Is it difficult to train a puppy?
We get it: dog training is no walk in the park. It can sometimes feel like you’re getting nowhere. So, is it difficult to train a puppy? There is no clear yes or no answer.
But don’t throw in the towel just yet- with a little understanding and patience, you can train your puppy effectively and enjoy watching them learn along the way.
It’s important to remember that it’s not the puppy’s fault. The puppy is just being, well, a puppy.
When you’re tired, the number one rule is to never take it out on the puppy. They’re just trying their best, and if you get angry with them, they’ll only get scared and confused. Instead, try to stay calm and patient, even when it feels impossible.
Pups Are Playful by Nature
A big part of why puppies are so difficult to train is that they’re playful by nature. They want to do things their way and can be resistant to change.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing- after all, this same trait makes them such loyal and loving companions. The key is to channel their stubbornness into something positive.
Fun Fact: The most stubborn dog breeds include the Basset Hound, Bulldog, and the American Foxhound. The one trait that connects these breeds is their incredibly high activity level. In other words, they don’t like it when they’re bored.
They Have a Short Attention Span
Training a puppy requires a lot of focus- on your part and theirs. But it’s no secret that they have notoriously short attention spans.
This can make it difficult to keep their focus on the task at hand, especially when there are so many other things going on around them. The best way to combat this is to keep the training sessions short and sweet- no more than ten minutes at a time. And be sure to have plenty of treats on hand to reward them for putting in the effort.
Best Puppy Training Techniques
Now that you have a deeper understanding of why puppies are so difficult to train, it’s time to learn how to avoid getting frustrated. Again, remember the puppy is just having fun and it’s never their fault!
Tip 1 – Evaluate the situation.
If you’re getting angry or upset, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Are you being realistic in your expectations? Is the puppy tired or hungry? There could be some factors at play that make it difficult to train.
Time plays a crucial role here – a puppy’s brain is not fully developed until around six months old. This means they have a limited attention span and are easily distracted.
Tip 2 – Change your approach.
If you do not see results, it might be time to change your approach. Try using different techniques or shorten the training sessions. You might also want to consult with a professional dog trainer for help.
As much as you want a DIY approach to puppy training, there’s no shame in asking for help. Seek assistance from a positive trainer who will teach you how to reward your puppy for good behaviour rather than punish them for bad behaviour.
Punishment can worsen the situation and cause your puppy to become even more resistant to training.
Tip 3 – Be patient.
This is probably the most important tip of all. Just like humans, puppies need time to learn and make mistakes along the way. Be patient and remember that they’re still learning.
With a little understanding and patience, you’ll train your pooch effectively and enjoy watching them learn. Just don’t get too frustrated- they’re only doing their best.
Tip 4 – Taking deep breaths does wonders.
You might be thinking that this is more of a tip for you than your puppy. But the fact is, they sense your frustration, and it will only make the situation worse.
If you’re angry or upset, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down. This will help you keep a clear head and make better decisions during the training process.
Tip 5 – Learn and understand your triggers.
We all have triggers- things that set us off and make us lose our cool. So, consider taking a step back and understanding what sets you off to avoid those situations.
For example, it’s easy to get angry if you’re training your puppy not to jump up on people, and they do it anyway. But if you revisit and reassess your response, you’ll realize that they’re just trying to be friendly, and it becomes easier to stay calm.
Tip 6 – Use positive reinforcement.
This is one of the most effective methods for training a puppy- or any pet, for that matter. Positive reinforcement means rewarding your pup for good behaviour to encourage them to continue doing it.
The most common form of positive reinforcement is using treats, but you can also use praise, petting or even a toy. You probably don’t know it, but your frustration is what leads to your propensity to punish your dog. But if you focus on positive reinforcement, you’ll completely avoid getting angry.
Tip 7 – Manage your expectations.
It makes sense to have realistic expectations when training your puppy. They’re not going to be perfect, and they’ll make mistakes. Just remember that they’re still learning and be patient.
Don’t expect them to know everything right away- it takes time for puppies to learn. So, manage your expectations and give them the time to learn.
Tip 8 – Cherish milestones and victories.
It’s not like you have tunnel vision, and you’re only focused on the end result. No matter how small, every milestone and victory should be celebrated. This will help you stay positive and motivated throughout the training process.
Cherishing milestones and victories mean your furry buddy will have fun throughout. They’ll start to see training as a fun game rather than a boring task.
Puppies are adorable, but they can be a handful. Just remember to stay calm, be patient and have fun. With time and perseverance, you’ll successfully train your puppy in no time. If you were asking yourself ‘is it difficult to train a puppy?’ we hope this helps clear things up a bit. When the going gets tough, feel free to reach out.