Nothing beats the kisses of a brand-new puppy. A two-month-old pup is eager to please and ready to learn. The key to training at this tender age is positive reinforcement and consistency, bundled with hefty doses of love and patience. Grab your tiny tail-wagger and let the lessons begin.
Purchase a dog crate to serve as your puppy’s personal den. As he grows, the crate will become a secure and dependable nook. Right now, it will serve as a place of comfort and training. Furnish the crate with a soft blanket and some cuddly stuffed animals.
Put your puppy in his crate when he tires after a round of play or eats his meal. Take him outside or to a puppy pad to do his toilet duties first, so he’s comfortable. Give him a chew toy and leave him in his crate for up to one hour as long as he’s calm and quiet.
Carry your puppy from his crate straight to the spot where you want him to pee. Young puppies urinate frequently, and almost always upon awakening. Use this as a training time. When your little guy pees in the right spot, lavish him with praise or offer a tasty treat. Anticipation of the next treat is a powerful training tool for housebreaking many puppies.
Limit crate time to 1 hour for each month of your puppy’s age. At two months old, two hours is the limit. By the time he’s four months old, he can stay up to four hours at a time in his crate.
Feed your puppy no sooner than two hours before bedtime and take up his food and water after he eats. You have two options at bedtime. You can put your puppy’s crate nearby and take him out for potty breaks when he whines. Alternately, you can place his crate in a closed bathroom or laundry room and leave the crate door open. Line the floor with newspapers and put a puppy-piddle-pad in one corner.
Ignore “accidents.” They’re bound to happen – especially at first, but chastising and scolding can make matters worse. Use a baby gate to limit your puppy’s wandering until he’s housebroken.
Keep leash-training periods short – about 10 minutes at a time. Fit your puppy with a lightweight collar and let him get used to it for a few days before attaching a leash.
Fill your pocket with tasty morsels before every training period. Schedule leash lessons before mealtime when your puppy is most likely to pay attention in hopes of getting a treat.
Pull gently on the leash and encourage your puppy to follow by talking to him. As soon as he starts to walk with you, pop a treat in his mouth and praise him. Repeat the lesson as often as necessary until your puppy understands that you expect him to walk beside you.
Socializing Your Puppy
Sign your little guy up for puppy kindergarten before he’s four months old. Group classes that combine dogs and their humans teach your puppy to interact with ease and confidence, as well as the basic commands such as sit and stay.
Introduce your new puppy to as many new sights and sounds as possible in his first few months. Dog parks, walks in the neighborhood, doggy daycare and play dates with friends’ pooches all help your puppy develop a healthy attitude towards other animals and people.
Ask friends to walk your puppy on occasion. Your puppy will learn to appreciate new people instead of becoming fearful of strangers.
- Some breeds are laid back while others are high-strung, but all puppies have the ability to learn and the desire to please you.
- Keep it light and keep it fun. End every training session on a positive note. Your puppy won’t master his lessons overnight; it takes time and repeated training.
- Set house rules and be consistent. If you don’t want a full-grown mastiff sprawled out on the sofa, don’t put him up there when he’s a puppy.
- Cherish puppyhood. Relax and realize that this too shall pass. The bond you form now with your puppy is the start of a wonderful life together.
- Labrador puppy image by Aleksandr Levchenko from Fotolia.com