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Obedience and Training

A yellow Labrador puppy lies on floor, looking up and waiting for command

Obedience training

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT suggests participating in a puppy preschool. This is a good opportunity for your puppy to learn basic commands, to socialise, and be introduced to different scenarios, smells, people, and other dogs. Ask your local vet about a puppy preschool in your area.

When training your puppy, remember to be consistent with your commands, reward, and with your own behaviour. When you are calm, your puppy will be gentle too. When you are consistent and firm with your commands and rules, your puppy will not get confused and will soon learn good habits.

Routine

Dogs are creatures of habit. Having a routine for your puppy to get used to will help it understand what to expect and therefore it will settle more readily. Where possible, keep feeding, exercise and sleep times to a predictable pattern and place.

House rules

Within the first few days, you must establish with your puppy if there are areas you do not wish for it to go. Create physical barriers by closing the doors or installing baby gates. In time your puppy will understand and respect the boundaries created.

Set important house rules and consistently reinforce them.

Some house rules you can apply:

  1. No jumping on the furniture and beds.

  2. Puppy is not allowed in the kitchen when someone is cooking.

  3. Chewing on household items is to be discouraged.

  4. The puppy must not get overly excited when others are eating.

  5. Meeting and greeting guests and family members must be done appropriately. No jumping or vocalisation.

  6. Never feed your puppy from the table or kitchen. If you do this once, your puppy will remember.

  7. Encourage calm behaviour in the home.

  8. No scavenging - your pup should not clean up under the food table.

  9. Minimise your puppy’s opportunity to ‘explore’ bench tops and tables.

  10. Teach your puppy that household appliances such as vacuum cleaners and brooms are not toys.

Toileting

Give your puppy the opportunity to toilet regularly. Set a routine for toileting. The best times for your puppy to toilet are:

  • First thing in the morning

  • After meals

  • After a nap

  • If inside for longer than 1 hour

  • Last thing before bed

Leaving your puppy alone

To decrease the chance of separation anxiety, regularly leave your puppy alone for a short period during the day. This builds your puppy’s confidence.

In the first few weeks it is a great idea to leave the puppy alone in its sleeping area. This is a familiar environment and the puppy would already be used to being left alone in this space at night time.

When leaving the puppy alone outside, make sure that:

  • the puppy is comfortable exploring outside without you

  • the puppy has the right amount of water, bedding, toys and shelter

  • the yard is suitably safe for the size of your pup

Negative behaviour

Try your hardest to ignore naughty behaviour such as barking or whimpering. For example, if the puppy learns that it can bark for your attention, this negative behaviour will become a habit.

Socialisation

  • You must supervise the puppy at all times with other pets and children.
  • Introducing puppies to other house hold pets can be a tense moment for all involved. Make sure you do this in a controlled environment, for example, puppy is on lead or able to see each other through a window or a fence.
  • Cats must be able to see the puppy from a safe distance without the puppy being able to reach it. If you carry your cat to your young pup, the cat may get scared and scratch or bite the puppy or even you.
  • When out in public, ensure you have a ‘poo bag’ for your pup. It is important to pick up the puppy’s faeces and dispose of it properly. Litter and dog fouling is an offence and attract penalties.

Commands

Here are some general commands you can teach your puppy:

Command Description
Sit Pup sits on command
Down / Drop Pup lays down on command
Stay Pup holds position until handler returns
Come Pup returns to handler when called
Steady Pup slows down on command
Wait Pup holds position until release command has been given
Hup Hup Encourages pup to speed up
Up / Stand Pup stands and does not move
Heel Pup stands on the left side of the handler
Leave it Used to redirect the puppy from distractions
Give Pup releases item from mouth
Let's go Pup starts walking
Quick Quick Command to toilet
OK / Free Release command
On your mat/bed Pup goes to designated area
Sit-Wait-OK Commands for feeding

The above information has been taken from our Puppy Raising Manual, the training guide which we use to raise and train our very own Guide Dog puppies.