Could there be anything better than a new puppy? Especially if that puppy is your very own.
But if you haven’t enjoyed the company of a puppy lately, you may have forgotten just how challenging they can be. It’s probably time for some training. Which means you’ll need a hefty dose of patience.
The first step in training your puppy is knowing how to communicate. As much as we like to think of our furry family members as almost human, we know very well that they aren’t. They’re dogs. Animals descended from the wild.
You’ll need to learn a bit about how they communicate in order to get the best results from your training efforts.
Before you can train your puppy, you need to see things the way they do. Dogs are descended from wolves, and wolves travel in packs. As a new puppy settles into your household, he or she will be instinctually trying to find a place in the family. A place in the new pack the puppy finds itself among.
It is important you understand that instinctive drive and use it as part of the training. Understand it and be the leader of the household the puppy needs.
Don’t try and force the puppy to obey. Like leaders in any position (animal and human), you must naturally inspire respect. By exhibiting patience and guidance, the puppy will come to see you as the leader.
When it’s time to train your new puppy, it’s important to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
Moving objects will draw attention away from you. Try to train in a calm and distraction-free environment. Would you rather to learn how to juggle in a studio or in the middle of a circus?
Make eye contact with the puppy and teach one command at a time. Moving on to the next command only after the first one has been mastered.
It’s best to start this as early as possible. The puppy imprint time is from five to 16 weeks, but you continue to shape a puppy’s lifetime personality up to eight months.
Bad behavior is inevitable, especially at the very beginning.
I believe in finding ways to punish as gently as possible. Use a squirt bottle to gently spray the puppy near the head, but not in the face. Pair that with something called a “marker word” to warn that punishment is happening. Soon the dog will associate the marker word with the punishment and the physical punishment will become unnecessary.
Life with a puppy can be exciting and rewarding, especially if you take the right steps to train your new furry friend from the beginning. There is no substitute for an early start.
Make sure you download my checklist of items you’ll need for your new puppy to avoid multiple runs to the pet store while you’re settling in.