Your irresistably cute new puppy is now home with you, and it's time to begin the necessary puppy training. As with any youngster, puppy training takes patience & time, with lots of praise to help it along.
House training a puppy is probably the first thing most people focus on, and with good reason. Once your pup is reliably housebroken, you can concentrate on teaching him other commands without worrying that every time you turn around, he'll be spritzing the floor for you - or worse!
Puppy pad training is one method of housebreaking a puppy. Puppy pads are absorbent, leak-proof, and specially scented pads that encourage puppies to use them when they need to eliminate. These pads help to simplify housebreaking, plus they can be moved outdoors to help teach pups to eliminate outside.
If you've never used puppy pads before, you may be wondering how well they work. Most work very well - they absorb liquid quickly, and they hold a lot of it too, thus protection your floors. That's not to say that your puppy will automatically know what to do. You will still need to show them the pads and praise them when they use them. Give them time to understand what you expect of them!
See the housetraining tips below for general information on housebreaking your puppy - the same tips apply to the use of puppy pads. Remember, lots of praise!
Puppy pads can also be used when you think you'll be gone for an extended time and won't be able to get home to give your puppy his usual bathroom break.
You can certainly housebreak a puppy without the use of puppy pads. And some people believe it's easier to skip the pads and teach your puppy to eliminate outside right away... that way you won't have to transition your puppy from the pads to the outdoors, an extra step in the training process. Either way, you will need to show your puppy where he's expected to eliminate, then add generous doses of praise and patience.
Every time your pup wakes up or finishes eating, immediately take him outside and praise him lavishly when he does his business. Say a verbal cue like, 'Go potty!' whenever he eliminates so that he comes to understand what you want him to do.
You'll need to learn the 'signals' that show that your puppy needs to go out - for example, some will starting energetically sniffing the ground, others may start to cicle... at which point, whisk them outside immediately and wait for them to go, then praise them!
Accidents will probably happen indoors. If or when they do and you don't see it happen, don't make a big deal of it - just clean it up and ignore it. Punishment will only confuse your puppy (and make him think that he shouldn't eliminate in the house when you're around). If you catch him in the act, cheerfully interrupt him if you can and take him outside to finish. Then praise, praise, praise!
Of course, training isn't just limited to housebreaking - teaching your new four-legged fuzzy pal the appropriate house manners is just as important. Things that come naturally to dogs are also things that humans often don't appreciate (think: rolling in something disgusting, then happily rubbing against a favorite piece of furniture in the house). But dogs need to be taught - in a positive way! - what the rules are. Start right away with a puppy ... some common things that can be taught include how to stop barking in his crate; stop biting or nipping; and leash training your puppy. Even stubborn puppies can be trained!
Puppy training definitely requires patience and commitment. A new puppy is a real joy to have around - lots of work, but lots of love, too! Spending time with your new pet and teaching him the appropriate "doggy manners" is an investment that will pay off with a well-mannered friend for many years to come.