Puppy Training Tips and Trainers!

Training a new puppy can be a challenging and time consuming activity, but pet experts will agree, it’s the most fundamental time for training and can be so rewarding. We have talked about Potty Training your puppy (click here for tips from Gillian), but this is also when your puppy will best learn what are appropriate behaviours, how to socialize and how to play with other dogs and humans!

Most puppies want to please us so it is important to learn how to communicate with them, as we learned from a few of the amazing Positive Puppy Trainers and experts we worked with on the Talent Hounds Doc : Renee DeVilliers (All About Dogs ), Cheryl Orletsky the DogGuru (Holiday Pet Care), Gillian Rideway (Who’s Walking Who) , Karen Sandford from Dogs Dogs Dogs, Melissa Millett  (In Dogs We Trust), Heather McLeod (RuffSport), Sara Winchester Carson  (Paws Up Dog Training) and Lucinda Glenny  (Canine Campus). They all hold excellent puppy classes and puppy play sessions, as do other trainers and facilities including  Red Barn Event Centre, PawsWay and PetsMart in our area.

Check references and make sure you feel comfortable with the place and trainer you choose, in terms of methods, philosophy and safety. Are they right for you and your puppy?

If you can not find a trainer near you, we will be releasing a series of videos, plus we will be compiling a list of helpful books and other videos so keep your eye out and send us any recommendations. We are looking forward to reading Victoria Stillwell’s new book, and we love the books by  Dr Bruce Fogle, and Dr Stanley Coren. We have also heard great things about Susan Garret and her “Say Yes” Training (games like “It’s Yer Choice” for self- control as we reviewed with Fundamentals here with Heather).

Also talk to your vet about what activities are appropriate for your puppy  (their age and breed) before you start training (young puppies should not be jumping or doing certain tricks too early)

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Our friend and wonderful trainer from All About Dogs, Renee DeVilliers showed us some basics on how to begin teaching your new puppy self control and focus using treats and play! We were so impressed how quickly he picked it up (video coming soon)

She said “One of the key components to understanding the use of positive reinforcement training is understanding the psychology of the dog. Many people don’t understand why a puppy is growling when they are playing tug, they don’t understand why their dog is taking things and running away. So a lot of what I try to explain to people is what is the unique nature of their dog.  A lot of that can be based on their breed or mix of breed, what that dog was selected for like herding, guarding or hunting.”

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Use positive reinforcement training! Focus on what you “want” from your dog, rather than what you don’t want. There is no need for harsh discipline or threats when it comes to training a dog.

Food is a great motivator, so stock up on your puppy’s favourite treats before a training session (make sure you choose a high quality, low fat, all natural brand).  Play and positive feedback/praise can also be great rewards for teaching new commands and self control to a young dog.

When training a puppy, the goal is that you want them to know that you are in control and for them to learn self-control (as we reviewed with Fundamentals here with Heather) . Use games and reinforcement to convince him that what YOU want him to do is exactly what  the Puppy wants to do. Positive does not mean permissive.  However the puppy should not be frightened of you or of punishment, but rather should have respect for you. Aways reward the positive behaviours and be firm and calm. A well-trained dog will know to ask before taking, and look to you for cues. By constant consistent positive training and bonding with your new puppy you can achieve this and have a lot of fun together!

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Remember puppies will get distracted! Simply use their name calmly to regain focus. Be patient will your new puppy and remember, training should be fun not a chore!

Socializing your new puppy is key! So get out to your local training facility, dog park, dog friendly events or meet up with a fellow dog owner for walks. The exposer to other dogs helps your dog to learn. Be active with your puppy, its good for both of you!


With the help of a good trainer, patience and practice your puppy will soon be a well-trained and happy dog!

Happy Training!

Did you recently get a new puppy? We’d love to see your pics and  hear funny stories, success stories and more tips about new puppies! We will be doing a future special dedicated to adorable puppies, but if you need a cute puppy fix now check out our Puppy Party archive!

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