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Guide to training a puppy

Guide to training a puppy

Bringing a new puppy home is hugely exciting. But to make sure both you and your new dog are happy, it’s important to introduce good habits from the very beginning. To help get you started, here are our top tips on how to train a puppy. 

Tom Harrison
Content writer
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Posted 7 OCTOBER 2019

The benefits of puppy training

A well-behaved dog can bring a lot of joy to your life. And by training your puppy from an early age, you’ll help to avoid any potential problems later on.  

Learning the most basic commands – such as sit, wait and heel – will give your pet the freedom and safety to enjoy life at home and off the lead, when out and about. It will also help build a strong bond between you and your puppy. 

Puppy training tips

Puppy training can take a little time to master, but the rewards are worth it. Here are a few key tips to get you started:

  • Start your training in a quiet place at home and in the garden, to avoid distractions
  • Be patient and positive
  • Keep training sessions short and fun
  • Avoid punishments – ignore unwanted behaviour and teach them a positive action instead
  • Reward good behaviour with your puppy’s favourite treat or toys and verbal praise, so they’ll be eager to repeat it
  • Never force your puppy to obey. Instead, show them what to do – dogs are intelligent animals and it won’t take them long to understand
  • Be consistent in your commands and routines

Puppy toilet training

You’ll want your puppy to get the hang of toilet training as soon as possible. House training a puppy should be a simple process, if it’s done properly – some dogs learn in a few days, others take a bit longer. Remember, small accidents are inevitable, so it’s important not to rush it.

Puppies only have little bladders, so they’ll need to pee every hour or so in the beginning. They’ll also go after meals and when they wake up. Telltale signs that your puppy needs the toilet include:

  • sniffing  
  • fidgeting  
  • circling before squatting 

Puppy toilet training tips

  • Take your puppy outside first thing in the morning and every two hours throughout the day. You’ll also need to take them out once during the night, at first.
  • Use the same word every time, such as ‘toilet’ or ‘quickly’, so your puppy associates these with going to the loo.
  • Each time your puppy goes to the toilet outside, reward them with verbal praise and a treat.
  • Always accompany your puppy outside and encourage them to go in the same place.
  • Crate training can be a quick and effective way to house train your puppy. The crate also makes a cosy den for sleeping in at night.
  • If accidents happen, don’t punish your dog. Clean up and keep calm. They’ll learn eventually.
  • Once you’ve lead trained your puppy, you can get them into the habit of going to the toilet during your daily walks. Just remember that you’re legally required to clean up after your dog has fouled in a public place.

Puppy training classes

It can be useful to have a helping hand with training. Once your puppy’s fully vaccinated (between 12 and 16 weeks old), you might want to consider puppy training classes. The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme and The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) run training clubs. Classes are also a great way to get your puppy used to other dogs and people.

Protect your puppy with the right insurance

A new puppy will quickly become a cherished family member, so you’ll want to make sure they’re protected if they get sick or have an accident. Pet insurance could help cover the cost of vet fees and treatments if the worst does happen.  

Looking to compare pet insurance? You can get the right insurance at the right price with our comparison service. Just answer a few questions about you and your dog, and we’ll send you a list of suitable quotes from a range of trusted UK pet insurance providers. 

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