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A Step-By-Step Guide To Training Your Puppy


Dog owners training their dogs in the park

Training a puppy can get difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before. Fortunately for us, dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years, so we have some idea of how their minds work and how we can train them effectively.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how you can train your puppy. We’ve tackled the process in steps, so it’s easier for you to understand and follow when training your own dog. You’ll find our guide is separated into three parts:

  • Getting Started With Puppy Training
  • What To Train Your Puppy On
  • Tips For Training Your Puppy

Those should cover everything a new dog owner wants to know about puppy training. For those who want to read even deeper into the process, we have also included some references to other online materials.

Before we get into puppy training, here are some things you should know about the process…

Getting Started With Puppy Training

Getting Started With Puppy Training

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You should know some information before you start training. You can’t teach your puppy if you haven’t learned a few things yourself, after all.

First, why train your puppy? While highly domesticated, dogs are still animals that need to be trained and civilized. Every good dog owner should train their dog as a matter of principle.

As for practical reasons, training is the best way to bond with your dog so that you have a great relationship with them. Most mid and large-sized dogs, and even some of the small ones, benefit from outdoor activity. While taking your dog outdoors, they should follow heel, sit, and stay commands for the safety of the dog and others. A well-trained dog will also bark less, be less aggressive and destructive around your household, and won’t suffer from phobias.

Even the laziest dogs love training since it’s often presented as playtime, so the training process is fun for both of you!

How Do Dogs Learn?

To best teach a dog, we need to understand how they learn. Most learning, even with humans, is based on pattern recognition and copying the actions of the teacher. Dogs learn best when you appeal to their sense of sight and smell. Since you have an interest in dogs, you’ve probably heard just how powerful dog noses are.

Positive reinforcement should be used to reward the puppy when it does what you want. That way, it learns to respond to certain commands with the expectation of receiving praise for doing so. Whether it’s praise, their favorite toy, or their favorite treat, all can be used to tell your puppy they’re doing well.

Finding their favorite treats can require some detective work, so you should get to know the temperament and tastes of your new dog before training starts. The simplest way is to present them with several dog-friendly treats and see which ones they like.

Here are some extra tips on getting your dog to learn new things:

  • Train them in a place that doesn’t have distractions. A quiet room away from windows and strong scents will suffice.
  • Train in short, regular sessions so that the dog doesn’t get burned out.
  • Be patient, dogs won’t pick things up instantly.
  • End sessions with a trick that your dog does know, so the training ends on a positive note for you and the dog.
  • Make it fun for both of you. That way, you’ll both keep up with the training routine and enjoy the process.

How Long Does It Take To Train Your Puppy?

Every dog is unique, that much should be obvious. This means that different puppies will have different training times. It depends on five main factors:

  1. How much you’ll be teaching them.
  1. How long you can spend training them.
  1. How experienced you are with dog training.
  1. The dog’s temperament.
  1. The age of the dog. We’re talking about puppies today and, fortunately for you, the youngest dogs are the easiest to train!

With that in mind, let’s go with a basic example of what your dog training journey may look like. So, let’s assume that your dog is three months old and you spend some time with them twice a day, with each session lasting for ten to twenty minutes. We’re using three months as an example because it’s where the dog is developed enough to be trained but still very young, so it’s the ideal starting age.

Assuming that schedule, you’ll spend four weeks just ensuring that your dog pays attention to you and focuses on your movements and commands. This will involve play and structured games, which you may need to learn yourself if you’ve never trained a dog before.

Now you’ve set up the foundation of your pup’s education, it’ll take another four or five weeks to build up the typical skills every dog should have. That’ll be the sit and recall commands, and the ability to walk them on a leash without incident.

Then you’ll need to proof those skills. That’s where you spend more time, another four weeks with our example, introducing your dog to new situations and making sure that it’ll focus on you and follow your commands no matter where you are.

That’s the bare minimum that every dog should learn. Proofing the dog fully can take a few extra months, in which case you should have a well-mannered dog by the time it reaches one year old.

What To Train Your Puppy On

What To Train Your Puppy On

Now that you know a little more about how dogs learn and how long the training process will take, it’s time to talk about what your puppy needs to know.

Here are nine basic skills and functions that every dog should be taught. If you can think of any more, training them is easy when you use positive reinforcement.

Toilet Training

Toilet Training

Let’s start with toilet training, a basic skill that comes in handy every single day. That makes it one of the most important, if not the most important. A puppy that doesn’t learn the house rules won’t follow them as an adult, so the problem will get worse and they’ll be much, much harder to train out of it.

What those house rules are will depend on your home and the dog. If you have a yard, then most dog owners teach them to go potty outside. For puppies, it’s common to have a pad for them to do their business inside until they get bigger. A designated pooping spot on a pad is common for those in apartments or buildings without backyards, too.

Follow these tips to toilet train your pup properly:

  • Feed the pup on a schedule so that its movements can be anticipated.
  • Take them out every morning and every evening, and then in one-hour intervals, or sooner if the pup is excitable. They should also be taken outside after they eat or nap.
  • Encourage them to go to the same spot each time.
  • Accompany them, don’t leave them to their own devices until they are older.
  • Reward them when they go outside.

Lastly, and most importantly, do NOT punish a puppy when they go inside. If you catch them in the act then clap once to startle them, then take them outside and praise them once they have finished. Don’t rub their nose into anything or yell at them. Pups aren’t smart enough to figure out why you’re mad, so you’ll only teach them to fear you instead. When a dog is in fear, its movements may become uncontrollable, so you’ll only make it worse for yourself.

When a dog is trained, they’ll bark, whine, circle, and scratch at the door to signal they want to go out. Learn the signs and let them out when they want.

Crate Training

When settling a puppy into its new home, many use a crate. They are also used to keep dogs confined when the owners are out of the home and they can’t be trusted with furniture and other things in the house. This comes with its own training requirements that you should know.

To make a dog stay in its crate, they need to like it. You can’t treat the crate like a jail cell or a punishment for them, or they’ll associate it with negativity. They should love the crate instead, which is done by feeding them from the crate and giving them treats when they follow commands to enter it. When relaxing in their crate is a pleasurable experience, your pup won’t mind spending some time there.

Make sure the crate is large enough for the dog, full of food and fresh water, and unable to be defecated in. If you’re away, somebody should be on hand to let them out once a day for a break.

As you can imagine, there are ethical concerns over using your crate too much. If you’re using a crate, learn what not to do.

To Walk On A Leash

Walking is essential to maintain the fitness of dogs of all sizes. Some dogs are lazier than others and playful dogs can be harder to train because they don’t like being restricted. Your dog shouldn’t just tolerate being on a leash, they should be calm and respectful to passersby. For that, you’ll need to socialize them with both animals and humans, something we’ve covered in more detail below.

As for how you teach the dog, you should start with teaching your pet sound cues. Whether it’s a click of the tongue or a trigger word, you should use it in your quiet place to attract the dog to you while it’s wearing its collar. Reward them with a treat when they do. Continue that until the dog learns to walk beside you for a few seconds to get the treat instead.

After that, you should take it outside and introduce your pup to the natural world. They should be fully vaccinated and old enough to tackle a walk by themselves, of course. If the dog pulls, stand still and refuse to move until the puppy moves. Don’t jerk the leash around to try and control the dog. When you take the walk outside, you should be pre-emptive if the dog tries to lunge or bark at passersby by distracting them with treats beforehand.

How To Socialize With Others – Animals & Humans

How To Socialize With Others - animals and humans

Our pets socialize with everybody else we come across, which means they need to play nice with other people and even other animals. The surest way to socialize your pup is to introduce them to different people growing up. Your family members and friends are the best people for this. Once a pup has had enough exposure to people of all stripes, they generally won’t see other people in the street as a threat.

As for animals, there are a few things you must consider. Socializing your pup to play nice with other dogs is similar to socializing them with people. You should take them to parks and other places where dogs are allowed so they can become confident and friendly while around others. This is best done with a friend who owns a dog that you know is friendly, so you can organize how the introduction takes place before taking them to the park.

Dogs aren’t the only animals that are out there. There are critters that your dog may want to play with or harm, like rabbits or squirrels, which then present an unwelcome distraction on your walks. This is especially important with dog breeds that have a high prey chase drive.

How Not To Bite

This is one of the most important things that you teach a dog. Depending on the local laws near you, a dog that bites can be confiscated and destroyed. A puppy that nips at people isn’t so serious but, if you don’t train it out of them, it can become a dog that bites. It’s best to train a dog not to bite when they have tiny teeth that have barely grown in.

