Yet, we all know play biting and “accidents” are not too far behind. Just like with children, it’s important that puppies have numerous amounts of positive experiences during their formative years. Which makes this the ideal time to start teaching your new pup some life skills.
Helping to make life simple:
Boundaries: Teaching the word “no” teaches your new puppy boundaries. Boundaries are needed right from the start, along with positive reinforcement when they do something you want.
Picture this, your little bundle of fluff has just found that one dirty sock from under the couch that has been missing for months. She is now prancing around the house joyfully about her amazing new find.
You finally were able to catch her, but now it’s time to get the sock back. If you don’t happen to have a toy handy to make a swap, start by doing these easy steps. Don’t chase her, don’t yell at her and do not tear it out of her mouth, it won’t do anything but make for a bad puppy experience. Tell her “no” “drop it” and be patient, just like a child, she wants a reaction out of you.
Continue these steps, if you are able to, offer her one of her toys or a treat, and when she releases it on her own, and she will, praise her. The idea is to teach your dog that good things come when bad behavior stops. Mouthing and nipping are natural behaviors for puppies but unwanted in dogs.
Potty training: Did you know, the top reasons why dogs lose their homes or end up in shelters is because of potty training issues? There are two tried-and-true methods for training your puppy that most owners attempt, yet struggle with. It’s not an easy process and your eyes always need to be on the little one, but crate training and frequent breaks outside are the best routes to go.
When you can’t watch them, put them in their crate. Not when they’re naughty, just when you can’t watch them. It is to be a safe cozy spot all to themselves. Make sure it’s not too big or they’ll potty. Best rule is, they can stand up, turn around and lay down. Puppies, nor dogs, like to go potty where they sleep unless they absolutely have to go. Regulate their water just as you would a child and walk them on a leash or stand right by their side when outdoors.
This way you know for a fact that they went. Praise, praise and praise them some more, “Good potty.” Dogs like to hear when we’re happy. Show them how great they’ve done each and everytime.
Experiencing new environments: The easiest way to start this, is to burn in your brain the word PRAISE. It makes us feel good, why wouldn’t it for them? Snow, grass, hair dryers and trash cans can all be minimal to us, but to a new puppy it could be the scariest thing EVER!
Take new things in baby steps. Where we are not huge treat givers, (we prefer belly rubs and praise) have the best smelling ones on hand. Something they would love to have. Before turning your hair dryer on, show them the tasty goodness you have in hand. Give them nibbles, not huge pieces. Turn your hair dryer on near your dog, not facing them. Do not hold your dog during this process. Holding them during it can be too controlling and could be coddling if they start to become scared. Show them your treat again and give them treats and praise when they become closer and more comfortable around the noisy machine. Start to throw them around the hair dryer and praise them as they go grab them. This will help them gain confidence. Turn it on and off, each time building their confidence up more and more.
We are always here along the way when you need us most, with even more tips and tricks to help your whole family grow as one. Looking into a puppy training program for you and your puppy is another great step. It’s not only for those that are new pet owners, even the most experienced person can use it to build a stronger, happier and healthier relationship with their pets.