5 Positive Training Techniques for Your Puppy

puppy eating a treat while sitting

So, you've brought home a new furry member of the family. Now what? Training a new puppy might seem daunting, but with patience, consistency, and a lot of love, you’ll set yourself up to raise a well-behaved and happy pup. Get started by doing a bit of learning yourself, beginning with these training techniques for your puppy.

1. Start early and stay positive

Just like human children, puppies are like sponges when it comes to learning. Start training as early as possible – as soon as you bring them home. Early positive experiences will help shape their behaviour and build trust between you and your pup.

Using fear or punishment to train your puppy might get quick results, but it can damage the trust and bond between you and your pup. Instead of scolding or punishing, focus on redirecting unwanted behaviour and rewarding the behaviour you want.

2. Remember, timing is everything

Imagine trying to learn a new skill when you're tired or hungry – it wouldn't be very effective, right? The same goes for your pup. Choose moments when your puppy is well-exercised, alert, and ready to learn.

Short, focused training sessions of about 5-10 minutes a few times a day are much more effective than long, exhausting ones.

When your puppy does something correctly, reward them immediately. This helps them associate the action with a positive outcome. Over time, they'll understand which behaviours lead to good things and will be more likely to repeat them.

3. Use plenty of treats

Treats are like magical incentives in the world of puppy training. Use small, tasty treats to reward your pup for doing something right. It could be sitting, coming when called, or mastering an adorable trick.

Make sure the treats are something your puppy loves. This may even include human food that’s safe for pets in those special moments. Just remember that treats can add up in caloric content, leading to a potentially unhealthy diet. It could even affect their appetite for mealtime.

Pro-tip: Check the bag before buying to find treats with the right serving size for your pup. Many shops carry low-calorie training treats made just for this purpose.

4. Give clear commands

Dogs don't understand our language, so keep your commands short and sweet. Use the same word for the same action every time, like "sit" instead of "sit down."

It's natural for us to speak to each other with flexibility, but this clarity helps your pup connect the command to the action you want.

5. Stay consistent

Dogs thrive on routine and consistency. If you're teaching your pup not to jump on the couch, make sure everyone in the family follows the same rule. Conflicting messages can confuse your puppy and slow down the training process.

You’ll also want to make sure that members of your household are on the same page when it comes to their training.

Imagine if you were learning a new skill, and everyone around you had different rules and expectations. It would be pretty confusing, right? Consistency in commands, rewards, and expectations will make the learning process smoother for your pup.

You’re in for a treat

Whether it’s a command that keeps your dog safe and well-behaved or a trick like “high-five” just for fun, remember that puppy training is a journey, not a destination.

Celebrate small victories, and don't be discouraged by setbacks. Your puppy is eager to learn, so be patient with them and lead with positivity. They’ll be sitting, staying, twirling, and shaking in no time.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your furry friend can learn and grow into a well-mannered, loving member of your family. So, grab their favourite treats, put on your most enthusiastic voice, and get ready for some tail-wagging training fun!

Written by: Dylan M. Austin
Reviewed by: Dr. Jennifer Sperry, DVM