AD | What I Wish I Had Known When Training My Puppy

Luna has been a part of our family for over 3 years and she has completely changed my life. It’s crazy to think that the little mischievous puppy I brought home all those years ago is now a well behaved, lovable dog who wants nothing more than to spend time playing together or cuddling on the sofa in the evening.

Luna is the first dog I’ve owned, so it was hard at first to know if what I was teaching her was correct. I did a lot of research online and purchased a few training books, each with conflicting opinions on how best to train your puppy. After even more research I decided to train her the way it was advised in one of the top reviewed puppy training books, keeping to one method for each part of her training.

After a long journey back home from picking up Luna, I quickly realised the first hurdle as she did a poo and wee on the floor, toilet training! This was one of the hardest and most stressful parts of her training as I had to watch her like a hawk for the signs that she was about to go to the toilet, then quickly pick her up and take her outside before she had the chance to go! Looking back I realised that she shouldn’t have had full reign of the house, there were incidents where she had gone to the toilet and I hadn’t noticed straight away as she wandered into a different room. I should have restricted the amount of space she initially had in the house, so she wasn’t on her own in the other rooms. However she did end up getting into the routine of going to the toilet before bedtime and from there learned to sit at the back door when she needed to go, so it all worked out in the end but took slightly longer than if she wasn’t allowed to explore the house all the time.

I’ve learned that consistency is one of the most important parts of puppy training, deciding what your training plan is and sticking to it in all situations. She quickly learned all the basic commands such as sit, down and stay before learning a few tricks such as jump up, spin, roll over and balancing treats on her nose. I love how she looks away from the cheese when it’s on her nose, almost as if she wouldn’t be able to resist temptation if she looked at it.

Even though I was consistent with most of her training, there were a few things that were inconsistent including her jumping up at people. Ever since Luna was a puppy she has jumped up as people as she gets excited, and I love her jumping up when I arrive back home as she makes me feel so loved which is a wonderful feeling from your dog. However, as a puppy it was decided that she was allowed to only jump up at myself and Aaron, and tried to stop her from jumping up at everyone else. As you may have gathered this didn’t happen, she got confused so continued to jump up at everyone as she thought she was allowed to. This isn’t a huge issue as we can distract her when people come round our home, however in hindsight it would have been a good idea to not let her jump up at anyone, even ourselves. Also we should have let others know what to do when they came into our home as everyone showers her with affection when she jumps up and we let them, as we hadn’t told them how to react.

Walking Luna is so much fun as I love seeing her run about in the fields (even when it’s muddy), playing with other dogs and investigating all the new scents! Luna has perfect recall and always comes back no matter what she’s doing as I make sure I don’t forget the secret weapon, cheese! However, as perfect as she is off the lead it’s a different story when she’s on the lead. When she was a puppy I wanted her to really enjoy her walks, so I encouraged her to quickly walk along and allowed her to pull on the lead as I was excited that she was having a fun time. As she started to get older, I’d sometimes encourage her to walk nicely whilst other times let her pull (especially when it’s raining). The inconsistency meant that she continued to pull for most of the time. Just as I did with the rest of her training, I should have put together a plan and remained consistent as it would have saved time in the long run and made walking her on a lead a more enjoyable experience for both of us.

People often overlook the importance of a good diet when training their puppy, it’s easy to overfeed them with unhealthy treats which can lead to many problems with their health and issues with training. However, if you use healthier treats that your dog loves then you’ll find training easier and you don’t have to worry about your dogs health. Luna has been trying out the James Wellbeloved grain free dog food recently and she loves it. It’s made from simple ingredients and is full of goodness, fuelling her body with nutrients which can lead to more energy and healthier coats. You’ve probably heard of James Wellbeloved before but if you haven’t they have been creating nourishing recipes for over 25 years, inspired by nature. Luna has quite a sensitive stomach so we normally buy her grain free dog food anyway, but I think she especially loved this brand as she has licked the bowl clean every time. I always make her sit whilst preparing her breakfast and dinner then wait until I say she can eat, it’s a great way to reinforce her training on a daily basis as her food is a huge reward. As you can see she was being extra good and patient whilst I took photos of her!

It’s important for training to be fun for both you and your dog, as if you both enjoy it then your dog will want to continue learning and this will encourage you to keep up the good work! Luna is now a very well-behaved dog (apart from stealing socks and sleeping with them in her bed) and I’m happy with how consistent I was with the majority of the training.

There are many things that I wish I did differently with her training, but I’ve now corrected these mistakes and learnt from them. At the same time I’m really proud with the training as she’s healthy lovable dog who’s easy to look after and wants nothing more than playing outside, cuddles on the sofa and treats!

Rebecca x

*This post is in conjunction with James Wellbeloved but all thoughts are my own.

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