This is the first in a series that will assist you with training your pets. This article will give you tips on how best to train your puppy. The second will discuss training your kitten.

I recently purchased another pug puppy which brings me to a total of four beautiful pugs. It’s a gorgeous little addition to the family, but with all that joy and excitement also comes a fair amount of hard work to get the little tyke prepared to live in a human household.

Puppy obedience training requires a lot of patience and effort; you will need to dedicate a decent amount of time to doing this in order to achieve your goal. A slap-dash effort will mean equivalent results.

In my experience, when training a puppy, it is best to do not allow others to watch or to interfere. Only one person in the household should take the training upon him or herself and this person should continue to train the puppy until it knows all the commands.

Only give a command when you know for sure that your puppy is not being distracted. Do not needlessly repeat your commands. By this, I mean that if you have told the pup to sit, give it a chance to do so without telling it 10 times. Otherwise your animal will learn that you are willing to give a command over and over before it has to do anything. Try doing it once and be firm in your command.

You have to choose the right moment to go through your puppy training routines. A pup is less motivated with a full stomach than an empty one, although real hunger is not conducive to performance and could lead to bad behavior. Sleepy dogs or those that have yet to wake up properly are not the best pupils either.

When it comes to sleep time, you need to purchase a basket or blanket for your pup to sleep on. If you have a pup that tends to cry through the night you could try what I found works for me personally: I put the basket next to our bed and fall asleep with one hand in the basket next to the puppy. The dog appears to find comfort in this and thus it tends to sleep pretty much through the night – maybe only waking up once or twice to do its business. You could do this for a few days until the pup is more comfortable with its new environment.

Teaching the pup to sleep in the basket also aids in training your puppy in where it can and cannot defecate. Dogs, even the puppies, are inclined to refrain themselves from urinating and defecating in the place where they eat and sleep. If you can often take your puppy outside, it will quickly learn to avoid dirtying its basket.

You could also purchase puppy training pads which you can get at certain pet stores. There is a certain odour they use in the pads that attracts the animal to go and do their business on the pad. These are approximately R40 for five. You can get the dog trained to use these indoors and then gradually move the pads outside.

“Remember that there must be a close association with the bad behavior and the noise or the puppy won’t connect its behavior to why you are upset…”

If you do not want to incur that additional expense you could do it the old fashioned way and use newspaper on the floor. The new puppy will pretty much go where it likes so it’s important once they do their thing to immediately take them to the newspaper to show them that’s where they should go. Combining the pads and the newspaper worked for me.

Please do not ever raise your hand to hit the animal in anyway if it has done something that displeases you. What you should do is roll up a newspaper or magazine, cover it with glad wrap and smack the floor next to the pup; the noise alone gives the animal a fright and aids in preventing further bad behavior.

Remember though, that there must be a close association with the bad behavior and the noise or the puppy won’t connect its behavior to why you are upset. It is always best to make a fuss when you actually see or catch the animal peeing or defecting in the wrong place and immediately make a noise and take it outside if you have a garden. Doing so hours after it has done the deed will be less effective.

When it comes to biting, those little needle sharp teeth can certainly deliver a nice bit of pain should your puppy have the opportunity to bite you. And they can also quickly chew up cell phones, TV remotes and other household items, especially in the teething stage.

One way of moving him / her away from biting you and your personal items is by using doggy bones and chew toys. Whatever chews you choose need to be appropriate; they’ll need to be ready to stand up to intense chewing by sharp teeth for an extended period.

Be careful of toys that are too small or badly made because they will be able to break off into small pieces and get stuck in their throat. I would suggest that you only use toys or chewy items that you can buy at a pet store and ask advice from the staff about products that are specifically appropriate to puppies.

While playing with your dog, don’t encourage him to bite and play too roughly or it may become a later challenge to stop the biting and it’s best to avoid any unacceptable behavior at this point.

Something that is very important is getting your pup used to wearing a collar from the start; this will help you later on when you want to start taking your dog out for walks, to the vet or away on holiday. There is so much involved when it comes to training your pet and this is just the basics.

If you’d really like to make sure that your doggy is well trained, I’d recommend that you consider a specialist. Ask your vet for a local dog trainer who can help with basic home obedience. In my area a puppy kindergarten course of four lessons comes to R240. It’s a small price to pay to ensure that your furry pal is well-behaved and could save you years of irritation.

Next time we’ll look at the ins and outs of training a kitten.

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