When your puppy does nip, you should make a display that shows them they hurt you. Typically, you should say “ow” in a high pitch, so it sounds like a yelp from a fellow pup. When the dog responds by backing away and calming down, give them the treat to reward their compliance. Ignoring them can work too, by burying your hands in your armpits and turning away from them. Don’t chastise them, that’s just more attention, so they won’t learn.

Not To Chew On Furniture

Not To Chew On Furniture

A less serious biting behavior that’s common with puppies is furniture chewing. It doesn’t just cause damage to items in your home, which can result in costly repairs or replacements, but it can also degrade the quality of your dog’s teeth if they try chewing hard surfaces. Naturally, the dog will do more damage to your furniture as they get older and their mouths and teeth get larger, so you should stop this bad habit while they are young.

First, giving your pup a chew toy is a great way to control your dog’s chewing tendencies. A chew toy, when given early, will likely become their favorite toy and so they’ll stay away from cushions or table legs. Dental chew sticks are also a great treat that allows them to chew while also regulating their dental health. Give them a purpose-made chew toy, not some old clothes or part of a furniture item, because then they’ll think it’s okay to chew similar objects.

When your dog tries chewing off-limits objects, you should follow the usual steps. First, don’t get mad and instead calmly direct your dog to the chew toy. If they take up the chew toy, pat them on the head and give them a treat as a reward.

If bad behavior persists, you can also get a no-chew spray that makes things smell and taste unpleasant for your dog.

How To Be Able To Stay At Home Alone

Getting rid of furniture chewing is part of a wider skill set, which is the ability to be left home alone. You don’t want to come home to torn cushions, after all, and there are many other benefits to teaching canine independence.

Dogs are social creatures, especially when they are young, so teaching independence can be tough. Start while you’re still around by placing them in a crate or pen, surrounded by the food they need and toys to occupy themselves with. Quietly leave the room for a minute or two and then return with a treat. Do this and gradually increase the time you’re away, rewarding them if they stay calm. Tone down how much you reward them so that they don’t miss you too much!

Teaching Your Dog Obedience & Basic Commands

Teaching Your Dog Obedience and Basic Commands

Now that you’ve covered a lot of the basics for your pup, you should then also teach obedience and the basic commands that allow you to communicate and control the animal. What basic commands does a dog need to know?

  • Look – Get your dog to start focusing on you, so you can issue further commands.
  • Sit – To get them to sit down, obviously.
  • Stay/Wait – Stop them in their place until you return.
  • Down – To get them to lay down and relax.
  • Off – Not to be confused with down, this gets them to stop trying to climb onto furniture and other inappropriate things.
  • Recall/Come – To make the dog come to you, which could save lives in certain situations.
  • Heel – To stop your dog from pulling ahead during walks.
  • Leave it/Don’t touch – To get the dog to leave or ignore things that they shouldn’t be interested in.
  • Drop it – To get your dog to drop something that they should have left if they ignored you the first time!

Teaching all of these requires a calm but persistent process that involves rewarding them when they do what you want. When they don’t, simply redirect their attention instead of getting frustrated and giving them negative attention. Giving negative attention will either reinforce the bad behavior (since bad attention is still attention!) or will distress your dog and lead to even worse behaviors.

There are many other commands you can teach your dog after you’ve covered the basics, for those who want to take the training even further.

Proofing Behaviors & Troubleshooting

As we said above, you should proof all of the behaviors that you teach your dog. There isn’t much point in training your dog to follow commands if they get distracted easily. You stop that by reinforcing the commands in the real world, so your dog learns to follow them no matter what’s happening around you.

It can be difficult to know when your dog fully understands a command. You should look out for three things:

  1. They follow the behavior when they get the cue.
  2. They don’t follow the behavior if they haven’t been cued.
  3. They don’t follow the behavior after a different cue.

Then you need to proof the behavior, which requires three other factors:

  • Distance: Can they follow commands when away from their handler?
  • Distraction: Can they follow commands while ignoring distractions?
  • Duration: Can they follow the behavior for an extended period?

Proofing dog behavior is all about asking yourself “what if…?”

You shouldn’t throw your dog into the deep end and expect them to swim. Instead, change just one factor at a time so you can build their obedience in a piecemeal way. If you want them to stay from a distance, add distance without adding duration or any distractions, otherwise, your dog will be overwhelmed. Once taught individually, a dog can handle all three with ease.

Use the best treats possible, better than the ones you used to teach the commands to your pup. These work best when adding distractions because they simply can’t help but pay attention to their favorite treats. When they successfully proof the behavior, be very generous with your praise and your treat-giving.

As always, be patient and manage your expectations. The dog will fail, especially when it’s a young pup, but they have already made amazing progress if you’re in the proofing stage. Go slowly and give the dog plenty of time to understand what you want from them.

An advanced way to proof your puppy’s taught behaviors is also to change its handler. A well-behaved dog that follows your orders is great but one that follows another handler’s cues is even better.

Tips For Training Your Puppy

Tips For Training Your Puppy

With that, we’ve covered the backbone of this guide. You should know most of what is needed to properly train your pup into a well-behaved and respectful animal.

As we near the end of the guide, let’s finish with some tips and tricks that you should always keep in mind. You should have gleaned many of them from the steps outlined above because they are fundamental to a healthy and productive training session.

Even if you teach your pup some new tricks, you can still ruin their temperament if they become emotionally troubled by missteps along the way. You can avoid that by following the five tips below.

Create A Routine

Like many animals, dogs don’t have as sophisticated a sense of time as we do. That said, they can recognize routines and memorize situations where certain behaviors are expected of them. Humans need routines to learn and be at their most productive, so it makes sense that a routine will benefit your four-legged friend.

Start training sessions at the same time every day, so your dog can anticipate and get into the habit of following your commands. It also allows you to schedule around training sessions, so even busy dog owners can find the time to raise a well-mannered dog.

Try To Start Your Training In A Quiet Environment

When you do get a training schedule started, you should also free up a quiet place where your dog can focus on you. Puppies have short attention spans, so this is something that needs to be catered for when you start training them.

If you have a backyard, make sure it’s relatively quiet and free from critters and other objects that’ll cause a distraction. If you’re training them inside your house, it should be in a quiet room that the dog is familiar with, so they don’t get the urge to explore and ignore your commands. The more familiar and peaceful the dog’s training space is, the easier it’ll be to get their attention and teach them what they need to know.

Reward Your Puppy For Performing Well

The main thing to remember when keeping your dog healthy and happy during training is that you should only use positive reinforcement. Many inexperienced dog owners will get frustrated with their dogs and try to punish them. Punishment only works when they understand why they are being punished, which they rarely do.

Even if a dog does look “guilty” after doing a forbidden action, acting negatively toward them won’t change their ways. Dogs are motivated by seeking out positives rather than avoiding negatives.

Instead, a mixture of diversion and positive reinforcement is better. Where possible, ignore the pup’s bad acts and instead divert them to what you want them to do. When they interact with areas and objects in the way you want, shower them with praise and rewards. This teaches them that, to get more rewards, they should do what you want them to do.

This ties into our next tip…

Don’t Punish Your Puppy

As we said, do not punish your puppy. You shouldn’t punish them when they grow up and become a dog, either. At most, you can startle them with a clap or some other quick but loud noise, but this serves to grab their attention instead of punishing them. Once you have their attention, you can then divert them or ignore them, to show them that their current behavior won’t get any positive treatment from you.

Some dog owners go so far into “punishing” their pup that it can become abusive. The last thing you want to do is mentally harm your dog during its most vulnerable and formative months. Dogs that have been browbeaten and otherwise mistreated will develop even worse behaviors that, as they become adults, become practically untreatable unless you get a professional dog trainer.

Know Your Puppy’s Limits

Lastly, while we’re thinking about the mental health of your pup during its development, you should know its limits. Over-training your dog can become a frustrating experience for both of you. Your pup wants to please you and feel good about doing it, but that doesn’t happen in prolonged training sessions. They stop being productive within twenty minutes, after which the chances of you both getting frustrated increase.

You’re not the only one with patience that can run short. Your puppy has patience too, which will get worn down through overlong sessions and this can harm their attention span in the future.

As we have written near the start of this guide, anywhere between ten to twenty minutes is best for a single training session. Many recommend fifteen minutes as a natural middle point between those two figures.


Dog trainers showing obstacle course for training your puppy

That’s the end of our guide on training your puppy. Much of the information here is suitable for dogs of all ages but, as we have detailed, the younger dogs are often the easiest to train past three months old. As they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

A lot of this guide was structured to be followed step-by-step, so keep it around the next time you’re starting the dog training process. When the information above is followed, you should see results from your dog training while also encouraging a happy and healthy relationship with your pup.

