Puppy Training Tips

Successful puppy training tips to help you teach your puppy some polite manners, especially if he won't listen to a word you say! (Don't worry - it happens to us all!) Begin training your puppy right now and follow these top tips to help you get the best out of your new Cocker Spaniel pup.

Training A Puppy

Your new puppy is simply adorable, but he just won't listen to a word you say! How many times have I heard that?  

Having a new puppy around may be very exciting, but if you get your puppy's training wrong or you don't know how to train a puppy it can make you stressed and anxious and can cause misery for you both, especially if he's taking no notice of you.

Don't worry. If you've never owned a puppy before, or this little fella is particularly 'headstrong' these puppy training tips will help you to approach your little guy's training in the right way, and in the right frame of mind, to help you both stay on track.

1: Early Learning Is Best!

One of the best puppy training tips I can offer you is to begin teaching your puppy obedience training as early as possible.

Puppies are much more receptive to learning when they're between 8 and 12 weeks old. They're like little sponges at this age and can take in so much during this time - that's why it's best to begin their training as soon as possible.

On the other hand, training a dog who's misbehaving or has never been trained will probably take a little longer (he's had plenty of time to develop bad habits which can take time to break), but despite what they say, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Start off on the right foot and begin training your puppy now!

2: Train Your Puppy Somewhere Quiet

Training puppies when there's lots going on in the home won't work.

If you try training your puppy when the kids are around or there's a lot of traffic coming in and out of the room you're in, your pup will be easily distracted; he won't listen or focus his attention on you and he certainly won't learn anything.

Instead, find a quiet corner away from everyone else or better still another room where you and your puppy can concentrate on the task in hand.

3: Be Consistent

Consistency is the key to your puppy's training. Although he'll be so eager to please you, because he's so young and inexperienced, he won't always understand what you want from him.

It's our job to make life easier for him and help him to understand so our instructions and commands must be very clear and consistent.

If your family gets involved in your Cocker Spaniel's training (and they should) you will need to make sure they all use the same word for each of your puppy's training commands otherwise your pup will become confused and he won't learn.

Don't set him up to fail - choose a short, simple word for each command, preferably with only one syllable, for example: sit, stay, come, down and stick to it.

Read on for more puppy training tips!

4: Choose Your Puppy's Release Word

You need to choose a release word for your puppy.

A release word is exactly that; your chosen word for releasing your puppy from a previous command.

When you use his release word, you're letting your puppy know that he no longer needs to 'Sit' or 'Stay Down', and that he's free to get up and play, or move around.

For my Cocker Spaniel, Max, I use the word 'Okay', but feel free to choose whatever word you feel comfortable with, so long as it doesn't sound similar to one of his command words.

Once you've chosen a suitable release word, as with all command words, it's important to stick to it so that your puppy is getting the same message each time you use it.

Using a release word for your Cocker Spaniel not only helps to establish you as his pack leader, it also helps to strengthen and reinforce your leadership status each time you release your dog.

5: Puppy Training Tips And Your Tone Of Voice

When you're giving a command to your little guy your tone of voice is very important.

Whilst puppy training sessions should be fun for your pet and kept light, your tone of voice needs to be firm and low (but not threatening or frightening) when giving a command.

If you ask your dog to stay, (for example) don't drag the word out or raise the tone of your voice at the end (staaaaaay?) because it will almost certainly sound like a question and your puppy may not pay too much attention to it.

Give the command word in a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way - it is an instruction, not a request.

And don't forget to change the tone of your voice to a lighter, more fun sound, when giving praise.

6: Positive Reinforcement Rules!

Okay, so what's positive reinforcement when it's at home?

It's the rewarding of a desired behavior with something pleasant in order to encourage that behavior to be learned and repeated in the future.

For example, each time your puppy does what you ask of him, or displays a behavior that you're happy with, you reward him with a small tasty treat and give him lots of praise to show him that he's done exactly what you wanted.

Your praise and reward should be given within 2 seconds of his action, for example, if you ask him to sit and he obeys, give him a treat and praise him immediately or within 2 seconds.

Don't leave it any longer or you run the risk of your puppy not linking the behavior to the reward and his training may take longer.

There are puppy training tips and there are puppy training tips...and this one is probably the most valuable because if you use it well it will pay you back a thousand fold.

Just remember, positive reinforcement never involves punishment, just lots of praise and a treat or two when your puppy gets it right - it works every time!

7: Puppy Training Tips For When He Gets It Wrong

What if my puppy doesn't understand or gets it wrong?

Dog training is never easy - it may take several attempts before your puppy understands exactly what you want from him.

There will be times when he's just not getting it (I'm sure we've all been there ourselves). My advice would be just to pack it in for a while and do something fun, like playing with a ball or blowing him some soap bubbles and then try again later.

Cocker spaniel puppy in chocolate and white, playing in the undergrowth

When your puppy gets it wrong or plays up, don't give him a treat and don't offer any praise; simply go back to the beginning and start again otherwise you will be reinforcing his 'bad/unwanted' behavior.

You can say something like, 'Too Bad', or 'No', to help reinforce the fact that your puppy didn't get it right, but the last thing you want to do right now is to become angry, scold or even smack (!?) your puppy for not understanding what you want from him.

If your Cocker doesn't do what you've asked of him, and your requests have been clear, it probably means that he's not yet mastered that particular command and needs a little more time to make the connection.

Take a little time out before trying again. Repeat the exercise until you're confident that he's mastered it. Don't move on to any other command word until you're sure he's mastered the current one.

And don't be too hard on him - he's only young and he's still learning - just be patient!

8: Puppy Training Tips - Don't Repeat Your Command

When I'm in the park with my dog, I often hear owners asking their dog to sit (usually before they put their dog back on the leash) but they don't just ask once, they ask several times and then eventually the dog might sit or the owner gives up and puts the lead back on anyway.

When training a puppy it's important to say the command only once; don't be tempted to repeat the word over and over again because this will only teach your puppy that he doesn't have to act on your first instruction - he'll think it's okay to obey you on your third or fourth command (or more - yikes!).

You can be sure to get your puppy's attention either by saying his name first or using the 'Watch Me!' command before asking him to sit, stand, stay or whatever command you're teaching him at the time.

If you believe your puppy is simply misbehaving, (rather than not understanding your instruction) don't allow him to get away with it just because he's cute.

Don't reward or praise him, walk away and try the exercise again five minutes later.

9: Puppy Training Tips - KISS!

Keep it short and simple!

Puppies have a short attention span (bit of an understatement, don't you think? Sometimes training a puppy can be like trying to nail jelly to the wall!)

In order to keep him interested, keep his training sessions to around 10 minutes or so each time. This should be enough to allow you to run through some simple commands without your little fur-ball becoming bored.

Try several short sessions each day and always try to end your dog's training exercise on a positive note to keep him encouraged.

10: Practice, Practice, And More Practice!

Out of all the puppy training tips given on this page, probably the best one of all is:

Golden cocker spaniel with large appealing brown eyes

Practice really does makes perfect!

As your puppy masters each command, practice daily to strengthen and reinforce his response to it.

Practicing obedience commands will help to establish you as the pack leader and will also strengthen the bond between you - and that's no bad thing, eh?

The sooner you begin with puppy obedience training, the sooner you will see your little bundle of nervous and sometimes boisterous energy emerge into a well-behaved, well-mannered, adorable little Cocker Spaniel!

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