Top 5 Sneaky Tricks All Dog Trainers Know About Puppy Training but Never Share
You won’t get this information anywhere else.
That’s right, we dog trainers are an interesting group. And, I have learned that most dog trainers won’t share their dog training secrets.
But they certainly don’t want to share their puppy training secrets! “Why?” you might ask.
Because they are waiting for your puppy to develop behavior problems so that you need them.
It’s rough, but it is true. Except for me of course; here I am about to share.
We, as dog training professionals, also want the best behaved puppy for the least amount of effort.
We would rather artistically mold the dog we want instead of dealing with those behavior problems.
Sounds good, right?
It is! 😉
So let’s get to it.
Here Are The Top 5 Sneaky Tricks All Dog Trainers Know About Puppy Training but Never Share
#1. Start Training Right Away
Most people get a puppy and carry it everywhere and fawn all over it and let it wander the house at will.
After all, they don’t want to start training right away! They think that “training is cruel”. Or they want their puppy to “settle in” first.
Let’s dispel those myths.
It is Cruel
- Training isn’t cruel; it is positive interaction with your puppy if you do it right and you are hands off!
- What is cruel about rewarding good behavior and training your puppy by teaching him what you like and how you want him to behave?
- It is only cruel if you think puppy training requires “hands on” training with devices like choke chains, prong collars, or shock collars.
- And let me be the first to tell you it doesn’t require those devices, and it shouldn’t, ever, be cruel if you do it right and learn to train “Hands Off”!
He Should Settle In
- Why would you want your dog to develop bad behaviors at all?
- I mean, I get letting him nap and get used to his environment. But, again, if you are doing this right, you are simply giving him much needed information.
- We all need to know what is good and bad, right and wrong.
- I mean you don’t show up to a new job and expect they are just going to let you wander around for a few weeks or a few months without teaching you anything.
- It would be much harder, after that period of time, and after you had gotten used to being paid for playing games and being on your phone on social media all of the time, to change the rules and try to get you to change your behavior.
- Think of it as “life orientation” just like new job orientation.
- Give your puppy the knowledge of what you expect and what brings rewards and keep bad behavior from happening!
#2. Crate Games Start the First Day
There is not a professional dog trainer that I know, or have ever met, that doesn’t crate train their puppies.
If you are lucky, your puppy has already had some crate training.
Good breeders will begin crate training early.
If you are thinking of getting a puppy but haven’t gotten one yet, ask the person to start the process for you.
But, a lot of my dog training clients stop puppy crate training after the first night or two.
I currently have one client who is having a terrible time because she allowed the puppy into bed with her the 3rd night and now the puppy is panicking worse when she tries to use the crate.
I can’t have a dog that is not crate trained. It is essential for my lifestyle and for the safety of my puppies.
Puppies who aren’t crate trained are at greater risk of obstruction surgery and death because they have access to dangerous items. Even an electric socket can be deadly.
I start out with crate games almost immediately, by putting my puppies food and treats in his crate and throwing toys inside, without ever closing the door.
I want to make the crate a fun place!
But I still use it the first night.
They big key is that I make it fun and I make sure I have a tired puppy before putting them inside.
If my puppy has just had a nap before bed, I can be in for a couple of hours of crate squawking.
It is my job to ensure a tired puppy and to play puppy crate training games.
And, it is just as crucial to allow my puppy to cry and self soothe for a while as he gets used to his crate.
Don’t panic, some screaming is normal for a while. It will get better if you stick to it!
#3. Do Not Feed Your Puppy From a Bowl
We dog trainers like to make our puppies work for their meals.
I know some of you are aghast with disgust right now, but let me assure you that it is better for everyone concerned.
Again, why do people get wrapped up in thinking that training is bad?
Training shouldn’t be bad! It should be THE BEST thing ever!
Spending time with you is what your puppy wants to do, so why would you deny him that at a very social time?
I mean, eating is social for humans too!
Would you want to go eat your meal alone in a room everyday… or would you prefer to eat with your family or meet for dinner with friends?
Using your puppy’s food as a reward is your way of spending time with him while he eats.
Use his food as rewards. You will then only feed him with your hand while he performs behaviors you like.
It is the equivalent of meeting your friends for dinner and drinks and dancing.
It is fun for him!
And, guess what?
You get the benefit of having a well-trained and stimulated puppy.
Puppy training doesn’t have to be hard.
Puppy training doesn’t have to last for an hour at a time.
And, you don’t have to make your puppy work for every single kibble, use lots of jack pots and have fun!
Puppy training should resemble a game to your puppy!
#4. Begin Teaching Your Puppy to Play With Toys Immediately
Speaking of games…
Your puppy needs lots of toys!
Most of you know this, and hopefully you have gotten your puppy a toy box full of different kinds of toys so that he doesn’t chew or grab your things.
But what most people don’t realize is that actually using those toys to build your puppy’s play and prey drive will help your puppy training turn into amazing dog training in the long run.
You can’t imagine how many people tell me that their dog doesn’t play, or he only played when he was a puppy.
Well, of course he stopped!
How fun is it to play alone?
It’s not! And, it is not usually constructive when dogs have to play by themselves or come up with their own games.
They think chewing holes in your carpet, digging in your yard and watching dirt fly; those are fun games.
If you play with your dog, you encourage appropriate play and you engage him mentally and physically!
And, here is a BIG one:
Later in life, instead of using or carrying treats, you can carry his toy to reward him and keep his attention!
So grab those toys and get to some interactive play with your pup or dog.
#5. Some Toys Are YOUR Toys
I hope your puppy has a toy box, as I mentioned earlier.
Like a toddler, he needs to explore his world and be able to choose from a multitude of toys and textures and use his mouth on appropriate things.
If you don’t provide something, he will eat and shred your things.
So, invest some money and stock his toy box. I like at least a dozen things or more.
You don’t have to spend a fortune, and actually you can get things a lot cheaper online and they are shipped right to you.
Pet Edge is my favorite shopping place, because most things are affordable and they have nearly everything!
Now the weird part…
Your dog’s favorite toys should be “YOUR” toys.
Meaning they only come out for training and interactive play.
For instance, my dog LOOOOOOVES her ball or a tug.
She nearly impales herself, if I am not careful, chasing after a ball.
Heck, I have a friend whose dog dislocated his shoulders because he ran into a tractor playing ball.
But these toys aren’t at her (or his because she is a trainer too) disposal all of the time.
That makes those toys ultra extraordinary!
If my dog could grab a tennis ball or rubber ball and play with it by herself or whenever she wanted, it would lose its value!
It risks becoming boring, like the other toys in my dogs’ basket (for that problem, click here).
It also allows me to use toys that would not be appropriate to be left in my puppy’s toy box!
My dogs are chewers and they have been since they were puppies. I can’t leave soft plush toys, or tugs in their toy box or they could eat them.
But they love these kinds of toys, so I bring them out for play time!
Then I put them up for the next time I want to exercise them and do some training!
So there they are – the top 5 tricks that we trainers use to get our puppies started off on the right paw!
Feel free to share with your friends! 😉