Puppy Training Tips

Successful puppy training tips to help you get the best out of your new Cocker Spaniel puppy!

If you're new to puppy ownership, it's understandable that you don't know how to train a puppy, so don't worry, you're not alone.

Having a new puppy in the house is a very exciting time, but if you get your puppy's training wrong it can make you stressed and anxious, and can cause misery for you both - especially if your puppy won't 'listen' to a word you say!

Here you'll find some useful puppy training tips to ensure you approach your little guy's training in the right way, and in the right frame of mind, to help you both stay on track.

Puppy Training Tips - Begin Early

Puppies are more receptive to learning between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks, they can take in so much during this time, that's why it's important to begin their training early.

If you're training an older dog for the first time it may take a little longer, in fact it probably will, but despite what they say, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!


Puppy Training Tips - Find A Quiet Spot

Don't attempt to train your puppy if there's too much going on around you as he'll most likely become distracted and he won't learn.

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


Puppy Training Tips - Consistency Is The Key

Your puppy will be very eager to please you but, at this stage he may not understand what you want from him.

Your instructions and commands must be very clear and consistent.

All those involved in your puppy's training should make sure that they use the same words for all training commands otherwise your puppy will become confused and will not learn.

I recommend you choose a short, simple, word for each command, for example, sit, stay, come, down, etc.


Your Puppy's Release Word

Establish a suitable 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 is free to get up and play, or move around.

For our Cocker Spaniel, Max, we use the word 'Okay' as our release, but feel free to choose whatever word you feel comfortable with.

The important thing to remember is to remain consistent with your choice of word and its use.

Using a release word for your pup will not only help to establish you as his pack leader it will also reinforce your leadership status each time you release your dog.


Puppy Training Tips - Your Tone Of Voice

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

Puppy training sessions should be fun for your puppy and they should be kept light.

Your tone of voice should be firm and low (but not threatening or frightening) when giving a command, and lighter, more fun, when giving praise.


Puppy Training Tips - Positive Reinforcement Rules!

Each time your puppy does what you ask of him, offer him a small, tasty, treat and give him lots of praise to show him that he's done exactly what you wanted.

Your praise, and any treat, should follow his correct action within 2 seconds; any longer and you run the risk of your puppy not associating the two, and he'll take longer to train.

Positive reinforcement works every time!


What If My Puppy Gets It Wrong?

What if my puppy gets it wrong?

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

Never become angry, scold, or smack your puppy for failing to get an instruction right.

If your puppy fails to follow a command, it may mean that he's not yet mastered that particular instruction. If this happens, simply repeat the relevant exercise until you're confident that he's mastered it.

Dog training is never easy - it may take several attempts before your puppy understands exactly what you want from him, so you'll need to be patient.

If your puppy gets it wrong, don't give him a treat, and don't offer any praise; simply go back to the beginning and start again.

You can say something like, 'Too Bad', or 'No', to help reinforce the fact that your puppy didn't get it right. But don't be too hard on him - he's only learning.


Puppy Training Tips - Don't Repeat Your Command

When training your puppy, don't be tempted to repeat the command word over and over again.

This will only teach him 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.

If you believe your puppy is 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.


Puppy Training Tips - KISS!

Keep it short and simple!

Puppies have a short attention span, so it's best to keep his training sessions to around 10 minutes or so, which should be enough to run through some simple commands without your puppy becoming bored.

You can have several short sessions each day, and always try to end your dog's training exercise on a positive note.


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 any training you've given him.

This will also help to establish you as the pack leader and will strengthen the bond between you.

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!

What are you waiting for?



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