SOCIALIZING YOUR PUPPY –
Puppies acquire personality traits the first few months of life. These traits are established through interactions with other animals and people. Positive interactions lead to a well-adjusted puppy.
Socialize your puppy to the fullest extent possible. Take him with you in the car and go for walks where you can see other people and dogs.
Start obedience training as soon as possible. Be consistent, loving and firm. The important exercises are “come”, “sit”, “stay” and “down”, and walking on the leash. It is so much easier to train a young puppy that has not yet developed any bad habits.
Check around in your area for some good obedience classes that will train you to teach your puppy. PetSmart® is an excellent source for classes, but there are other ones that you may find.
Classes also provide a good opportunity for your puppy to socialize with other dogs. Puppies as young as eight weeks old can be enrolled into classes, as long as they are current on their vaccines.
There are two basic principals of obedience training –
1. Once you begin a training-exercise you must be sure to consistently see it through. If a puppy is allowed to have his own way then he is going to interpret your leniency as a sign that he really doesn’t have to do what he is told.
2. ALWAYS reward a puppy with an overabundance of praise and petting when correct behavior is shown. Dogs instinctively want to please their masters. Approval builds self-confidence and reinforces the point of the training-exercise.
LEASH WALKING –
Your puppy should be taught to walk on a loose leash and have good manners. Poodles have a soft larynx. Halters are gentler, and will not damage the throat. NEVER use a choke chain on a toy puppy. Once this training has been completed then you can graduate to that lavish, expensive, diamond studded collar that you want to bestow on your beautiful Poodle.
Let your puppy wear the halter around the house for short periods at a time. Playing with your pup during the first few times will help distract him until he is no longer concerned about this foreign object around his body. When this happens then leave it on him permanently. Attach a leash that can be dragged behind. Never leave a leash on when your puppy is unsupervised. Once the halter and leash is accepted, pick up the leash and walk the puppy with occasional tugs, and lots of praise, and pats.
Train your puppy to walk on your left side, never lunging ahead or lagging behind. As this training-exercise progresses, you may have to exert a little more force with each tug. Remember, gentle yet firm.
COMING WHEN CALLED –
Coming when called is an extension of training on the leash. Let your puppy out to the end of the leash. Squat down, and call his name. If he fails to move toward you, give a tug and shorten the lead. Call again, and shorten the leash. Continue until the pup is close enough to you that you can respond by giving lavish praise and a little treat (I use Cheerios). Repeat the exercise, but don’t overdo it. Coming should be fun – not a burden. Do this exercise about six times a session, three or four sessions a week. Don’t jerk the leash or fight with the puppy. If he acts rebellious then stop the exercise, and try again later. Once the puppy has mastered the exercise, continue without the leash.
NEVER call a puppy to come to you for a reprimand. Dogs (especially Poodles) are smart, and your puppy will quickly learn that coming when called results in something unpleasant.
HOUSE TRAINING –
The basic procedure for house training a puppy is very similar to potty training a child, except that puppies learn much more quickly.
When using a crate to help house train, keep in mind that a puppy cannot control elimination for long periods. A gauge to go by is to add one to the pups age in months to equal the number of hours your pup can be expected to be confined comfortably without eliminating. For example, a three month old pup can only be expected to hold his bladder and bowels for 4 HOURS. If left overnight the pup WILL have an accident in its crate.
Unsupervised pups should be confined in a small area, and never allowed to roam the house until house training is completed. (We use metal play yards as a confined, safe area. Allowing room to exercise, eat, nap and eliminate in a litterpan.)
Pups usually eliminate after eating and when waking up from a nap, so choose these times, as well as the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning, to take the puppy to the same location. If using a litter pan it is important not to move it from place to place. Dogs have a great since of smell, and return to any trace of odor left in the area. If the litter pan is gone, but the odor lingers the pup will return to that spot to eliminate.
If your puppy has an accident in the house – and trust me, he will – you can startle him with a loud “NO!”, but only if you can catch him in the act of eliminating. Then pick up the pup and take him to the spot where you want him to eliminate. Otherwise ignore the accident, and clean it up with an odor remover (vinegar works well, and is cheaper than other store bought products). NEVER rub a puppy’s nose in the mess or punish him. Elimination is normal; it is only an accident because of the location. It will take time for the concept to sink in, but if you stay consistant your puppy will soon be housetrained. Hang in there, it can be done!!!
When accidents do occur there is a lesson to be learned; not by your puppy but by you. You are the one who needs to do the learning. That's because when your puppy has an accident, you are the one who's made the mistake!!!
Don't let your pup out of his safe play yard unless you can watch him every single second.
Watch to see how he acts before he eliminates. That way you'll be able to whisk your pup to the litter pan before the accident occurs.
Don't confine your pup in a crate for more hours than it can realistically hold its bladder and bowels, and with nowhere to eliminate but in its den.
There are other methods to house training. I recommend the book Housetraining for DUMMIES. Have fun!!!