How do I train a puppy during quarantine?
Animal shelters have found their buildings empty because so many people stepped up to foster and/or adopt recently. To help you with training, here are a few of the basic obedience training tasks facing a new puppy parent.
Many animal shelters have found their buildings empty because so many people stepped up to foster and/or adopt during the ongoing pandemic. People in search of companionship during quarantine and shelter-in-place orders found opening their homes to a puppy was the perfect antidote to loneliness.
If you’re one of the many people who adopted a new puppy during the quarantine you may be finding training him much easier because you’re home all day, every day. Puppies require love, attention and basic training in order to make them good family members. So, we will a few of the basic obedience training tasks facing a new puppy parent including the commands for come, site, and stay, as well as potty training and walking on a leash.
Teaching Basic Dog Commands
Come. This command could be a literal lifesaver. Teach your puppy her new name and use it when you say, “come.” Give her praise and a treat when she immediately obeys. As with all basic commands, it may take time and patience to get the pup to understand and obey regularly, but practice makes perfect.
Sit. Teaching your dog to sit is ideal for those times when you’re placing his dinner in front of him and you don’t want him to rush the bowl. Sit is a command that you will use when you come in the door and don’t want him to jump on you. You will also regularly use sit when you take your pup for a walk; when you stop, he should sit at your side. To train sit, stand in front of your pup, make eye contact then take a small treat and place it in front of his nose. Slowly lift the treat above his head. He will move his head for the treat and his butt will naturally hit the ground. As soon as that happens, give him the treat, say the word “sit” and praise him.
Stay. Once your pup has mastered sit, it’s time to teach her to stay. To do that, have her sit and say the word, “stay.” You can use a hand signal and hold your hand—palm facing her—and say “stay.” Once she stays in a sitting position while you’re in front of her, move further and further away, saying “stay.” After she masters stay, you will say “come” and reward her for having stayed and having come when you called.
Additional Dog Training
Housetraining. This, we know, is the most frustrating of the basic commands your puppy needs to learn. Now that you’re home, though, the training might be quicker and easier because your pup won’t be left alone for long stretches of time; remember a puppy can only hold it for one hour per month of his life. For example, if he is two months only, he can go two hours without going potty.
To housetrain your puppy, keep him close to you so you can watch him. If he is allowed to roam the house, you won’t notice when he is circling and looking for a place go to potty. When he’s next to you, you will notice when he starts pacing.
The rule of thumb is to take your puppy out when he wakes up, before dinner, after dinner, before bedtime and as soon as you wake up in the morning. With a puppy, though, you will go out more often. Take him to the same spot outdoors, say the word, “out” or whatever word you choose. (Be consistent!) Praise him as soon as he goes and keep repeating the word, so he associates the action with the praise.
Walking. Teach your puppy to get comfortable wearing a collar by keeping it on her. Teach her to walk on a leash without tugging when she is a puppy. Put the leash and harness on your pup and go for a walk. Say the word, “heel” when she is walking nicely by your side. If she gets ahead of you, stop and tell her to sit and stay. Then walk again, saying “heel.” If she tugs, you need to ask her to sit and stay. Depending on the breed and size your puppy will end up being, you need to assure she will walk on a leash and not drag you into danger or even drag you toward another dog. If you cross paths with another dog or human, ask your pup to sit and stay. Praise her when she does and if she doesn’t bark or lunge at them.
Socialization is key for a puppy but with the dog parks closed and with the need to social distance, your pup may not get that much-needed interaction, for now. Once you can visit with friends and family and other dogs, take your pup with you and slowly introduce her to others.
These are the very basic of puppy training commands. If you’re home and your puppy is receiving all of your attention in quarantine, you may be able to train her quickly on these!
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.