A puppy is a big responsibility and is not something that should be taken lightly.
Like a child, your new puppy is entirely dependent on you to provide what it needs for survival.
There are several things you need to provide to your dog in order to ensure its survival and create a lasting friendship. To ensure its survival and a rewarding relationship, you’ll need to provide a safe and loving home, a well balanced diet, fresh water, veterinary care, exercise, training and guidance.
It is not a secret that your cute little puppy will grow up to be a threat to many people without proper guidance and training. The dog will be nuisance not only to you, but also to your neighbors and others who come in contact with the dog. So helping your puppy form good manners and behaviors early on is crucial.
The largest threats to your puppy’s wellbeing are not obvious: it’s not distemper, canine heartworms, or getting hit by a car while out walking. No, the biggest threat to many dogs is that the owner knows too little about dog behavior or how to communicate the best way with your dog.
This lack of doggy education, in my opinion, leads to more dogs being put down than any other problem combined. It’s a real shame. After all, “well behaved” dogs don’t get dumped off at an animal shelter. Had the owner simply learned more and put in some effort to learning, this could been prevented.
The big dog training secret is this: if you can begin to understand your puppy’s behavior from a psychological perspective and learning how to properly communicate to the animal at its level will help you immensely. But as humans it’s only natural that we human anthropomorphize our pets. In other words, we treat the animals like humans and hence portray them with our human emotions.
But obviously, dogs are not humans. Your puppy is an instinct driven animal and concerned mostly with survival in it’s new environment. It is going to do “puppy things” that are perfectly natural to it but don’t mesh with our expected behaviors. This is the root cause of behavior issues with your pet.
Overcoming the Cute Factor
Of course he is a cute, little bundle of happiness now. But in a few months your cute puppy is going to be twice the size, much more strength, and want to bite things.
That’s why enforcing and setting the rules you expect your dog to behave by NOW is going to be crucial.
Which brings us to…..PREVENTION
Everyone has heard the old phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true with dog training. By having the proper boundaries in place you can shape the behavioral growth of your dog in it’s formative months.
Dealing with adult dog behavioral problems is difficult when compared to the easiness of nipping it in the bud. For example, making a dog who constantly howls as an adult stop is going to be hard if you let him do this as a puppy. Same with jumping up, biting, etc. Getting Everyone Involved
An overlooked factor to puppy training is that you need everyone involved. You cannot be the only one to enforece the rules. For example, if you correct your puppy every-time he jumps up but your spouse does not – this sets an unequal playing field and the puppy does not learn. So make sure all household members (and visitors) know the rules! This prevents an accidental reinforcement of an unwanted behavior.
The Big Problem – Chewing
Nom Nom Nom. Chew Chew Chew. If your puppy could chew all day long he would. It’s just how they are wired. So instead of fighting it let’s work with this drive.
Make sure your puppy has lots of age appropriate toys. As it starts to teethe, let it chew to it’s heart content on them. Do not let it chew furniture, clothing, or people! This is super important because it teaches the dog what is off-limits.
Preparing Your Puppy for the Big Bad World
When your dog is all grown up he is going to have to interact with the world at large. Just like you had to learn about the external world, so will your puppy.
Things we take for granted – wind rustling a tree, the sound of traffic, someone walking – are unfamiliar things to your puppy. And unfamiliar things get processed pretty fast as survival threat.
So it’s your job to properly stimulate your puppy with external influences so it learns they are ok. Start gentle and slow, and always be upbeat.