Training Puppies

by Peter Doley

Your new pup has arrived and the household is all excited.  It is important before the pup arrives to establish the ground rules with the family.  Obviously house rules and manners for the pup need to be defined i.e. is the pup allowed in the house, if so which rooms, who will feed and oversee training etc.  You must have uniform rules so that consistency is maintained and the pup does not become confused.  After the pup has the general rules in his mind you can start with the basic retrieving training.

Most queries I receive are from owners who want to correct problems now the dog is older, so let’s get it right first time around.  Then all we have to do is reinforce it from time to time.

As a general rule if you want your dog to retrieve.

  • No tug of war games with the pup. This will make the pup reluctant to give up the retrieved article
  • No balls. They will soon learn to drop the ball and chase it as it rolls down the path.
  • No sticks or foreign objects to retrieve. (However in the early training an article they love to carry is okay.) A dog that has retrieved sticks will endeavour to please you and while retrieving may pick up a stick instead of the required item.
  • Keep it short and simple.

Now the fun begins.  We must not do any formal training with our pup.  All training should be done in a playful manner.  I have found the best place to train a pup is while you are on the floor or ground.  Do not tower over him.  Most pups love to jump on you and bite your ears, take advantage of this time and bond with him and slip a little training in.  By now there will be an object in the house the pup loves to carry.  Using this object, tease him with it, excite him, and let him grab it.  The sit, come, hold and give, fetch command can all be introduced in this playful period.  The object the pup is to retrieve should be a suitable size and weight.  He will become bored quickly so don't over do it, and make sure the pup is not tired before you start.