Essential Puppy Training and Toilet Training
Every puppy needs to be taught good manners and have constructive lessons in basic control. This includes responding to its name, how to greet and behave politely around people and dogs, coming back when called, walking nicely on the lead, sit, down and stay on command, and allowing itself to be groomed and examined by you and your vet. As a dog owner you also need to learn what laws affect you and your dog.

Dog training classes
Most owners can benefit from attending good training classes, and training in the company of other dogs is very useful because of the realistic distractions this involves. Ideally, you should start your classes as soon as your puppy’s vaccinations are complete, but classes can be invaluable for older dogs too!
It is a misconception that training a dog takes away its personality, on the contrary a trained dog is a content and happy one.
There are lots of schools of thought on dog training and it is important that you find the right approach for you and your puppy. Go and visit several classes first (without your puppy) to make sure you have made the right choice. Puppies can take part in the Puppy Foundation section of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme which provides a progression to a well trained dog.

Finding the best dog training club
Before enrolling with a dog training club it can be beneficial to attend a session without your dog and decide whether this is the right environment for you and your puppy.
Things you may wish to consider include:
•    Do you like what you see – are the trainers friendly, are people happy and enjoying training their dogs?
•    Are the dogs happily focused on their human family?
•    Are the instructors giving lots of encouragement and information to all attendees?
•    Are the instructors maintaining a controlled, safe environment for everyone?
•    Are instructors treating everyone fairly and meeting the needs of the whole group?
Really important training tips:
•    Start as you mean to go on. If you are always consistent you will avoid confusing your puppy.
•    Puppies have a very short attention span so train for short spells on a regular basis.
•    Keep it short and keep it simple, but most of all, keep it fun!
•    Puppies respond better to cheerful voice tones, rather than to threatening orders.
•    Gentle play builds trust and a strong bond between you and your puppy as well as making training fun.
•    Patience is the KEY ingredient in dog training. If you try to rush things you will only get frustrated and confuse your puppy.
•    Keep it interesting: cultivate a range of different rewards incorporating play, fuss, praise, treats and toys. This will stop both of you from getting bored.
Puppy socialisation
Firstly, it is vital that you are patient with your puppy – do not expect too much too quickly as all young animals need time to learn what we expect of them.

•    Socialise your puppy
Puppies need to meet and have pleasant encounters with a wide variety of adults, children and other animals. Begin when they are very young, taking care not to overwhelm them. Do a little every day, especially during the early weeks. Attending a well-run puppy training class will help your puppy sociable with other dogs. However, please remember that your puppy could be unprotected from some canine diseases if it has not been fully vaccinated – speak to your vet for more information.

•    Educate and teach good manners
Puppies need to know where their boundaries lie just as children do. Teach them gently but firmly what is acceptable and what is not.

•    Use positive, effective training
Reward based training can begin as soon as your puppy has settled into the household. Use positive methods for all education, from house-training to coming back when called.

•    Help your puppy find its place in the hierarchy
Puppies need to learn their place in the human pack. Strong-willed puppies need to learn that they cannot have their own way all the time and what you want must come first.

•    Teach your puppy to be left alone
Pack animals like to be with others and our pet dogs need to be taught to tolerate being alone. Begin with short sessions when your puppy is young and build up to longer absences gradually.

•    Cope with chewing
Puppies chew while teething and during adolescence. Provide plenty of suitable chews and change them often. Teach your puppy what to chew and what to leave alone. Try not to leave your puppy in a place where it can damage your things or itself. Prevention is better than cure.

•    Be prepared for adolescence
Adolescence can be a difficult time during which your puppy’s behaviour may deteriorate considerably. Try not to worry – it soon passes!
•    Don’t be afraid to ask
•    If you are experiencing difficulties, ask your vet or other experienced people for advice. Problems with puppies are usually easily solved so ask for advice sooner rather than later.