When you’re shaping the mind of a young animal, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. Remember to treat your dog calmly and with respect, and they’ll repay you in kind by following your commands.

Another amazing article from The Dog Advisor.

What’s your favorite body part on your dog? His squishy paws? His soft ears? His little button dog nose? It can be difficult to decide when there’s just so much to love!

Have you ever taken a moment to really think about these doggy parts and the roles they play in your dog’s life? If not, then settle in because we’re about to blow your mind.

We’ve covered the function of your dog’s paws in a previous article, but today’s article is dedicated to an even more astounding body part on Fido – his amazing nose!

Here are 15 things you should know about the dog nose. Take a look!

1. The Dog Nose Has Six Different Parts And His Nostrils Can Each Smell Separately

1 a close up of a dog nose
Your dog’s nose consists of six different parts on the outside, and each part plays an important role.

As a whole, the dog nose is one cute little feature. But did you know that the canine sniffer has six different parts? Each part of the dog nose plays an important role in how a dog interprets scent, transfers information to the brain, and communicates with other dogs.

The Rhinarium

The rhinarium, or the outside skin of your dog’s nose, is what is also sometimes called “nose leather”. This is the hairless part of your dog’s nose as a whole; that cute part of his nose that is either black, brown, tan, or pink, depending on his breed.

In fact, some dogs have a rhinarium that is considered a Dudley, which is a nose that is entirely pink. A Dudley rhinarium color is actually a disqualifying feature, according to a number of canine clubs, so even if your dog is a show quality purebred, that Dudley nose will mean he can’t compete in show or dog sports.

The Philtrum

The philtrum is an area of the nose that is present on both dogs and people. This is that part of flesh between your nostrils, or your dog’s nostrils. For dogs, a philtrum is an important part of his dog nose. In fact, it helps your dog keep his nose moist by collecting saliva when he licks it.

When he licks his philtrum, moisture from the mouth travels to the rhinarium, which helps enhance your dog’s ability to smell.

Two Nostrils

Your dog’s nostrils, also called nares, are considered two different parts of your dog’s nose because they each function separately. His nasal cavity is divided into two parts inside his nose and each nostril can wiggle independently from one another.

More amazingly, each of your dog’s nostrils can take in individual smells. When your dog is sniffing, he inhales particles in the air and traps them inside his nasal cavities with mucus. This mucus contains scent receptors, which go about processing these scents and transferring the smells to your dog’s brain.

Each smell that is trapped in your dog’s nostrils can communicate a wide variety of information about the world around him, almost like an entire language spoken by the earth that only your dog can understand.

Two Slits

Just as the dog nose nostrils play an important and individual role, so do your dog’s nose slits. These little slits on the side of his nose allow for excess air to escape while trapping the scent particles inhaled.

Because smell is such an important part of being a dog, these two slits are vital to the dog nose function. In fact, without them, the smell particles would simply escape with the air your dog exhales.

2. A Dog Nose Is 40 Times More Powerful Than A Human Nose

2 human tapping a dogs nose
Your dog can smell at least 40 times better than you.

Olfactory receptors, sometimes known as odor receptors, are what make it possible for us and animals to detect odor. When an odor is picked up in the air by the olfactory receptors, the receptors then trigger nerve impulses that allow our brain to detect smell.

The more olfactory receptors a person or animal has, the better off their sense of smell is.

Humans have around six million olfactory receptors in our noses, while dogs have upwards of 300 million. Not only that, but their olfactory cortex – the part of the brain that interprets smell- is about 40 times larger than our own. Wow!

With that noted, it’s no shock then that the dog nose is so powerful that it can out-perform even man-made instruments designed for detecting odor. In fact, dogs are capable of detecting a scent that is up to 12 miles away.

That said, not all noses are created equal. Some breeds are better equipped at putting their dog nose to work. Some of the top breeds utilized for their amazing sense of smell include:

Of these dogs, the Bloodhound is perhaps the most talented when it comes to putting his dog nose to good use.

It has been found that the Bloodhound has the largest number of olfactory sensors of any breed, which means he’s at the tippy top with 300 million olfactory sensors used for sniffing. This makes the Bloodhound an ideal tracking dog used both for police work, military work, hunting and more.

3. Your Dog Uses His Nose For More Than Just Smelling

3 a chocolate lab sniffing
Dogs have long helped humans sniff out things we couldn’t.

As we mentioned briefly above, the dog nose can outperform any man made instrument used to detect odor to date. It’s no wonder we humans have decided to employ our canine counterparts for their incredible sniffing abilities!

Your dog’s nose likely evolved to be such a powerful smelling machine thanks to his wild ancestors. Wild dogs once had to use their noses to sense danger, find food, and communicate with one another. And once humans discovered how incredible the dog nose really was, we quickly found use for it as well.

Dogs have been utilized for centuries for working purposes and therapy services, but a dog nose is perhaps most remarkably used for one of the most amazing jobs of all – sniffing out medical issues in humans. Dogs have been employed to help sniff out different types of cancers, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer.

They can also help find missing people, perifinailia, bombs, and other things simply by tracking the scent left behind in the air. How amazing is that?

4. A Blind Dog With A Good Nose Is Hardly Bothered

4 a corgi laying backwards
Blind dogs can often go on to live a normal life, as they use their nose to give them so much information.

When a human loses their vision, much of their life will need to be adjusted to accommodate the absence of such a major sense. When a dog loses their vision, they can adapt much more easily.

Dogs rely far more on their nose than their eyes to provide information to them about their world, from what’s coming around the corner to who or what has been in the room before them.

Many dogs are also able to sense emotions with their dog nose, so while they are excellent at reading our body language and facial expressions, they can also smell how we are feeling.

This is why a blind dog will still be just as in tune with you as a seeing dog. And we love this adorable fact.

5. Dogs Have A Vomeronasal Organ, AKA A Second Nose

5 a close up of a yellow lab nose
Dogs have an organ that they can use like a second nose. No wonder their sense of smell is so good!

The Vomeronasal organ, also known as the Jacobson organ, helps act as a second nose for dogs. It includes even more sensory cells inside the nasal cavity and helps dogs detect certain pheromones. These homeone-like scents are released by dogs and help communicate quite a bit of information.

So, in essence, dogs use their noses not only to smell, but also to gather a whole lot of information about the emotional and physical well being of their other canine counterparts.

When your dog sniffs another dog’s bum, he’s actually collecting quite a bit of data in that second nose. This is because each dog’s anal glands produce a unique secretion to that dog, which allows for other dogs to determine gender, age, health, emotion and more.

It may sound gross to us, but for a dog, this greeting is like a friendly handshake.

The Vomeronasal organ is yet another reason why blind dogs do so well without their sense of sight. They can easily tell if they have met another dog before or even smelled that dog’s scent in passing by collecting information from the secretions of the anal glands.

But while all dogs have a “second nose” by way of the Vomeronasal organ, some dogs also physically have a second nose.

Yes, you read that right. Some dogs actually have two noses. Some rare breeds designed to have a double nose include dogs like the Double Nosed Andean Tiger Hound, the Catalburun Dog, and the Pachon Navarro.

6. When Your Dog Chatters His Teeth, He’s Often Activating His Nose

6 a smiling brown dog
Chattering teeth could be a sign that your dog is really getting a good sniff going.

For humans, teeth chattering usually means we’re cold or anxious. For dogs, teeth chattering can help drive scent up into the incisive papilla.

The incisive papilla is a small, fleshy bump on the roof of your dog’s mouth covered in a mucous membrane designed to further collect and distinguish smell. Humans have a papilla too!

To find yours, press your tongue up to your two front teeth. That small little fold of skin is your papilla.

Your dog’s incisive papilla is in the same area, though his is more functional and powerful than our own. And when he chatters his teeth, he’s activating his papilla, which enhances his ability to smell and can even provide a much greater amount of information based on the scents he is retrieving.

7. A Dry Nose Does Not Equal An Unhealthy Nose, In Spite Of Some Myths

7 a pug in a blanket
Although a dry dog nose isn’t something to be concerned about, a cracked, crusty or otherwise abnormal looking nose is.

There was once a time we thought that a dry dog nose was an unhealthy dog nose. This myth has since been debunked and we now know that a dry nose is completely normal in dogs, so long as it’s not accompanied by other symptoms.

A hot, dry nose can be a concern and mean a few different health issues, including allergies, fever, and more if it is accompanied by a dog that is acting lethargic or otherwise unwell.

According to the American Kennel Club, if your dog has a crusty, cracked, or otherwise abnormal looking dog nose accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s important to contact your veterinarian.

