Ensure that your dog’s motivation for reward is highest during a training session. If food is the reward, train before a meal, not after. If praise, petting and other aspects of your attention are to be used as a reward, schedule the training session at a time when your dog hungers for your attention.
Puppies, like children and even adult humans, learn best when they enjoy the learning process and receive something in return.
6. Timing Is Everything
As with many aspects of life, when it comes to puppy training, timing is everything. This theme holds true on several levels.
The timing of issuing a reward is important. When rewarding a puppy for a correct response to a command, the reward should be administered within 1/2 second of the command to ensure your dog draws the correlation between his behavior and his prize.
Moreover, timing also reigns supreme when considering the length of a training session. By keeping a training session short and sweet (within the 10-minute range or less), you’ll have a far better chance of maintaining your puppy’s motivation and attention span for the duration of the training.
7. Don’t Isolate Your Pup Completely from the Outside World
While the need to avoid overexposing your pup until vaccinations are complete is legitimate, it must not come at the cost of isolating him altogether. The price paid for failing to adequately socialize your puppy can be steep, especially during the sensitive period of development.
Rather than accepting full-blown isolation, consult with your vet to assess the threats your puppy faces from possible exposure to infection. Perhaps the veterinarian might agree that limited contact with vaccinated dogs in safe locations is acceptable.
Another option involves hosting a “puppy party,” whereby people unfamiliar to your pup visit your home and take turns interacting positively with your young canine. Ideally, this type of arrangement occurs repeatedly throughout a pup’s adolescence and involves a diverse array of people (different sizes, both genders and various races).
More Resources for Training a Puppy