Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting experience for your family, but training your dog right from the start is very important.
The first few weeks you spend with your puppy are a crucial period for both you and your new dog. The relationship you establish during this time can set the tone for the rest of your life together. Puppies grow up very fast and the first few months will fly by, so getting their training absolutely right from the start will help them become calm, well-behaved adult dogs.
Puppy Parenting Tip #1
Setting them up for Success
Set your puppy up for success from the moment you and your new puppy get home. Especially for the first few days your puppy will be feeling quite uncertain, so establishing a good, consistent routine is crucial from the start. Make sure you always wake up, feed, and put your puppy to bed at the same time every day.
When you’re doing training with your puppy it’s very important that the whole family follow the same rules. Puppies learn based on repetition, so if the same thing happens over and over again while you’re teaching them something, they will catch on quickly.
But if one member of the family doesn’t follow along with the training routine, or gives a dog treats when it’s not appropriate, your puppy will end up confused and all your hard work can be quickly undone.
So, before puppy even arrives, everyone needs to know exactly what the rules and boundaries are and stick to them. These will differ from house to house – so decide as a family what you’re comfortable with. This is especially important with smaller children who will want the puppy to be their best friend – and willing to use treats to make it happen! Regular training sessions where you supervise both puppy and child will make sure everyone is doing the same training.
I recommend that you pop a piece of paper with the routine on the fridge so all the family can see it as a reminder and can support each other.
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A final thing to remember is that your puppy needs to know their own name. Make sure you say it to them frequently to get their attention, so they won’t confuse it with another command.
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Sarah White is an animal behaviourist who uses positive reinforcement methods to shape and change behaviours across a wide range of animals. She also runs Ruffle Snuffle®, which designs and produces an award winning range of environmental enrichment toys for pets.