Puppy Training: Starting Off on the Right Paw!
As new puppy we often make the mistake of endlessly worrying about finding the right accessories, puppy treats, or bed. We spend little or no time thinking about how we will train our new puppy. Yes, a puppy needs nutritious food and a safe, warm place to live, but another equally powerful and important biological necessity is the need for a pack leader to give the puppy direction and purpose in life. Here are some quick tips on the steps to puppy training and maintaining an obedient and balanced dog from the start:
Puppy Training: Be the Leader!
Puppies are naturally hard-wired to follow the leader of the pack. It is essential that we pack leaders (yes, that’s us, the owners) are strong, stable, and consistent. Many of us are strong leaders in the workplace or with our families, but we turn to mush with our furry friends. Puppies sense our confidence levels and will take control if they think they can take advantage. When this happens, bad behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing, leash-pulling, or anxiety, will develop. The most important thing we can do is become our puppy’s pack leader. This role doesn’t begin when our dog is six months old or when they are “bad;” it should be maintained throughout the entire puppy training experience. For our new puppy to grow into a healthy, balanced dog, we must demonstrate leadership from day one!
Visit to the veterinarian
Within a few days of adding a puppy to the family, make an appointment to visit the veterinarian so they can get to know your pup and examine the overall health. Preventative care is essential within the first year of life, which is why Goldorado Animal Hospital introduced Puppy Plans several years ago. We include all wellness exams, vaccines, and routine treatment for the first year of your dog’s life to make sure they are starting out on the right foot. We also include unlimited exams with Dr. Barnes and Dr. Prince just in case there are any additional health concerns that arise early on. While a lot goes into keeping the puppy in good health, it all begins with the first visit to the vet.
All dogs instinctively avoid eliminating in their dens. From two to four months of age, most pups pick up on the concept of housebreaking quite easily since it is part of their natural programming. In the early days of housebreaking we want to make sure the puppy has a place to relieve themselves where they feel safe; a place that seems and smells familiar. Then, first thing every morning and after meals/before crating, bring our puppy outside to the same area. It is important to remain consistent throughout the process so our puppy can learn the habit.
Once your new puppy has successfully gone outside, it is important to reward the good behavior. It doesn’t have to be a big, loud celebration, but a simple quiet approval or a treat can get the message across of a job well done. And be sure not to punish your puppy for an accident or do anything to create a negative association with their bodily functions. Stay calm and assertive and quietly remove the puppy to the place where you want him to go.
As our puppy’s pack leader, we must help to expend their energy in a productive way. For all dogs, this means a minimum daily walk. Walking in front of your new puppy allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Your puppy should be beside or behind you during the walk – this allows them to feel safe knowing you are in control. Additionally it will help them know how to meet other people or animals.
There are other breed specific things to consider when planning walks, so feel free to ask us about bone development problems, parvovirus, and other health issues specific to your puppy before implementing an exercise routine.