Some symptoms of an unhealthy dog nose include:

  • Cracks
  • Sores
  • Cuts
  • Lumps
  • Excess Nasal Discharge
  • Wheezing
  • And Sneezing

If your dog’s nose just looks strange or abnormal to you, but doesn’t quite line up with the above symptoms of dog nose red flags, it’s still wise to contact your vet. As we now know, the dog nose is an important and vital part of your dog’s body, and being in tune with it could help you determine quite a bit about your dog’s health.

Other health issues or dangers to your dog’s nose you should look out for include:

Yes, a sunburn on your dog’s nose is quite common. Many people don’t think about dogs getting sunburns, but their skin is really not much different from our own. Dogs with lighter colored noses are especially susceptible to sunburn, but all dogs can benefit from some nose protection when it comes to those UV rays.

My Dog Nose It Sun Balm

We are big fans of the above dog nose sun protection balm by My Dog Nose It. This balm not only helps protect your dog’s nose from the harmful rays of the sun, but it also helps moisturize it and reduce cracking and dryness.

This balm is affordable, made with dog-safe ingredients, and easy to apply to your dog’s nose.

8. Your Puppy’s Nose Could Make Potty Training Tough

8 a Golden Retreiver Puppy
If puppies smell old urine in the home, they’ll be tempted to go in that same place over and over again.

Dogs can smell where they already went to the bathroom, and this smell can attract them to go to the bathroom in that same area again. This is why it’s so important to carefully clean up accidents inside your home. It’s also important to clean up any accidents outside of your home in areas you don’t want your dog to go potty.

In fact, most experts agree that if you’re aiming for your dog to go to the bathroom in a specific location, use his nose to your advantage.

OUT! Go Here Potty Training Spray

This amazing spray by OUT! Allows you to use that dog nose to your advantage. Take what your dog does naturally, which is sniff, and help communicate to him using odor where he should go instead of where he shouldn’t.

Positive reinforcement and teaching your dog what to do as opposed to what not to do has statistically been proven to work more efficiently and effectively when it comes to training.

Using this type of spray to mark the spots your dog should go potty, along with using lots of treats, praise and encouragement, can help cut your potty training time in half.

9. It’s Been Suggested That Dog’s Can Tell Time

9 a french bulldog sniffing
Some experts think that dogs can “smell” time.

Dogs may not be able to tell time on a watch, clock or smartphone, but some studies have suggested that dogs may actually be able to smell time as it passes. This makes sense, when you consider the amazing power of a dog nose and all the incredible smells it can detect.

To dogs, different times of day will smell different. For example, the morning may smell like coffee, shampoo, car exhaust and other morning smells you can’t even detect but your dog can as the day begins.

The same goes for the afternoon, evening and nighttime. Through his sense of smell, it’s possible your dog knows your routine, when you’re likely to be home for work, when dinner time happens, and what time he goes for his daily walk.

For example, if you hire a dog walker and that walker comes at the same time every day, your dog will know it. Many people with professional walkers will point out that their dog suddenly gets up and waits by the door or window around the time their walker comes.

This is the same if your spouse or partner returns home from work at a certain time, or if children leave or arrive home from school at a certain time each day.

This is one of the reasons most dogs do best with routines. They, like us, like to know what to expect so that they can make their own little schedules.

During the pandemic, when many households were quarantined, a number of trainers reporterted an uptick in calls from owners experiencing behavioral issues with their dogs.

This is likely because, while dogs enjoy having their owners home, their routine was suddenly disrupted and their senses were now in overdrive.

Those smells they relied on to get through the day and help them tell time to determine what was to come were now completely out of whack, leading to a number of issues for pets and people alike.

10. Your Dog Can Probably Sniff Out A Pregnancy

10 a pregnant woman and a dog
Dogs can smell the subtle changes in hormones, and often know when a woman is pregnant.

If your dog can smell time, then it’s probably no big surprise than your dog can smell if someone close is pregnant.

Here’s the thing though – while your dog is amazing and that dog nose of his is equally cool, dogs probably don’t recognize that they are smelling a baby in that belly. What they are detecting are subtle changes to a woman’s hormones. They are also able to detect changes in body language, emotional cues, and the overall excitement in everyone’s energy.

Remember, dogs pay very close attention to our body language and facial expressions, but that dog nose of theirs is also able to smell emotional changes like excitement, anxiety, stress, fear, sadness and joy.

If your dog is behaving differently around someone who is pregnant, it’s likely because he does know there is something special going on. But what he understands beyond that unique smell is still undetermined.

11. If Your Dog Has Jowls, He May Be A Better Sniffer

11 a bloodhound with a red harness
Bloodhounds have some of the strongest noses in the canine kingdom. Is this partly thanks to their jowls?

Remember how we discussed the Bloodhound being one of the top dogs when it comes to utilizing his dog nose?

While the Bloodhound is a sniffing star thanks to his abundance of olfactory glands, there is also a good chance that his saggy jowls help enhance his sense of smell even more.

Although this is still a theory, many experts believe that the saggy jowls in some dogs help to waft the smell particles in the air up to the nose while a dog is sniffing. This could mean that dogs like mastiffs, hounds, and other dogs with saggy jowls have a bit of an advantage when it comes to the function of their dog nose and how successfully they can smell.

12. Your Dog Can Decipher Individual Scents In Concentrations of One Part Per Trillion

12 a close up of a dog nose
In some ways, your dog’s sense of smell is almost like a shark’s.

Your dog’s nose is not only 40 times more powerful than your own, but it’s also able to detect different smells, even if the smells have been widely dispersed. According to experts, dogs can detect unique scents in concentrations of one part per trillion.

This would be the equivalent of a dog being able to sniff out a drop of soda in a 2,400 foot swimming pool. Of course, your dog can’t sniff under water. But in the air, he can sniff out just as far and just as specifically.

This is just one of the traits that make tracking dogs so successful, and why dogs are often employed for jobs in military work, police work, search and rescue work and more.

13. The Inside Of Your Dog’s Nose And Lungs Are Lined With Tiny “Brooms”

13 a close up of a white dogs nose
Your dog’s nose is perfectly designed to allow him to sniff without inhaling something dangerous.

These broom-like sensors are known as cila sensors, and they help detect and collect numerous particles in the air like debris, dust, pollen, and more. The structures are shaped like little brooms, helping them to cling to certain particles and then expel them from your dog’s nose and lungs when he sneezes.

This is especially helpful, considering your dog spends so much of his time sniffing. It’s easy for your dog to sniff debris, dirt, pollen and dust into his nose and lungs, and without his Cila sensors, he could get very sick.

14. The Scents Around Your Dog Are Constantly Changing

14 a dog sniffing the grass
Your dog may seem stunned by the smells in his own backyard, but that’s because every day the scents are new.

It may seem like no matter how often you take your dog outside, even if it’s in his own backyard or down the same path you take day and night for walks, your dog is a sniffing maniac. While you may be used to the sights, sounds and smells you come across in these familiar places each day, to your dog, his world is forever-changing.

Because your dog relies so heavily on his nose to receive information, his world is constantly new – even if he was just in the same area five minus earlier.

Every sniff tells him a new story about who or what was there before him, and he simply cannot ignore his natural instinct to sniff and retrieve all this amazing information.

15. Dogs Really Enjoy Sniffing, So Let Your Dog Be “Nosey”!

15 two yorkie dogs sniffing
Smelling helps keep your dog happy both physically and mentally.

Sniffing is more than just an instinctual and natural pastime for your dog. The action of sniffing helps transmit information and can even help increase your dog’s overall health and happiness.

Walks and outings where your dog is allowed free sniff time can help increase optimism and mental soundness, alleviating anxiety, stress and boredom. When dog walks are full of sniffs, they can help ensure your dog is more fulfilled afterwards both physically and emotionally, which can reduce a variety of health and behavioral issues down the road.

To get the most out of your outdoor adventures with your dog, go when you have enough time to allow him to sniff. Remember, walks aren’t solely about exercising his physical body, but also exercising his mind as well. When your dog sniffs, he’s happier for it, which means you should definitely let him be a little nosey.

So, what did you learn today about the amazing dog nose? Did you have any idea your dog’s nose was so powerful?

Dog Nose 1

Another Great Article by Sara Seitz:

can dogs eat corn 1

There is a lot of controversy about corn and canines. So much so, in fact, that you may be wondering if your pup is going to get sick after stealing that cob off your plate.

In this article, we will discuss whether or not corn is safe for dogs to eat, whether it is a good thing or bad to feed your dog kibble containing this common grain, and what you can do to make sure your pooch is eating what they should.

pic 1 colorful maize
Popular, delicious, and sometimes colorful, this grain is a staple in American cuisine. But should your pooch chow down on it too? We’ll answer this question and more below.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Corn?

