Adding a new, rambunctious pup to the household is a dream come true for most people. After all, puppies are undeniably adorable and they turn into amazing, loving friends who just become members of the family over time. Therefore, in order to start your new pet journey off on the right foot, it's important to begin the training process as early as possible, since it's common knowledge that dogs are easier to train in good behavior while they're young. So, in honor of your new houseguest, as well as National Puppy Day on March 23rd, here are a few essential lessons to teach your puppy while he's still fresh to your home and determined to show his new owners what a good boy he can be.
Dogs are generally pretty social creatures, as long as they're brought up in a safe, loving environment from an early stage in life. Give your puppy a well-rounded introduction to the world to get him properly socialized as early as possible. Expose him to new sights and sounds, take him on walks in different locations and on journeys in your car , allow him to engage with other humans and animals; do whatever needs to be done to help your puppy associate the world around him in a positive light. Start out small so as not to scare him with too much too fast, ideally taking him to more relaxed areas like outdoor parks with open space to roam, instead of overcrowded gatherings with lots of people wanting to crowd him to coo over him. Once you begin a step-by-step regimen of acclimating your puppy to social constructs, he'll likely become more outgoing, sweet and well-behaved as he gets older.
Your puppy wants to learn as he wanders into his forever home, meets his new family and starts to become familiar with his surroundings. Therefore, equating the learning process with enjoyable experiences and positive reinforcement through rewards is the best way to ensure his training goes smoothly and efficiently, promoting life-long good behavior. The greatest way to create an obedient dog is to have a wealth of delicious treats on hand at all times, rewarding him generously for his good behavior and holding back when he neglects to listen. New pet owners these days should be encouraging of the no-force, all-reward approach of training. This means disregarding the old tactics of force-based learning such as tugging on leashes and scolding, and instead handing out treats or fun, interactive toys in pleasant speaking voices as positive reinforcement. While this might seem too lenient to get the results you want, creating a happy, force-free environment has been proven to make training come along faster and more productively over time. After all, your puppy will start to associate good behavior with treats almost immediately, and he'll do whatever it takes to show you what you want to see if it means he succeeds in getting more of them.
One of the biggest issues facing new pet owners is having to deal with a young pup who wants to start chewing and gnawing on everything around him, which generally means all of your precious belongings. This temptation needs to be nipped in the bud as quickly as possible, so having plenty of chew toys on hand to redirect his attention is crucial during the early stages. Take control of your pup's environment using pet gates , puppy pens, leashes or other methods of securing him in a controlled, supervised space to ensure that any time he begins to chew on furniture or items he's not supposed to, you can divert his attention to chew toys he enjoys. Once your young furry friend is conditioned to turning to his chew toys instead of your home's interior, you can start to give him more freedom to roam around the house unsupervised, trusting that he's still engaging in good behavior even when you're not in the room.
There's one area of training you never want to falter on, and that's where your dog is going to use the bathroom. Setting boundaries for going potty at this young stage is crucial, whether you decide to take him outdoors to eliminate waste at all times, or you invest in training pee pads to allow for indoor use until he's older. Regardless of the method you choose, be firm and diligent about always taking your pup to the designated areas to ensure there's no confusion or misdirection about where he's supposed to go. Actually taking your puppy to the potty area more often than he even needs to go makes the routine stick in his mind, and reinforcing him with treats when he does his business in the right spot is essential to training success. If your little four-legged friend does have an accident or make a mistake, it's important to again instill only positive attitudes, not act out through yelling or aggression. Shouting "No, bad dog!" is guaranteed to form negative connotations for your puppy and going to the bathroom. He might start to find secretive areas in your home like behind a couch or in a darkened corner to do his business as a result, where he thinks you won't notice. If a potty accident occurs, simply say "Uh oh! Outside." in a calm tone that doesn't set a bad precedent for the act itself, and immediately take him outdoors to finish or to reinforce that outside is where he's supposed to be for potty time. Overall, positive reinforcement builds trust with your puppy, so encouraging good behavior requires a consistently pleasant demeanor, which is sure to promote excellent puppy etiquette now and in the future.
Inviting a cute and lovable canine into your home is a very exciting time, and training can become part of the fun if it's done correctly. Let National Puppy Day inspire you to give your new furry friend a warm welcome into your living space, teaching him the necessary lessons that are sure to create a lasting, loving bond between him and everyone in the family.