Puppy training is taking place even before we bring our puppy home. There is no such thing as a blank slate when it comes to puppies. Their genetics and early environment have already played a part in the puppy we collect from the breeder.
However, they have had less experience than when they are adults. So although they aren’t a blank slate, they can be influenced and shaped much easier during puppyhood than when they are older, due to not having time to develop such strong neurological pathways. This makes training a puppy a really effective use of our time and when we are likely to make the biggest impact.
Puppy training is important. It improves the bond between the puppy and owner, it can help work out the puppy’s likes and dislikes, makes the puppy an easier dog to live with and it can help to limit the stress of the whole family. Investing time, knowledge and energy into puppies can help prevent dogs from being handed into rescue centres.
A report in 2018 by Forthglade found that the number of puppies in need of rehoming after only one month in what should have been their forever home was as high as 1 in 10. As high as 61% of people in the study said that, in hindsight, an older dog would have been more suitable for them.
Puppy training can help lower these figures.
By teaching your puppy to do what you want, you can prevent your puppy from developing undesirable habits at an early age.
When the puppy first arrives in the new home, the focus should be on forming a relationship with the puppy. Letting the puppy explore and get to know his new family and surroundings in a happy and calm way is much more important than teaching tricks or behaviours. It is important to remember that the puppy has just left everything he has ever known including his mum and littermates and so will need time to adjust. For the first 72 hours or more, the puppy’s stress hormones are raised and they will often struggle to sleep for as long as the 18-20+ hours they need. It is essential that this is recognised and every effort made to limit the puppy from taking on any more stress than can be avoided.