The short answer here is yes, dogs can eat corn.

This fleshy grain is filled with a lot of nutrients your dog needs. It is brimming with B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium. It also has a lot of fiber which may or may not help your dog form better stools.

Assuming your dog is not allergic to it (more on this later), there is little harm in feeding this grain as a treat every once in a while. Just make sure you are feeding only corn and not all the butter and salt that usually accompanies it.

Unflavored, salt-free popcorn makes a tasty treat. Even cooked or raw kernels off the cob can be eaten by dogs, just don’t be surprised when it comes out the other end looking exactly how it did going in.

You should not let your dog eat whole cobs, however. These highly fibrous stalks are very difficult to digest and could cause an impaction in your dog’s gut. Always keep cobs–even those you’ve picked clean–out of your dog’s reach.

pic 2 dog with corn cobWhile the kernels may be safe in the raw form, letting your dog scavenge through the garden to pick their own corn isn’t recommended. The husk and cob both present potential choking hazards.

The Problem with Corn as an Ingredient In Dog Food

While corn is fine to feed as a treat in moderation, it is much less desirable as a dog food ingredient.

There are plenty of people out there who would disagree with this statement. Most of them have some connection with dog food companies who routinely turn out corn-filled pet foods. And the rest have either been educated by or unknowingly swayed by these same people.

The reason for this controversy is easy to see. After all, if a dog can eat this grain and it is full of nutrients, why shouldn’t it be included in their daily diet?

To understand why it is worth avoiding dog foods filled with corn, we need to take a deeper look at how this ingredient is used in creating dog food and what it does and does not bring to the table.

A Cheap Filler

The most widely used argument against corn in dog food is that it is used simply because it is cheap.

Packing pet food with cheap ingredients lowers the overall cost of production which means more profits for the company in the end. And corn, especially varieties that are GMO and pesticide-laden, is very cheap.

pic 3 dog food in bowl
What’s in your dog’s bowl? Many companies use filler ingredients to save money. This practice leaves less room for the nutritious ingredients your dog really needs.

When manufacturers include a lot of fillers in their food, they don’t have to pay for higher-priced ingredients like meat, vegetables, and fruit. And since grains are full of carbs, fiber, and some protein, producers can get away with adding a lot of it without completely changing the macronutrient makeup of the food itself.

If your dog’s food is filled with corn, then it is lacking in the two things they really need: animal-sourced protein and quality fats.

Plant Protein vs Animal Protein

It is true that corn has protein in it–all grains do. The magic of GMO foods and the refining process has even allowed manufacturers the ability to separate out the high protein parts of the kernel and isolate them. This allows them to up the total protein of the dog food without having to step away from their favorite cheap filler ingredient or add more meat.

But the protein found in plants is not created equal to the protein found in meats. And, equally important, dogs’ systems struggle to digest plant-sourced proteins.

All protein is broken down into amino acids in the body. These amino acids are used for everything from cell communication to energy production. Some amino acids can be created within the body using others absorbed from food while “essential” amino acids can only be gained through diet.

pic 4 weimeranar eating carcassDogs have evolved sharp, serrated molars, a short gut, and an incredibly acidic stomach to help them properly digest and use the nutrients found in meat. Their systems are poorly constructed to digest and absorb plant material.

Animal-based protein contains all amino acids in fairly equal amounts. Plant-based protein, on the other hand, contains varying amounts of aminos and most sources do not contain all of them in significant quantities.

Because dogs are carnivores, their bodies evolved to utilize the amino acids available in meat. Feeding dogs largely plant-sourced proteins naturally leaves them lacking in certain essential amino acids.

Furthermore, dogs have a relatively short gut compared to humans and other animals that rely primarily on plants for nutrition. This means they struggle to properly digest plant protein which, in turn, means they absorb even fewer amino acids than the meager amount available.

But this inability to digest food doesn’t just affect how canines absorb plant proteins.

Nutritional Availability

Corn is full of nutrients and makes a healthy–although higher calorie–snack for humans. But canines are not privy to the same nutrients that we long-gut humans are.

Dogs evolved a short gut in order to move meat, which has a tendency to rot quickly, out of the body as soon as possible once digestion in the stomach is complete. Omnivores and herbivores, on the other hand, have a long gut because it takes a significant amount of time to break down and absorb the nutrients in fiber-heavy plant foods.

pic 5 done looking at bones
You have a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing food for your pup. Before you make a split decision based on price alone, remember that what your dog eats largely determines how healthy they will be. Cheap food may save you money upfront, but you are likely to pay more in vet bills in the long run.

When a dog eats food filled with grains, they struggle to break down the kibble to extract the nutrients inside. This doesn’t just affect those vitamins and minerals in the plant ingredients, but all of the nutrients in the food.

Dogs who eat kibble made primarily of plant ingredients are more likely to be nutritionally deficient and lacking in certain amino acids. They are also much more likely to produce large or frequent stools.

In order to provide enough available nutrients to your pup, you have to feed more corn-based food than you would need to if you fed a quality animal-protein based food. But feeding more food to balance certain nutritional deficiencies often leads to dogs consuming too many calories, which can lead to weight gain and other health complications.

Corn Allergies

It is not just a lack of available nutrients and protein that makes feeding a corn-heavy diet risky. Many dogs, when fed the same low-quality food for years, will develop allergies to this common grain.

Dogs can develop a food allergy to any type of food they have been exposed to. The longer a dog eats a certain ingredient, the greater the chances they will develop an allergy to it.

Because corn is such a common ingredient in a wide variety of cheap dog foods, many dogs eventually develop an allergy to it.

Unfortunately, food allergies are not always easy to identify. And many dogs struggle for years with seemingly unrelated health issues before their owner realizes it is their food causing the problem.

Some common signs of a food allergy include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots
  • Ear infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess gas
  • Chronic illness
  • Joint pain
  • Sneezing
  • Bacterial infections


Once your dog develops a food allergy, they will not be able to eat food containing that ingredient any longer.

To determine what your dog is allergic to, you will need to perform an elimination diet. If they are on a low-quality food, it is a good idea to switch to a higher-quality diet regardless of whether corn turns out to be the allergen or not.

pic 6 puppy drinking milk
While grain allergies are common, dairy and chicken allergies are the most prevalent in the canine community. This is because these ingredients are the most common high-protein foods in dog diets and treats.

How to Choose a Quality Corn-Free Dog Food

Despite the prevalence of corn-filled dog diets on the market, there are plenty of alternatives available.

If your dog suffers from a grain allergy or you are interested in providing a more nutritionally-dense, protein-optimized food, you have some options to consider.

Dry kibble is the most popular type of dog food out there. When choosing a bag of this type of diet, look for quality meat ingredients listed first in the ingredients list. And be aware of other grains and plant-based ingredients listed too high or split into multiple types (i.e. “peas, pea protein, ground peas”).

We recommend WellnessZignature, and Orijen dry kibble diets. To learn more about the quality options available, check out our list of the best dog food brands.

Canned diets are another option that includes many corn-free varieties. This type of food can be pricey to feed to larger dogs but works well for small breeds. You can also mix it with dry kibble to add more taste and nutrition to your pup’s diet.

There are many quality adult and puppy canned food diets to choose from. Just as with dry food, make sure you pick one with quality meat ingredients listed first and no fillers.

Beyond these two traditional choices, there are some great less-common options for feeding Fido.

Raw diets, both homemade and commercial, and dehydrated and freeze-dried foods provide exceptional nutrition at a variety of price points. Best of all, none of these types of diets use corn in their recipes.

To learn more about the differences and advantages of each type of food listed above, check out our article on the healthiest dog foods.

The Bottom Line On Corn and Canines

When it comes to feeding Fido corn, the rule is moderation.

The occasional popcorn or corny snack is fine if your dog doesn’t have any grain allergies. But be sure to avoid foods that utilize this grain as a major ingredient and instead, opt for a nutrient-dense, quality dry, canned, raw, or dehydrated diet.

can dogs eat corn 1

Another Great article by Clean Pet Club!

If your dog seems constantly stressed out by loud noises, enclosed spaces, or even just by being in a separate room from you and your family, you’re not alone. Anxiety is one of the most common disorders affecting dogs around the world, with nearly fifty percent of dogs having some form of anxiety.

Unfortunately, there may not be a “one size fits all” solution to your dog’s anxiety. Instead, experts suggest that you should focus on two main approaches: first, identifying the specific issues with your dog, and second, managing their more severe symptoms and improving their ability to function.

