Whatever your pup’s pedigree and whatever your goals for him, when it comes to puppy training they’re still an emotionally immature animal.
At the same time, no two pups are exactly alike and what works for one puppy is not necessarily best for another. You must constantly be aware of your pup’s personality and of how you can get him to pay attention to you.
However, there are some general characteristics of puppy training that are important to working with all puppies. These are basic principles which should be adapted by you as the basis of working with your puppy.
Do not get tough: Emotionally and psychologically, the puppy is still extremely sensitive. This means that learning takes place quickly, but also that fears can easily occur and inhibit learning. Pups cannot take pressure or harsh treatment. Repetition is the key to puppy training.
Never punish him if he does not do what you want him to do. This will defeat the purpose of the training and cause him to dislike the entire procedure.
Bad behavior during puppy training sessions is more often than not a sign of the pup’s lack of confidence or understanding of what you want him to do.
Therefore, many repetitions will be needed.
Keep it simple: A puppy learns to do things in a step-by-step manner.
For example, in teaching him to stay, do not expect him to stay put for several minutes at a time while you are off someplace away from him. You must first teach him to stay while you stand toe-to-toe in front of him, then to stay when you are standing a couple of feet out in front of him, then to stay while you walk around him, then to stay while you are standing several feet away and not holding on to the leash.
Many pups will take several weeks to progress through these steps, but they are necessary if you want to teach “Stay” effectively. If you tell him to do something before you have properly trained him to do it and then scold him for not doing it, you are asking for trouble. The pup will lose his confidence and will learn not to try.
Be brief: Puppies have a very short attention span. A pup learns only while he is paying attention to you, so it does not accomplish anything to keep on puppy training when he is mentally tired even though physically he is still very lively.
Five minutes at a time is long enough. With many puppies, two minutes is long enough to begin with, gradually moving up to five minutes.
Build confidence: Your puppy needs confidence-building as well as discipline and he will constantly be telling you by his body language which one he needs more at any particular time. Relax while you are with him; smile; speak in a pleasant voice; play running games with him.
In puppy training, building confidence means knowing what you expect from your pup.