Congratulations. You have welcomed a new puppy into your home. You are excited and likely rushed out to purchase a dog bed, feeding dishes, treats, and toys. Did you remember to pick up a book or video on dog training? Why not? Many new pet owners are so concerned with finding the right comfort amenities; they focus little time on thinking about how they will teach their pup. No matter how old the puppy is when he or she becomes part of your extended family, the time to start training is now. Start teaching your dog to be an obedient and loving companion right from the start. Be A Leader Puppies, born part of a litter, need a strong pack leader. That is you! Be consistent and firm in all your commands. Take the lead. Always have your puppy follow you, not walk ahead when taking him/her for a walk. When you lead, you show your dog that you are the leader of the pack. If you let your dog lead, the puppy will feel that they are in charge. Be the first of “the pack” to go in and out of the door or when entering a room. Remember, you are the leader, not the other way around. By firmly taking charge, you provided you dog with a feeling of security and establish the “ground rules” for being part of your household. Dogs sense confidence and will take control of any situation where they feel the leader is timid or weak. Excessive barking, leash pulling, chewing, resistance to toilet training or other destructive behaviors are evidence of a dog that lacks a leader. For your puppy to become a sociable, obedient and loyal dog, he/she needs to bond with you as a strong leader, not a complacent caregiver. All commands and rewards should remain consistent throughout your puppy’s early training and adulthood. Choose simple commands beginning with “No” for unwanted behavior, “Come” when you want him to follow you, “Down” when he tries to jump up on you or other people, and “Stay” when you want the puppy to remain in place. Discover your dog’s favorite treat and reserve that treat for training purposes only. Establishing Boundaries When you are ready to introduce your dog to your yard, put on his/her collar. When you let him out the door, connect him to the lead. If he starts heading out of the yard, you need to verbally correct him with a “NO” command. If continues to stray correct him with the lead. When he stops on your “NO” command praise and lovingly reward him with a treat. Keep Training Sessions Short The world is an intriguing place full of new sights and smells. A young, energetic and excited puppy has a short attention span, so keep training session short. Rather than have one long session, break up training efforts into several short session each day. Barking If you are concerned about correctly training your puppy to be an efficient and effective guard dog, begin his/her training early by allowing your dog to bark a couple of times when a stranger arrives at your door. Praise him/her for sounding an alarm. Then give the command “stop barking” while you hold out a training treat in front of him. Your dog cannot smell and sniff the treat and bark at the same time so will stop barking immediately. After your dog has quieted down for a few minutes, reward him with the treat.