Important Terms And Concepts

The most important part of understanding your dog’s condition is understanding the terms that are used to discuss it. Anxiety is different from fear, and both are different from a phobia, so understanding which your dog suffers from can go a long way towards getting them the treatment they need.

Fear is a natural response to a threat. Fear keeps both dogs and humans safe, and is a perfectly normal and healthy reaction to have.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is an anticipation of a threat that prompts a physiological response, even when the threat is not imminent or even nonexistent.

phobia is a persistent fear that exists in a level disproportionate to that of the threat.

Common signs of fear in dogs include:

  • lowered tail
  • flattened ears
  • pacing or panting
  • urination or defecation
  • stiff muscles
  • hiding/avoidance
Different categories of anxiety signs in dogs

Unfortunately, these are mostly the same symptoms that manifest for anxiety disorders, so the next important step in diagnosing your dog is separating the stimuli from the response. In other words, what makes your dog act afraid?

Comorbidity And Misdiagnoses: Are You Confusing The Signs?

Comorbidity basically refers to a situation in which the patient (your dog) may have multiple conditions at the same time and can often be a factor in misdiagnosis. In other words, if your dog suffers from one or more types of anxiety, it may be difficult to find the cause and be misdiagnosed as a result.

The three main sources of anxiety in dogs are noise anxiety, separation anxiety, and confinement anxiety. If you want to help your dog, your first step should be figuring out which of these conditions apply before you start looking for a solution.

The best way to get a clear and accurate diagnosis for your dog is to watch their behavior. Fortunately, all three forms of anxiety are relatively easy to track.

If you notice your dog displaying signs of distress or anxiety in response to loud noises, regardless of where they are in the house or where you are in your house, the most likely diagnosis is noise anxiety. Common triggers for this form of anxiety include thunderstorms, fireworks, or loud crashing noises.

If your dog is acting anxious whenever they are confined to a small area, regardless of whether you are at home or out of the house, your most likely diagnosis is confinement anxiety. Take note of how your dog acts before, after, and during confinement, and be ready to answer any questions that your vet may have on the matter.

If your dog only starts acting anxious when it’s time for you to go to work or just leave your home, then they may suffer from separation anxiety. You may want to consider the way your dog acts when you return to your home, as well as how they behave when they suspect that you might be getting ready to leave.

Again, it’s extremely possible that your dog may suffer from one or more types of anxiety, so the answer may not always be as clear-cut as presented above. If your dog suffers from multiple sources of anxiety, their signs will get worse when the different sources are combined.

For example, your dog may act anxious when you’re getting ready to leave and may become even more anxious when they’re confined before you leave. Keep track of your dog’s anxiety attacks and try to take note of when and how they present themselves.

Video recordings can be an incredibly helpful diagnostic tool. If you suspect that your dog suffers from separation or confinement anxiety, try setting up a camera at home to watch your dog’s behavior when you’re not around.

Videos can also be helpful when talking to a veterinarian. Having a video on hand to show the way your dog behaves can go a long way towards making sure that your local veterinarian has the tools they need to help you and your dog.

Another Great Article By Ralph

Introduction: To Woof, Or Not to Woof?

1.Introduction To Woof, Or Not To Woof

Unlike this age-old question, puppy training is something that shouldn’t be up for debate.

I might be older and wiser myself, but I’m sure my owners will remember a time when I was less well behaved. That’s because, just like me, all puppies need proper training in order to become fully-fledged members of your home.

We can’t help being playful and a little bit mischievous sometimes, which is why we need your help to learn how we can be the best companions possible.

My humans put a lot of effort into my training when I was younger, and now they tell me I’m a good boy all the time! It’s the best!

It can sometimes take a bit of patience (and a lot of treats), and training is a continual learning curve for both you and your pup, but it’s worth it for the end results.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m biased towards treats, I paw-omise.

Take it from me when I say a trained dog is a much happier, safer dog. Sometimes when I’m too excited or if I’m on the trail of a nearby squirrel, I don’t always pay the best attention to the dangers around me.

My humans made sure I learned that if I’m told to come here or if I hear a sharp toot on my whistle then I must go back to them, that way I don’t run off too far and get myself into trouble.

For this and many other reasons which I’m about to go into, puppy training is an essential part of having a canine companion, but there’s a whole treat bag of information out there to wade through.

You know, those things that always have treats inside when you go for walkies? And they never seem to run out?

That’s what it’s like trying to navigate tips for puppy training when you’re a human, and with that much advice available, it can get a little confusing without expert help.

So, why not hear it from the dog’s mouth directly? Here’s my complete guide to training your puppy.

Why is it Important to Train Your Dog?

Safety First

As I mentioned in the introduction, a well-trained dog is a safe dog. You’ll be able to prevent your pooch from getting themselves into trouble or potentially dangerous situations if you can feel confident that they’ll listen to you when it’s most important.

This is one of the key reasons why puppy training is so essential, as an untrained dog is more likely to end up injuring themselves or getting lost because they cannot follow instructions.

If the situation calls for it and if you need to recall your dog, for example, them being well-trained enough to return could be the difference between bounding back into your arms and chasing the birds out onto a busy road.

Easy Life

If you’re after an easy life… are you sure a puppy is the right choice of pet for you? I’m only (half) kidding.

While puppies are a huge commitment, establishing a regular training routine will encourage good habits and make life as a pet-parent much easier down the line.

Your dog will learn to avoid doing the things it shouldn’t, meaning you don’t have to deal with the consequences of their latest oopsie.

You’ll spend less time clearing up after your puppy and more time playing with them and enjoying their company.

A Trained Dog Equals a Tidy Home

Not only can you keep your dog from misbehaving by training them to listen to commands that will get them to stop displaying negative behavior, but the mental stimulation they receive during training will keep them from acting out and destroying things around your home out of boredom

No more coming downstairs to bits of rubbish strewn all over your kitchen, a freshly chewed up pair of kicks, or to another accident on your recently cleaned cream carpet.

Bonding Time

Time spent training with your new puppy is also a great way to bond with them and will help to build a loving, affectionate relationship between the two of you.

Sadly, too many humans will let training slide after their puppy has learned the basic training commands.

A large part of training is actually based on building a rapport with your dog so that you can understand each other. You’ll have a better relationship and a better chance at successfully training them to follow instructions.

From the Beginning: What Should You Teach First?

3.From The Beginning What Should You Teach First

Most people assume that puppy training begins from the moment your new pooch comes home, but it’s actually the first six to eight weeks of a dog’s life that are the most critical in terms of their development.

This is before they’re allowed to be taken to their forever home which usually happens at seven to twelve weeks, and it’s just one of the reasons why it’s so important to do thorough research on the breeder before deciding where to get your furry friend from.

In order to give them a good start in life, the best and most reputable breeders will start socializing and handling puppies from birth.

Not only does this provide the foundations for you to continue puppy training at home, but it also helps to ensure that your pup is well equipped to emotionally and physiologically handle being in different environments.

The more your pooch is exposed to at a young age, the less scared or nervous they will be around new things as they get older, making it easier to train with them.

As with anything, it’s always best to begin with the basics. Once you’ve got a few of these key commands down, you’ll be able to confidently move onto some of the tricks that are trickier to master.

Sit, lie down, stay, and leave, are a great place to start.

Given the short attention span of most puppies, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to put in long sessions of training before your pup gets distracted, but they should be able to learn the basics as early as 8 weeks old as these are simple instructions that you can incorporate into your dog’s daily routine.

Another high priority on your training checklist should be house training and teaching your puppy to eliminate in the designated area.

This neatly brings us onto the first topic in our next section where I’ll be covering some specific areas of training in more detail. Get ready to talk toilets!

Dog Training 101: Your Guide to a Well-Trained Dog

4.Dog Training 101 Your Guide To A Well-Trained Dog

House/Crate Training: Where to Eliminate

1.House Crate Training Where To EliminateOne of the first things that people like to master when training a new puppy is toilet training.

Your pooch may be cute but stepping in poop is definitely not.

Accidents will happen, so you might want to hold off on getting that new rug for now, because there’s probably going to be a few indoor doo-doos on the way to becoming house trained.

Fear not though! Your house won’t be a minefield forever as there are a number of ways to encourage your dog to eliminate in the right place.

Crate Training

Ever heard the saying, ‘don’t go where you eat’? The same can be said for your puppy and their sleeping arrangements, as dogs are naturally inclined to avoid this area when it comes to toilet time.

As a result, crate training can be used hand in hand with toilet training as it provides a safe space that will typically remain a tinkle-free zone.

