Congrats to your new furry friend, I hope he will stay with you for many many years. To make sure you and your pup can have a enjoyable harmonic life together there is some things you should consider before it’s too late or your puppy is driving you mad!
First of all, your puppy is a puppy and it does puppy things!
This is nothing personal or against you, it’s just how they communicate and play.
That can be out of excitement or when playing because in the dog world jumping isn’t always inappropriate.
Often times it’s because they’re teething or they are bored and just need to occupy themselves.
Puppies pee and poop a lot. They don’t know that your house isn’t a toilet because in the dog world, toilets are where every you like to go other than where you sleep usually.
Puppies are non verbal!
As silly this might sound, some people expect too much from their puppies and seem to ignore this fact. Please understand that your puppy isn’t born understanding the confusing human world we put them. Puppies are not born speaking or understanding our language so they usually don’t just “listen to us”. They literally most of the time have absolutely no clue what we are trying to tell them because between the mix of our emotions, words and to them seemingly weird body language we couldn’t me anymore confusing than if you visit another country with a total different language that you have never heard of and a mentality that is incomparable with what you grew up with. So be patient with your puppy, show them what you want and gently guide them into the right behaviours. Most of them are super smart and pick up really fast what you want.
Here a few tips to set your puppy up for success:
Training starts at day 1
Yep, the moment your puppy enters your life you start teaching them and guiding them to who you want them to be. While we suggest to enroll your dog in some sort of dog training classes anyways and as soon as possible, contact a professional trainer if you need advise as soon as there is something you seem concerned about. Don’t wait until your puppy has eaten most of your shoes, pooped in every corner of your house and is trying to bite the neighbours dog. Prevention is they key!
If you say No, you have to say Yes
It is very important that when your puppy is doing something wrong, don’t just scold them and expect them to know what else they are supposed to do but rather show them what is the right thing to do by for example trading the shoe they are chewing with one of their toys.
Don’t get mad at your puppy when it’s doing something wrong. It doesn’t know any better yet and it’s our job as “pet parents” to point them in the right direction.
To make sure you set your puppy up for success, you need to supervise them as much as possible. That way, whenever there is something going wrong, you can immediately show them what the right thing is to do. If your puppy chews up your shoes every time you leave the house, it will be hard to teach it that it’s not okay to eat your shoes the one time you actually caught it in the act. The less your puppy can practise bad behaviours, the more likely he’s to do the right things now and in the future.
If you can’t supervise your puppy, confine them. There are different options for this. We recommend you crate train your puppy from the beginning as the crate is the safest place for a puppy to be when you are not around, but you could separate a room with a baby gate or have a play pen or something similar.
Puppy proof your home
It’s like child proofing a home. Don’t let things laying around that could be harmful to your puppy (objects that can be ingested, poisonous things and so on) or your puppy could destroy when it isn’t supposed to.
Socialization is a very important part of puppy hood. This doesn’t just mean meeting other dogs and people but also get familiar with different surfaces, smells, noises and so on. Most important is, that all experiences should be good experiences. If your puppy is afraid of something, help them cope with it but don’t just force them into a situation if they are not ready yet.
Whether you plan to eventually bring your dog to a dog park or not, stay away from them until your puppy is full grown, confident enough and can fend for themselves if needed. Puppies can easily be overwhelmed or scared by the dogs at the park or have a bad experience which can have a bad influence on future behaviours and possibly cause severe behaviour problems.
To add to that, let your puppy play with dog’s you don’t know. Socialize your puppy with dogs of the same age or calm, stable even tempered adult dogs that you are familiar with.
Have fun with your puppy and don't rush everything!
Simone Krebser - CPDT: Owner and head dog trainer of K9 Possible Dog Training serving the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia from Osoyoos to Penticton and Kelowna with result based dog training. Certified dog trainer, certified pet first aid instructor, member of the IACP, dog crazy and chocolate/cheese addict. “My life revolves around dog’s day in and out and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is my goal to help enhance the lives of as many dogs (and their owners) as possible. Your dog is my priority and I’m as committed to your dog as you are. But I can only help those who sincerely want to help their dogs and not only themselves.”