When you're raising your puppies, there are a few important training milestones to hit as your puppy grows. After all, you can't teach your one-month old puppy how to retrieve the mail -- they simply don't have the ability to take on such advanced tasks.
Regardless, basic training should start as soon as possible. Whether you're training your puppy alone or with the help of experienced trainers, you should know about important puppy training stages. Here are some of the most important milestones your puppy should experience has it grows.
Potty Training and Paying Attention
Getting your puppy to listen to you is one of the hardest aspects of raising a dog, even if it's an intelligent breed like a German shepherd. You won't be able to teach your dog anything without their engrossed attention. Unfortunately, many dog owners neglect this important aspect of training.
Teaching your dog to pay attention is essential since many dogs avoid looking at their owners out of fear of confrontation. The best way to teach your puppy to pay attention is by establishing a hand signal to follow, such as pointing at your eyes. You should also choose a specific phrase to use when you want your pup to pay attention since using their name might confuse them in other contexts. Every time your puppy looks at you after this phrase and hand sign is used, give them a treat!
Potty training is another basic component when your puppy is at such a young age. This makes it natural to pair the two together, especially since potty training takes more effort on your part than on the actions of your puppies. Set a timer to take your pup out every two hours and guide them to a specific spot in your yard to go potty. When they're successful, give them praise. Positive reinforcement is always better than punishments.
Sit, Stay, and Lie Down
Once your puppy knows its name and learns how to pay attention to you, teaching them to sit, stay, and lie down should be simple. Use specific hand motions and the same phrasing for each command to ensure your dog doesn't get confused. Pad this learning with treats when they're successful, but don't lean on this too heavily -- puppies will learn to perform these activities only when a treat is involved as a type of bribe. Dog breeders will tell you that a mix of praise, pets, and treats are the best way to teach your dogs these tricks.
Leash training is often the most difficult part of raising a puppy. Between all the smells, sounds, and paths to wander outside, just about anything could be a distraction for your pet. When they start to tug or pull away, draw them to your side and offer them praise when they listen. If you're having trouble, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional!