K9 Contenders

Connecting owners, dogs and the people who train them

Puppy Training : Start Young and Teach with a Purpose

What are you waiting for? Start training that puppy right away.

Hi. My name is Stewart Clay, creator and founder of K9 Contenders and professional trainer in Nashville, Tennessee.

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is when is the right time to start training my puppy? I am a big believer that the right time is right away.

So how do I teach a puppy? Well, there are three things that a puppy does well just like a baby: eats, sleeps and poops.

So which of those can I use to help shape that puppy's behavior? Food. It's hungry most always. So we're going to use that puppy's desire to eat to our favor. We're going to use food to show the puppy the kind of things that we want it to do and the kinds of things we don't want it to do.

So when I take a young dog outside, I'm going to go out with three goals in mind. I'm going to teach it to go to the bathroom in the right place, outside. I want to build a bond with it. I want to communicate with it and get to know it, develop a relationship with it. And I want to feed it. And I'm going to accomplish all three of those things each time that I go out at lunch, breakfast and dinner.

You know, young puppies need to go out a lot. They need to go to the bathroom. They need to learn to hold it in the crate. They need to learn where to go and how to go. I like to teach puppies to go on command, like hurry or pee pee, or whatever your word may be. So I'm going to take the puppy outside. I'm going to set it down in the same spot every time And I'm going to say, "Hurry, hurry, hurry. Hurry, hurry, hurry." When the puppy goes to the bathroom I'm going to say, "Yes," and tell it I like that behavior. And I'm going to feed it. I'm going to give it a piece of its breakfast. I'm going to continue to walk around the yard or move around that area until the puppy goes again, repeating that process over and over until I feel like the puppy is finished using the restroom.

So what we're really doing here is teaching this puppy to go outside with a purpose. How many times have you heard the story, "Well, I took my puppy out and we played outside for 30 minutes. He went to the bathroom once or twice but then I brought it back in and he went number two in the kitchen." Well, the real reason for that is that puppy's not going outside with a purpose. Teaching the dog hurry, feeding it when it goes, teaches the dog to go outside with a purpose, with a goal in mind. You take a hungry puppy outside. You set it down. It realizes that when it goes to the bathroom it gets something to eat in return. So that puppy goes outside with a mission. It realizes it's hungry. The faster I go to the bathroom, the faster I get something to eat.

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