This makes it the perfect place for your puppy to spend time while you pop out or if you’re unable to watch them closely, and it will help to reduce the number of accidents.

Not all people will choose to crate train, but if used properly to create a safe environment where your puppy can go to rest, they can be an invaluable tool in toilet training.

  • Choose the correct size crate
  • Fill it with blankets and your puppy’s favorite toys so they know it’s a safe space
  • Reward your puppy with treats when they’re inside the crate
  • Take your puppy outside as soon as you let them out of the crate

Puppy Pads

The great puppy pad debate is one that sees dog-owners divided, with some believing that puppy pads are a house training essential and others that they’re a pointless addition to an already new routine.

I tend to agree with the latter view of puppy pads, as introducing too many options at once may confuse your puppy making it harder for them to know where to go. However, if you are choosing to use them, make sure to adhere to the following:

  • Place the puppy pad near the door (this will make it easier to eventually transition to eliminating outside exclusively) and don’t move it around the house
  • Take your puppy to the pad as soon as you see any signs that suggest they need to use it.
  • Reward your puppy with treats when they use the puppy pad


The first rule of training your puppy to eliminate outside is: when in doubt, let them out. Seriously.

If your dog is having to hold it up until the point when they’re bursting to go then there’s going to be far more accidents than if they’re allowed outside to relieve themselves at regular intervals.

Frequency is key.

It will vary slightly depending on the size and breed, but the general rule is that for every month of your puppy’s life they can cross their little legs for an additional hour.

They should also be allowed out in the 30 minutes after they finish eating or 10 minutes if they’ve had a drink of water.

Another tip is to avoid dithering by the door once you’ve let your dog out of their crate (if using one). In the moments you spend searching for your slippers, your puppy could leave you a hasty surprise by the time you turn back around.

Keep to a regular routine including the times they’re fed, as this will help develop a consistent schedule which will help your puppy learn when and where they should go.

Supervise your puppy more than usual while you’re housetraining so you can spot the signs when they should go outside.

Give your puppy plenty of verbal praise while they’re going about their business and have a tasty treat to hand when they come back inside so they associate eliminating outside with a reward.

It might be natural to you, but your puppy will have to learn that they’re supposed to go outside so be patient and don’t punish them when they have an accident indoors.

Leash Training: How to Walk Effectively

2.Leash Training How To Walk EffectivelyDogs love to stop and smell the roses, the bushes, and other dog’s butts, but if they’re allowed to pause and sniff every lamppost they pass, it’ll take you an hour to complete what should be a quick circle around the block.

Leash training can help your dog walk nicely beside you at your heel.

In addition to being a legal requirement in some areas at the risk of a fine for non-compliance, leash training is also sometimes essential for the safety of your puppy.

For example, when you’re near the main road or an area with busy traffic, a lead can prevent them from running out in front of cars.

Sometimes your puppy will flat-out refuse to budge, and they’ll park their butt on the sidewalk in an act of rebellious defiance.

As frustrating as this may be, especially on days when you’ve ventured out in the wind and rain, never drag or forcefully pull your dog along after you on their leash.

If your puppy is showing a real aversion to walking with a leash, consider changing their collar to a harness, or vice versa, as they may be feeling uncomfortable.

For particularly problematic pooches, you may benefit from a head harness or head collar which makes it easier to control their movement. However, this should only be a temporary training aid.

Seeing as this will be an unavoidable part of your dog’s training and indeed, general life, it’s important to get this right so your puppy doesn’t grow up with a fear of using a lead, as this could cause them to act out when you’re walking.

Here are some tips for helping your puppy to feel comfortable with their leash:

  • Introduce the leash and let your puppy investigate by having a good sniff.
  • Don’t let them chew it! Bad habits are hard to break and this is not a toy.
  • Attach the leash indoors so that the puppy can get used to the weight and feel of it.
  • Keep it loose and don’t correct your pup or pull on the leash while they become comfortable with you holding it.
  • Try to create a positive experience by giving lots of treats and praise.

Once your puppy is comfortable with a leash, you can begin building up to your first outdoor walk.

You still need to take it one step at a time, but here’s my advice on how to teach your dog to walk effectively alongside you without stopping or pulling.

  1. Standing still, let the leash go slack and wait for your puppy to look up or pay you attention. The moment they do, give them a treat.
  2. You can now begin to walk, praising your puppy with frequent treats and verbal encouragement as they stay close to you.
  3. If the leash becomes tight or if your puppy starts to pull away, stop walking. This will teach them that pulling on their leash will get them nowhere. Quietly wait for them to turn their attention back to you, and when they move closer again, reward your puppy and set off while they’re still your heel. Repeat this step every time your dog pulls the leash too tightly.
  4. It can be a good idea to practice this indoors at first, as when you move to outdoor walks there will be a whole lot more to distract your puppy and pull them away from you.

It’s good to remember that dogs are at their most curious when they’re a puppy, so make sure you allow them to stop and investigate every now and then.

They might be sniffing out a good area to do their business, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t appreciate being yanked off the toilet, so don’t yank your dog’s leash either.

Plays Well with Others: Socializing with Other Dogs

3.Plays Well With Others Socializing With Other DogsNobody wants to see their puppy being left out at the local park because they didn’t learn how to play nicely when they were younger.

Puppies experience a socialization period that lasts between when they’re seven to up to sixteen weeks old, during which they’re at their most adventurous, inquisitory, and exploratory, so you should aim to introduce them to as many new people and experiences as possible.

They’re much more open to interacting with other people and dogs at this stage in their life, so it’s important to make sure that these experiences are all fun and enjoyable as this helps to create a positive attitude that will stay with your dog as they grow up, resulting in fewer fears or phobias.

It’s natural for this period to be followed by one in which your puppy acts more tentative and wary but provided you don’t force them into situations that frighten or overwhelm them, it should be a phase that your dog will grow out of.

Your puppy will receive an initial vaccination at eight to ten weeks and should have a second two to four weeks later. Until they’ve been fully vaccinated, avoid contact with other dogs unless you know they’re also protected by the vaccination

Meeting outside is advisable if you’re introducing two dogs for the first time as there’s plenty of space to become more comfortable around each other. It’s also where your puppy will have the most interaction with dogs they don’t know.

  1. Try to schedule your first few trips to the park during quieter times. If there are too many other dogs around your puppy may end up feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Always reinforce positive social behavior by rewarding your puppy with treats and affection when they interact nicely with another dog so they’ll remember it as a pleasant experience.
  3. Do exercise caution, especially if you don’t know the other dog, but remain calm even if your puppy is behaving slightly skittishly.
  4. Recognize when your puppy is showing genuine signs of distress or discomfort and don’t force them. This includes hiding behind you, whimpering, trying to jump up, and holding their tail between their legs.

Introducing two dogs in the home can be slightly trickier, especially if one dog lives there as their scent will be all over the house and they’re more likely to act territorially.

The same principles as above should be applied but you should also give both dogs lots of attention to avoid any jealousy.

Puppy training classes are another great way to socialize your dog because they’ll be around other pups their own age.

This is less intimidating for your puppy than meeting dogs who are bigger and older than they are at the local park.

Clicker Training: Reacting to Sounds

4.Clicker Training Reacting To SoundsTraining in a large, open space where your dog is free to run far and wide can sometimes make it difficult for them to hear your voice across the distance between you.

Clicker training is a great way to bridge this gap and it’s a clearer method of positive reinforcement.


In the earlier stages of your training journey, it’s important to ensure that the rewards are strong and frequently given.

This is especially true for clicker training as the whole idea of it is based on repetitive positive reinforcement or operant conditioning as it’s technically known.

My top tip would be to choose treats that are smaller, less unhealthy, and definitely less expensive as you’re likely to get through quite a few of them while you practice your puppy’s clicker training.

  1. Puppy, Meet Clicker

To introduce your puppy to the clicker, first, find a quiet area in which to practice. Press the clicker and immediately give your dog a treat.

Do this again anywhere between five and ten times to encourage the association between the click and the reward.

  1. Testing, Testing?

Next, you’ll need to see if your dog is picking up on what you’re trying to teach them. When your puppy is not focused on you, press the clicker and watch to see if your dog registers it.

If they look up at you expectantly then you’ll know it’s working, but if your puppy ignores you then keep repeating the click and reward combination until they’ve made the connection.

  1. It’s All About Accuracy

It’s really important to make sure you only click at the precise moment your dog correctly follows a given command, which should be immediately followed with the reward and verbal praise.

Getting trigger happy with the button and clicking at the wrong time will cause confusion over why your dog is being rewarded, and it’ll take longer for them to learn what they need to do next time.

