Raising your pooch to be a decent member of canine society isn’t only great for braggin rights, but it will make every experience with your dog more enjoyable for life.
From going hiking and to the beach, to dog park shenanigans and emergency vet visits, having a dog that understands and listens to you is key.
Age They Come Home
The beginning of your pups life plays a big part in how he will be later in life, and research has shown that pups that stay with their momma’s and littermates until three or four months of age usually turn out to be easier to train!
But why is this? Well, it’s pretty simple – Momma’s not going to put up with any nonsense, and if Fido plays too rough – she’ll put a stop to it, and start teaching him that when she says no, the nonsense stops!
From the very first day that your puppy comes home, you want to make sure that your rules are in place – and where possible, these shouldn’t change.
For example, if your dog isn’t allowed in the kitchen, then he’s never allowed in the kitchen, it can’t be that some days he is and some days he isn’t.
This will only confuse him, and show him that he doesn’t always have to follow the rules.
When training any animal positive reinforcement is the only way to go, scientific studies have proven that without a doubt, your dog will learn far quicker with positive training techniques.
But what is positive reinforcement?
Simply put, it’s the act of rewarding good behavior, and ignoring bad behavior, some people get confused by this part and assume that it means you’re letting your dog get away with murder, but far from it.
Let’s say for example you’re asking your dog to sit, you’re saying the vocal command, but he’s ignoring you.
Using positive reinforcement means you’re going to keep going, staying calm, and consistent – until he does the correct behavior and sits down.
If, you had used negative reinforcement, and told Fido that he was a bad bad dog each time he didn’t immediately sit down and resorted to hitting him, that would be negative reinforcement.
Introducing your puppy to other people is an important part of his socialization, and in the very beginning, it’s a good idea to ask dog savvy friends to help you out with this.
They will know not to let him jump up on them, or bite at their hands, and essentially instill the same principles that you do!
When it comes time to introduce your pup to kids, of course, there is a bit of a difference.
Kids are a bit more excited about meeting puppies, and can’t usually contain their enthusiasm for this cute bundle of fluff.
If you happen to have friends with older kids, ask them to come on over and help you out, but first – explain to them that this is part of his training, and set some ground rules!
Does your neighbor have a calm pooch that you can go on walks with?
Ask them if their older dog would mind being a mentor of good pooch citizenship, and head out on walks together.
Making sure to keep both dogs on the lead, and at first walking near but not within touching distance of one another.
The reason that we keep them apart, but within sniffing distance, is so that your puppy learns that when he is calm, he gets to meet new dogs.
Allowing him to meet a new dog when overexcited not only makes him less likely to listen to you, but also runs the risk of dog fights breaking out.
Introduce your puppy to as many new animals as early as you can, if you can get your pup accustomed to all kinds of animal, including cats, birds, and large farm animals – you’re not going to run the risk of their interest one day getting the better of them and them running into a field and getting kicked.
Taking your puppy to an obedience class is one of the best things that you can do, and even if you’re a pro dog trainer yourself will be hugely beneficial, as not only are you setting aside time specifically for training – but you’re socializing with a lot of people and dogs too!
When your puppy is eight weeks old, he can’t do much damage with his mouth, but as he grows up – those little gnashers get real big, and he gets real strong.
From day one, your puppy should never be allowed to have his teeth touch your skin.
He can play with chew toys as much as he wants, but everytime he tries to put his mouth on your skin – calmly stop him.
And I mean every single time!
If there are kids in the house, having a food proud dog can be especially dangerous, so from your first feeding with your pup – teach him that you’re going to pick it up a few times so that he learns that you’re the alpha.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
Wanting to have a perfectly trained pupper is great, but if you want him to be the perfect dog for you, you have to be the perfect owner for him.
Providing him with enough physical stimulation by taking him on walks, hikes, and to the dog park will make for a happy dog that is far more likely to be in the right mindset to be a good boy!
Keeping his mind stimulated with obedience training, and by teaching him fun tricks, you’re not only keeping his mind entertained so that he doesn’t find other things to do – like chewing on furniture – to entertain himself, but he’ll feel happy knowing that he’s doing things right!
Teaching your puppy that being alone is OK and he doesn’t have to whine or bark is perhaps the most important part of training a well behaved dog.
Here’s a quick step by step on how to first start with this:
- Before going out on a walk, set up your pups bed in a crate, in a quiet corner of a room, and get a book/drink ready for you!
- After a long walk, come home and pop your pup in his bed immediately – hopefully, he’ll be so tired that he’ll flop right down onto his bed!
- Now go sit and read your book quietly and if your pup begs for attention, ignore him and keep on reading.
Try to do this every day after your work, not only will this teach your pup that it’s quiet time – but you’ll get some great non tech time!
Having a well behaved dog is the most incredible joy, but having a badly behaved dog is the absolute opposite.
Taking some time out of your day, and being consistent is all it takes, so why not do it?
You get the joy of your dog enriching your life, so go ahead and do your best for him!