When you get a new puppy you want to try and do everything right. I always say to puppy parents there is no right way to train and raise a puppy you will figure out what works for you both as you go. However, I do believe that there are 5 things for both puppy and owner that needs to be got right straight away to prevent problems later down the line.
Manners are super important right from the off. They set out the rules of what is expected from your puppy. Even though they are small and cute they are still very impressionable and will learn very quickly, ‘I was allowed to do that as a puppy so why can’t I now’. As owners we need to remember that puppies grow up. They will become bigger and stronger, get sharper teeth with a stronger jaw. That jumping up to greet that was once cute as a puppy now is no longer when they are fully grown. With things such as manners we need to treat that dog as an adult full grown dog right from the off, think about what behaviours you want to see from your full size adult dog and put things in place to get there now. Setting your boundaries now will make things so much easier down the line.
Socialisation is often hard to get right. Dogs who lack socialisation can often be worried anxious dogs in situations that we feel are the norm. People think we need to throw as much at our puppies as possible as quickly as possible, however it is so important that puppies have a positive experience during socialisation. The most important period for socialisation is the first 12 weeks of a puppies life. Ideas for socialisation include: people, dogs, strangers, other animals, different sounds, different events, vet surgeries. It is also important that we don’t introduce too much too soon and also too much in the same day, doing this can overwhelm our puppies and can turn experiences that we were trying to be positive into negative ones.
Training is fun
We will be doing lots of training throughout our dogs lives. Training should be a positive experience that builds bonds between owner and dog. That is why at Pawsitive Steps we always recommend positive reinforcement training building up that bond rather than shattering it down. The more fun training is for a dog the more likely they to want to keep doing it. Stay tuned for our next blog on why you should choose positive reinforcement training.
We want to teach our dog how to be confident and how to take the world in its stride. Your dog is going to come into situations where they aren’t confident however it is how we have dealt with these previously which will help. If you come across a situation where your puppy is nervous if it is safe to do so stop, allow them to take the time to take in the sounds and smells and figure out for themselves that it is not scary. Remember not to punish the nervous behaviours. As you get to know your dog you will start to understand what these look like, some will become vocal, some will pull to get away etc. Taking that pressure off allowing them to figure it out by themselves and then move on by themselves will help build their confidence.
It is also important to help puppies gain confidence being alone. It is inevitable at some point your puppy will be left by themselves however setting them up for success will benefit you when this time comes. It is understandable that when your puppy comes home you will not want to be away from them however teaching them that its ok to be by yourself, initially for a couple of minutes, and then slowly building up.
How to settle
I see so many dogs that struggle with behaviour problems just because they don’t understand how to settle. Sleeping and settling are different in my mind. We don’t always want our puppies to be on the go constantly and then crash, teaching them what a settle is and how to do it will help them in the future. Setting up a space where your puppy can retreat too can be beneficial to help your puppy settle. We often use mat settle or lead settle to help them understand how to settle. The benefit of this is that we can then take this mat settle out and about to coffee shops, pubs or other peoples houses.
Alongside all our normal basic training such as sit, stay and down, thinking of how we can support our puppies during their first few months of life, allowing them to be set up for success, to be well rounded adult dogs is so important. Our Pawsitive Pups package supports you through not only your puppys basic training but also guide you through those all important life skills.