Training a puppy-fact or fiction it can be done

Training a puppy; fact or fiction that it is possible? Fact, and here are some tips:

A. Get a crate. It makes house-training incredibly easy. Always use it as a happy place, not a time out place for behavior that gets you upset. If they start to urinate in the cage, either you are leaving them in there too long or you need to remove all absorbent stuff so they learn to hold it a bit longer.

B. Let your puppy sleep in your bedroom, at least for the first few nights. This whole experience is scary for a pup. Don’t make him sleep in the laundry room. Put the crate next to your bed so you can reassure

C. Baby gates are your friend. Use them to keep the puppy out of places you don’t want him to destroy.

D. Supervise, supervise, supervise. If you cannot watch him like a hawk, he needs to be in his crate or in his “room” (see below). To me, one of the best things you can do is to put noise on the dog so you can tell where he/she is all the time; use a jingle bell. The adage “When you don’t hear the jingling they're probably a- tinkling…”  holds true. Catching them in the act and taking them outside at that point can really turn the tide on house-training.

E. Set up a puppy room for when you can’t supervise. Pick a small area like the bathroom or kitchen and block it off with baby gates. Add a bed in one corner and pee pads or a dog “toilet” in another.

F. Pick a potty spot. If you don’t want Little Timmy pooping all over the yard as an adult, pick one area and take him directly there when it’s potty time.

G. Set a daily routine. House-training proceeds more smoothly if your puppy knows what to expect from her day. Dogs like routine.

H. Enroll in a puppy class. Your pup will learn some basic obedience, but the real benefit of puppy classes is socialization with other puppies and people.

I. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Not all advice is good advice. Take everything with a grain of salt.

J. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the puppy rules with your whole family. Figure out who will do what when. Pick one set of training cues and stick with them.

K. Dogs are best reinforced by one of 3 things - touch, praise and food. Learn what is key for your puppy and learn to time this in response to when they actually do what you want them to do. This might be accidental or not, but the timing is key - within 1 or 2 seconds of the behavior you want to reinforce and see often. This is the BASIS of training a dog; timing and reinforcement.

L. As to treats for reinforcement, I like anything squishy and soft. This gives the quickest taste response over a dry treat.

M. Their attention span is short so don’t overdo it. Always end training on a successful note whenever possible, so it is best to cut the training session short versus too long, as they tire quickly.

OK, enough for now. Just remember “bad” behavior in a puppy is best dealt with by ignoring it (no reinforcement at all - good or bad) and good behavior is the only thing that gets a pet, allows the dog to receive food or gets verbal praise. Lastly, the food bowl is always an opportunity to have the dog do a trick, thus you are teaching. Early training has life long