Your new puppy has joined the family: Four easy rules for a happy life together
Puppy training is most effective when centred around:
Rewarding your puppy when they do the right thing (with “good” followed by a food-based reward).
Ignoring, but never punishing a puppy that does something wrong. If your puppy puts something in their mouth, say “NO” and give them an alternative (a chew toy). In other words, swap.
For example, to teach your puppy to do their business outside, you need to take them outside often (especially every time they wake up) and reward them when they go to the toilet outside. If they go inside, either ignore them or pick them up and take them outside (if you catch them in the act).
Puppies aged between two and four months (and throughout their first year of life) should have as many experiences as possible to be able to socialise with:
Various dogs (of different ages and sizes, where possible) so that they can learn to communicate and play with their peers.
Various people in addition to family members (children, elderly people, tall people, etc.).
Different environments, so not only the park, but also the city, the market, shopping centres, the station, etc.
Without forgetting the importance of taking your dog in the car and perhaps also on the bus or train.
It is paramount to remember that a puppy is like a three-year-old child and has to get to know the world, otherwise they will be afraid of it in the future. This could be a problem for your dog later on, as they have to learn to live in our society. For all three of the above situations, it is vitally important that the puppy has a positive first experience, so they must always be associated with a food-based reward (something pleasant).
From day one, it's a good idea to set some rules for your puppy. This guides your dog so that they can understand their role within the “family pack” (they cannot be the pack “leader”).
FOOD: your puppy should be given their food bowl with a meal three times a day, to be left on the floor for 10 minutes and then taken away (your dog must not be able to eat whenever they want).
RESTING SPOT: your puppy must have their own place to rest that is chosen by you, avoiding central areas of the room and passageways (reward your dog every time they go to the dog basket spontaneously, so as to train them to be calm).
INTERACTIONS: while it might not be easy, your puppy should not receive your attention every time they seek it. When your puppy calms down and is respectful towards you, that’s the time to call them to interact/play with them.
ON THE LEASH: it’s important to teach your puppy not to tug because, as the owner, you are the “leader”; you must be the one who decides in which direction to go and at what speed.
N.B.: From four months old, your puppy must get used to being at home alone (at first only 10 minutes, then half an hour, then longer and so on), otherwise they might be unable to stay home alone later on.
Play is an important tool for your dog’s development. By playing different games with your puppy, you’ll give it new skills and make it “smarter”. A dog may be able not only to fetch a ball and bring it back, but also to put it in a basket or carry a bag. Simply teach your dog through a game.
We recommend a book which is full of games to play with your dog. The aim is to have a companion who knows how to do many things, and so can be more involved in everyday life. Dogs are social animals, so if they can work with the group, they’ll be happier.
Playtime for Your Dog: Keep Him Busy Throughout the Day by C. Sondermann
Dizionario bilingue italiano-cane e cane-italiano by R. Marchesini (in Italian)