One of the first questions new puppy owners tend to have is: how do I train the puppy? There are many considerations: when to start, how often to have sessions, how to reward, and what to teach. The main answer is to start as soon as possible with short, frequent sessions.

Start Slow

Be especially patient in the beginning. Puppies take time to link rewards to commands and behaviors, and every puppy is different. Some will pick up some tricks right away, while others are more difficult.

Be Consistent

Keep up with your training efforts, and do not suddenly change up the command you use or the signal you give. This does not mean you should not have some variety, or work with distractions or other factors. It simply means to keep things simple for a developing puppy’s mind.

Use Hand Signs

Using hand signs along with vocal commands does wonders for some dogs who are more keyed into visual cues. Some basics are a flat hand faced down for sit and a raised hand for lying down. This latter is good to make clear to be able to give the command at a distance, if you are out in a park or your puppy has slipped its collar. You can raise your hand, have the puppy drop to its belly, and then go collect it.

Use Good Rewards

Some puppies prefer special treats such as chopped up hot dogs, others are satisfied with nuggets of their regular food, and still others shun food and prefer toys as rewards instead. Experiment a bit with your puppy to find which is the best motivator. Use that and remember to dish out occasional jackpots to keep the puppy striving.

Take a Step Back if Necessary

Sometimes it seems like things are advancing great and then the puppy just completely shuts down. Do not be afraid to take a step back and work back up. Sometimes you will run into stumbling blocks like submissive wetting or aggression. Make sure you have some strong stain removal cleaners on hand just in case something like this happens but always remember the puppy needs reassurance.

When it comes to training, drop mini training sessions into play. As for what to teach, start with the basics: come, sit, wait, down. After that, the sky is the limit. Just reward behaviors you like to see with prizes the puppy favors, adding a name to the behavior. The other puppy training tips will also help.

Author's Bio: 

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber;