The Importance of Puppy Training

Training
Teaching your puppy to come while he is young can prevent tragedy later.
What’s the most important thing you can do for a new puppy? Of course, you will take care of his or her health care including vaccinations and spaying/neutering, but your top priority beyond health care should be training. Until you can be confident that your dog will come every single time you call him or her, your dog remains at risk.

Yes, it’s nice if your dog can roll over, shake hands, and sit up to beg, but it is absolutely vital that your dog reliably come when you call. If your dog is chasing a squirrel or running after a car, you stand absolutely no chance of catching him or her before tragedy ensues. However, if the dog will return to you when you call no matter what else is going on, you can keep the dog safe.

Since puppies tend to get into more trouble than most adult dogs, you must start when the dog is very young to provide the most protection. Keep in mind that puppies have very short attention spans, so you need to keep training sessions short and fun. Your puppy will naturally come to you when he or she sees you, so you can begin training by simply having someone hold your puppy while you walk a few feet away.

Training
Since puppies tend to get into more trouble than most adult dogs, you must start when the dog is very young.

Say the dog’s name and the command “come”, then have the person release your dog. The dog will more than likely come running to you, at which time you should give him or her overwhelming praise and perhaps even a small treat. Tell the dog, “[name], good come!” This reinforces the sound of the command and relates it to the action the dog just performed. Practice this a few times every day, gradually increasing the distance between you and dog before giving the command.

Once your dog is really good at this, add a distraction such as a toy very close to the path between you and the dog. Even if the dog stops to pick up the toy, he or she should continue in your general direction. If he or she doesn’t come when you call, go retrieve the dog and bring him or her to the spot where you were standing before rewarding with praise. You might want to eliminate the treat if you have to do the retrieving.

In the next newsletter, we’ll cover the second most important command, “leave it.”

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