to relax at their own leisure.
- Separation Anxiety : aides in the prevention of, they learn that it is okay to be alone at times,
without the flip out of “where’s my mom / dad?!?!?!”
- Boarding : if at any time you need to go out of town and they must be kenneled at a boarding facility, they
will need to be acclimated to 1) being in a kennel and 2) being away from their owner(s).
- Travel : it is safer for a dog to be in a kennel or behind a barrier while in the care.
- Illness / Injury : if they need to be at a vets office or on restricted activity they will need to be “okay” with being kenneled until they are better / healed.
- Separation : if they need to be temporarily separated from other dogs or animals in the house (i.e. in season, etc.)
a puppy isn’t familiarized and properly trained with a crate from the very beginning, they will most likely panic and potentially injure themselves if a crate is used later on.
- Ensure to always use the appropriate size crate that fits your dog comfortably
- Acclimate and reward your dog
for good crate behavior. Award for proper in and out behavior and staying quiet while in the crate.
- Be sure to offer chews, water and comfortable bedding (safe items only that are
NOT a choking hazard)
- Use the crate as punishment, you don’t
want them to associate the crate as “bad”. It should be a safe place.
- Leave your dog in its crate if it has had an accident, often times we think that we can teach them
a “lesson” not to potty in the create / house by leaving them in their own mess, that is animal cruelty.
- Do not acknowledge your puppy’s cries when you are first
training them to be crate trained. They will learn that if they are obnoxious enough with their whining / barking / crying they will be “rewarded” by being let out. SOMETIMES they will cry in an effort to inform you that they need to go potty,
best thing to do is to use your best judgment. If they just went out, then it is simply because they don’t want to be in the crate.
- Consistent schedule, take them to go potty first thing in the morning (before breakfast), after each meal, SEVERAL times throughout the day and the very last thing before they go to bed,
and sometimes in the middle of the night if they are too young to physically hold it (puppies can not learn to hold it until after 12 weeks of age). You may need to pick them up and carry them outside in the beginning, so they don’t accidentally potty
in the house on the way out.
- Choose an area in your yard that you wish for him / her to potty in, this way they know that there is an expectation of using this as the potty area.
- Ensure that your puppy is healthy, it is unfair to expect a puppy that is unwell to control themselves. If you suspect an issue, contact your vet right away.
- Supervision is necessary! Watch them like a hawk! If you see them squatting, circling, sniffing in a circle, lifting leg, etc. immediately redirect them outside BEFORE it happens. They will have accidents in the house,
this is inevitable, but how you handle it will play a key role in their overall potty training.
- When they willingly go outside (via doggy door or open door) or “tell”
you that they need to go potty, then actually do so, give them so much praise that they think they won the doggy lottery! We want them to understand that potty is for outside only. If you CATCH THEM IN THE ACT of going potty inside the house or in an undesirable
place, quickly and immediately say NO and redirect them to the proper area.
- If they have an accident and you find it LATER, even minutes, you CANNOT scold them for it. They will not
make the connection that they did something bad, they will only feel in trouble for something that they don’t understand.
- Provide a bell at the SAME DOOR or a doggy door, listen
for whining – anything that they do that may indicate that they need to go outside.
- Keep fresh water available at all times and ensure that they know where it is located. You
may need to restrict water access in the evening time specifically for young puppies.
- REMINDER – if you take your puppy to a friend’s house, or a new location they may
not know the “potty spot” and may have an accident. Simply watch for indicators that he / she may need to go outside and excuse yourself and take care of him / her.
or nervous peeing “Piddling” is not related to potty training. It will need to be addressed differently and getting angry with them will not help.
- This is going to sound
strange but watch the quality of your dog’s poop. What it looks like can tell you a lot of things, like if your dog is sick, or if they ate something they shouldn’t have eaten, runny stools may indicate that they are sick or have a sensitivity
to their food. Also watch for worms / seeds / larvae / eggs in their stools as this will indicate an intestinal parasite infection that needs to be treated.
- Watch your dog for proper
urination. If he / she is squatting to go but nothing comes out or is needing to go more frequently then normal this may be indicative of a bladder / urinary tract infection that will need to be treated right away.