  1. Clickety Clack (Don’t Talk Back)

You can use the clicker tool for both basic commands and more advanced training purposes, making it a versatile choice of training aid.

Some people even progress all the way to hands-free commands where you phase out the hand gestures typically used alongside the verbal instruction.

However, if your puppy is not particularly treat-motivated, this will be a less effective training method and you certainly won’t be able to rely on it for advanced commands.

Commands and Instructions: Working with Your Dog

5.Commands & Instructions Working With Your DogIf you’ve ever seen a dog walking by with their owner, side-by-side without a lead insight, and thought to yourself, “how did they ever train their dog that well?” just remember that they will have started off with the same basic commands and instructions that we all do.

It’s not all about how hard the dog works though, and as the human, you’ll have to work just as hard (if not harder!) during training to keep the session running smoothly.

It’s your job to clearly speak instructions and to avoid hand gestures that will confuse your dog. Ultimately, your puppy will want to please you, so work with them by committing to their training.

Try to limit the number of times you repeat yourself before your puppy performs the given command, as otherwise they’ll grow used to hearing it repeated and won’t always react to the first instruction which can cause a potentially dangerous delayed response.

Reward your puppy with tasty treats when they do what you ask as this will associate the instruction with positive reinforcement.

Secondary reinforcement is considered to be any sign of affection, such as a gentle pat on the head, and always remember to give verbal praise to your puppy as well.

If you’re struggling with a particular training exercise, make sure to have a few particularly delicious treats on you for extra encouragement. Chicken or beef chopped up into small bites are my favorites for an extra ‘wowzer’ treat.

It can also be a good idea to schedule training sessions just before a meal when your puppy will be hungry and more receptive to instruction in order to earn their treats.

Remember that your puppy will need to learn the command as well as the action that goes with it, so say the word to go with it when they move into each position correctly.

With enough practice, you can eventually replace the treat entirely with the command, and the action will immediately follow.

With these general hints and tips in mind, here’s how to teach your puppy some of the basic commands we’ve discussed. The rest of the essentials are covered in ‘Advanced Training’ due to their higher level of difficulty.


Sit is a great instruction that will help in a number of situations. Whether you’re putting your puppy’s harness on ready for a walk or brushing their fur, the sit command will force your pup to pause for a moment.

It also provides the foundation point for more advanced instructions.

  1. When your puppy is standing, hold a treat close to their nose and raise your hand in an overarching motion.
  2. Their head will tilt upwards as their eyes follow the treat which will naturally cause their bottom to drop down to the floor into a sitting position.
  3. Once they’re sitting, praise your puppy and reward them with the treat.

Lie Down

Lie down can be used to encourage your dog to settle, for example, when you’re eating dinner or watching TV and you’d rather they weren’t fussing around you.

Never push your puppy or force them into a lying down position, as you might scare them when they’re only trying to learn.

  1. You’ll need to have cracked ‘sit’ before you tackle ‘lie down’, as this is the position your puppy should start in.
  2. From their nose, guide the treat downwards past your puppy’s chest until your hand reaches the floor.
  3. Your dog will (or at least, should) follow the direction of your hand until they too are on the floor, stretched and lying down. Immediately praise and give the treat.


Much like using ‘sit’, asking your dog to stay will come in handy when you need your puppy to remain in one spot.

If you’re leaving your house, asking your puppy to stay will ensure they don’t get close enough to escape as you open the door.

  1. Again, begin by asking your dog to sit.
  2. Hold the palm of your hand up facing towards the dog and tell them to stay.
  3. Maintaining eye-contact, move backward a few steps. Start off small, but over time you can gradually widen the gap between you to test your puppy’s restraint.
  4. If they stay put, praise and reward them straight away.

Wrapping it Up: Proofing Your Dog’s Behavior

6.Wrapping It Up Proofing Your Dog’s BehaviourNow you’ve worked your way through all the key commands, it’s time to put your puppy to the test by proofing their behavior.

This is when you practice what your dog has learned in a new environment to ensure that they can still perform the command when there are other distractions around them.

It’s the final step in your dog’s journey, and once you’ve proofed and mastered each of the most important instructions, you’ll be able to be confident that your puppy is well-trained enough to listen to you and follow commands in pretty much any situation.

Prior to moving onto this part of your puppy’s training, you must make sure they already have a good understanding of the command you’re going to be practicing.

If they’re able to perform the action instantly when asked and show no confusion between instructions, you should be good to go.

When you’re proofing your puppy’s behavior, it’s not a good idea to overwhelm them by throwing them into a busy environment with multiple different distractions.

Instead, limit the variable thing one at a time to help your pup adjust, as this way they’ll learn to follow the commands much faster.

As with every stage of training, be generous with rewards, and continuously praise your puppy as they achieve each goal you set.

At the same time, try to be realistic and don’t allow your dog to become frustrated by a lack of progress that’s due to your overly high expectations.

Finally, don’t forget that you need proofing too! Try asking a friend to join you for your next training session and get them to give the command to your puppy so they can learn to take instruction from different people.

This will be invaluable if you’re ever away and someone else is dog-sitting for you.

Bonus: Advanced Dog Training

7.Bonus Advanced Dog TrainingOnce you’ve mastered the basic instructions, these provide the basis for a whole range of more difficult commands and tricks that you may want to teach your dog.

You can also teach them some of the less essential but more fun tricks, which you can continue to do throughout their life for quality time together and mental stimulation.


Recall is one of the more difficult parts of training to master, and it can be quite anxiety-inducing for owners to let their puppy off the leash as they progress.

If you’re in the early stages of practicing recall and you’re feeling a little nervous about being able to entice your suddenly liberated puppy back to you, it’s time to crack out those wowzer treats I mentioned earlier.

  1. Have your extra tasty treats at the ready, or a favorite toy would also work instead. Make sure your puppy has seen these.
  2. Back up a few steps, keeping the distance minimal at first, and call your dog to you. This is best done with a light, friendly tone, or you can drop low and spread your arms open wide to encourage your dog to return.
  3. When your puppy reaches you, reward them with the treat or toy.
  4. Over time and with practice, you’ll be able to gradually make the gap between you wider until your dog will come running towards you across an entire field or from a different room.
  5. Top Tip: This is a part of the training that benefits from having a second person, as you can call your puppy between you.
  6. Another way to alleviate some of the stress of practicing recall with your puppy outdoors is to use a training lead, as this gives them a lot more freedom so they can get used to longer distances without giving them the chance to run off entirely.


Curiosity killed the cat but teaching your dog to ‘leave’ will prevent them from eating something potentially poisonous or harmful which can result in an upset stomach.

It’s one of the trickier commands as it requires a lot of restraint on your dog’s part, especially if they’ve found something particularly interesting.

You’d be surprised at what dogs will happily put in their mouths at their own detriment, so it’s worth persevering with. Besides, it might be the only way to save your favorite book from destruction if they get their paws on it!

  1. Hold a treat in both hands.
  2. Wrap one of your hands around the treat to create a fist and ask your dog to “leave it.”
  3. Pay no attention while they attempt to retrieve the treat from your grasp.
  4. When your puppy has ceased trying, reward them with the treat from the other hand, and give plenty of praise.
  5. Repeat this until your dog will obediently leave your enclosed hand alone when asked

Once you’ve nailed down the basic principle, you can progress to teaching your puppy to leave treats that are on the ground which is the more challenging part.

  1. Again, have two treats ready, but this time have a plain treat and a treat that’s especially mouthwatering.
  2. Place the plain treat on the floor and place your hand over the top., asking your puppy to “leave it” at the same time.
  3. When their focus is on you and they’re ignoring the treat, reward them with the extra tasty treat and give lots of attention and praise. Then repeat!
  4. As your dog gets better at this, you can remove your hand from the treat and ask them to leave. Once you’re happy, try standing up completely. Eventually, you’ll be able to give this command and take several steps back, or even leave the room completely, with the confidence that your dog won’t touch the treat until they’re given permission to take it.

Conclusion: A Well-Trained Dog!

5.Conclusion A Well Trained Dog!

Just like owning a dog in general, training isn’t something you can commit to for six months and then give up on when the novelty wears off.

Training is a life-long process where you and your dog will be continuously learning and improving, rather than a quick-fix behavioral crash-course.

It’s difficult to encapsulate absolutely everything you need to know about puppy training in a single place, but I hope I’ve provided a comprehensive enough guide to get you well underway on your puppy training journey.

Finally, remember to be patient with your puppy while they’re still learning. Dogs are another furry member of your family, so giving them lots of love and affection while you’re training will teach them to be loving and affectionate in return.

We’re not called man’s best friend for nothing!