We recommend basic puppy kindergarten and socialization for all puppies. The ideal socialization period is up to 12 weeks and they are most open to new things and people up until 12-16 weeks. Puppies can become fearful of stimuli they have not been exposed to before this age. A great way to help train and socialize your puppy is by starting a puppy class as soon as possible to help to avoid unwanted behaviors and fear issues.
The foundation for training is based on positive reward based praise. A reward can be anything the dog likes – a high value treat, special toy or an enthusiastic “good boy/girl!” The key is having the reward immediately follow the good behavior. Keep daily training sessions short in the beginning (5-15 minutes) and always end on a good note. Build upon the commands but always be sure to revisit all the ones they know! Basic commands to learn include: sit, stay, come, heel, and down. Fun tricks to learn include: high five, shake, and roll over. It is a good idea to practice the commands in a variety of locations so the dog will always respond, even in a challenging situation.
Behavior concerns in dogs can be improved by individual training sessions with a certified trainer or behaviorist. We highly recommend involving the veterinary team with behavior concerns to be sure there are no underlying medical conditions contributing to the behavior. A behavior consult with one of our veterinarians can be a great place to start.
Academy for Obedient Paws: Training classes for puppies and adult dogs in Elkhart, Indiana
Indoor Cat Initiative: Gives ideas to help enrich the lives of indoor cats.
ASPCA: 24 hour access to ASPCA behavior experts
Dr. Sophia Yin: Animal Behaviorist who practices positive training techniques