Were you blessed with a new four-legged family member this holiday season? Getting a new puppy is so very cool, until…well, until it isn’t.
Bringing a new pup into your home can be a very exciting time for everyone. However after a few weeks, the excitement starts to wear off and reality sinks in … your new family member is doing things her way and communication between you and your new best friend is difficult. But with a few professional dog trainer tips and a little bit of patience; you and your new bestie can start a beautiful long term relationship on the right paw!
All the members in the family need to be one board with the new family/dog rules. Have a family meeting, agree on rules and write them down. Post them on the fridge in the event someone “forgets” what is acceptable and is not. This will help reinforce to your puppy, that he is accepted and loved by all of you!
No, it is not a cage or a punishment. Your new puppy should associate the kennel as her den. Feed her, put her toys inside, and occasionally toss treats in the kennel. Start slowly and don’t take her out if she’s whining, crying or barking. This is instilling a bad habit. It is tough, but if you reward her by letting her out of her crate because she is whining, she will continue to whine because she has learned that is what works.
Socialize your puppy
I can’t say it enough! Take your puppy out whenever you can, every time, everywhere as long as dogs are allowed where you are going. Check before you go and make sure you respect the rules of public places. Go to the local coffee shop, sit outside and let him see and meet people. If someone wants to pet him, ask that they stay where they are and allow your puppy to approach them. If you want, you can give the other person a treat so your pup can take it from his/her hand. If the puppy does not want to socialize, don’t push it. Expose him to adults, children, elderly, etc. Take them to see horses or other animals if you can. If vaccinations are not complete, wait until they are. Don’t forget to give your pup treats when she is calm and happy! This reinforces good behavior.
Don’t allow your puppy to do things that you don’t want them to do as an adult dog
Yes, puppies are adorable; and their biting, lack of listening and chewing on the wrong things may seem cute now, but it’s not so cute when adults dogs do them. Don’t reinforce the bad behavior now, and you won’t have a problem later.
Exercise your dog
New pups should be gently walked and played with. Try not to run her until she is at least 18 months old. Their bones are still developing and hip problems can start here. Instead, you can spend 10 minutes several times a day practicing basic commands like, sit, down, stay, come, wait, leave it; just to mention a few. Keep training sessions short as they will tire your puppy out both physically and mentally.
Sign up for puppy training classes
Puppy classes will give you and your dog an opportunity to learn together with the assistance of a professional dog trainer. You will find people who share the same goals, questions and concerns. It is also a wonderful way to practice the social skill necessary for a secure and well-adjusted adult dog.
I always tell my clients that training your dog should be FUN. If you enjoy training your puppy, she will love to learn with you. It is a team sport so ENJOY!
~ Ida DeLeon, CPDT-KA
AZ Dog Sports