In no way am I saying that I am an expert, but I've decided to write a post about my top 5 puppy training tips. Nina and I have prioritised these five things as we've started to teach Milo the rights and wrongs of the world (or, more realistically, our house and garden).
So here comes the countdown:
Number Five: Routine.
He's been taken away from his mummy and siblings, so life is pretty stressful for a new puppy. The first thing we did was to give Mr. Milo a routine. We weren't massively strict, but we made sure that he was given food at roughly the same time (even if he didn't eat it), took him out to the 'toilet' at roughly the same time (even if he didn't 'go'), and put him in his hutch at roughly the same time (even if he didn't sleep. Which he didn't. That was fun :/ ) Routine has been helpful for him and for us- that's why it's tip number 5.
Number Four: He's a dog, not a human.
Obviously this is obvious, but sometimes easy to forget. He doesn't understand that I'm tired, and doesn't understand what we say in the English language. So even if he's naughty, it's important to think like a dog. Because that is, after all, what he is.
Number Three: Play, Eat, Affection
In that order. Mr. Millan says so. It's what happens in 'the wild' apparently, and is mentally healthy for him- making him think that he is working for his meal, then being rewarded with love and affection afterwards. So do these in order for a happy puppy. By next week we will be able to replace 'play' with 'walk', making him work even harder for his dinner!
Number Two: If in doubt, stop.
If Milo seems to be getting riled, the best thing to do is stop. If he starts chewing feet, stop walking. If he starts biting fingers, stop waving your hands. Carrying on only reinforces the bad behaviour and may even fool the puppy into thinking it's a fun game.
Number One: Always be loving.
Here it is- the top tip. It's very simple. Always make it a fun, enjoyable experience for your puppy to come to you. Discipline is important- I use a gentle clap of the hands and a low toned 'no', but it is important that the puppy doesn't become afraid of you or think that you are a spoil sport. When Milo is with me, I try and make him feel like he's the most important person in the world.