Training Tips for Your New Puppy
One step at a time!
First things first, take it slow! Everything is new for your puppy. They are far away from everything and everyone they have known so far. Focus on slow introductions and bond building to start.
Typically when people get a new puppy they want to show them off to EVERYONE and take them EVERYWHERE! They need exposure to different people and different places but, try to hold off exposing them to too many places with other dogs until they have gotten all of their shots (typically around 16 weeks). High dog traffic areas include the pet store, the dog park or even social events like local festivals that are pet friendly. A clean and controlled environment is best for their health and will help them and their immune system to not get overwhelmed.
To help food aggression from building stay with your puppy when they eat. Pet them, mess with their food, take their bowl and give it back. Constantly encouraging them and praising them when they don't react negatively to your interactions.
You can help prepare your puppy for their inevitable veterinary appointments while you are playing. Mess with their feet, ears, face and other areas that they vet will examen. Open and look in their mouth. Help them stand still and feel on their belly. This will help desensitize them and make your vet love you and your dog!
Prepare them for training and wearing a leash by putting their regular collar on and attaching a leash to it. Let them drag the leash around (while supervised) so they get used to the weight and having something attached to them. LOTS OF TREATS!! Introducing a leash and collar should be a fun experience for them, not negative. Using treats you can also
start shaping different positions (sit, down, stand...).
Remember, they don’t understand what you are saying but they can tell your tone (happy/excited vs mad/upset). So, take a breath and think before you react. Almost any way that they “mess up” is your fault. Tear up your shoes, you should have picked them up. Grabbed your kids’ toys, you should have picked it up. Potty on the floor, you should have taken them out.
Interactions and introductions to kids and strangers and other animals
Take it slow!
Keep interactions with kids supervised
Remind kids not to encourage bad behaviors (that are cute now but won’t be when they are adult dogs) like jumping up and licking in the face or play biting.
This applies without kids too. If you don’t want a full grown, shedding-all-the-time German Shepherd on your couch, don’t let the cute German Shepherd puppy on your couch. If you don’t want a 160-pound mastiff to hop on your lap whenever they want, teach the mastiff puppy that they are only allowed up when you invite them. If you don’t want them to tear up your kids’ toys when they are older, don’t laugh about them having a doll in their mouth as a puppy.
I hope this information helps you and your family make the most out of your new puppy! Be on the lookout for more posts with training tips and more!! Please let me know if there are any specific subjects you are interested in!