Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 17:00

Essential Lessons for Your New Puppy

Essential Lessons for Your New Puppy

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is a thrilling experience filled with joy and anticipation. However, it can also present a sense of overwhelm as you navigate the unfamiliar territory of puppy training. You may find yourself pondering questions like, “What should be the initial lessons for my puppy?” or “Is there an ideal starting point for puppy training?”

It’s essential to remember that puppies are not entirely blank canvases waiting to be painted on. Several factors contribute to the shaping of your puppy’s distinct personality, including their genetics, early socialization experiences, and maternal influences. Thus, while every puppy is indeed a unique individual, there exists a core set of foundational lessons that are universally beneficial to teach your puppy. These initial teachings can significantly aid in smoothing their transition into your home and setting the right tone for their future training.

Before delving into the particulars of puppy training, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of a puppy’s development. Puppies come with pre-existing traits and behaviors dictated by their genetic makeup, early socialization, and maternal influence. Genetics can determine a puppy’s temperament, physical traits, and certain behaviors. Early socialization—or the lack thereof—can significantly impact a puppy’s comfort level with various environmental factors, including humans, other animals, and different environments. Maternal factors, such as the mother dog’s behavior and health condition during pregnancy, can also play a role in shaping a puppy’s demeanor and health.

Despite these inherent factors, each puppy, with its unique blend of traits, can benefit from some universal teachings. The first lessons you impart to your puppy can be instrumental in facilitating their adjustment to your home and laying a solid foundation for further training. These lessons focus on basic manners, house training, and socialization skills, forming the bedrock of your puppy’s learning journey and helping them grow into a well-behaved and well-adjusted member of your family.

Establishing a Bond – You Are the Provider of Positivity

Welcoming a new puppy into your home might generate a sense of urgency to start formal training immediately. While early education is indeed beneficial, the primary emphasis during the initial few weeks with your puppy should be on fostering a strong, reciprocal bond.

One of the fundamental lessons to instill in your puppy from the get-go is the understanding that you are a dependable, secure, and a plentiful provider of positive experiences.

Here are some strategies to reinforce this bond:
  1. Engage all family members in taking care of your dog. This can involve rotating responsibilities for your dog’s mealtimes and walks. This routine not only helps the puppy identify all family members as their caretakers but also ensures that they develop a strong bond with each individual in the family.
  2. For households with younger children, find activities suitable for their age to involve them in the puppy’s care. This could be as simple as assisting in pouring food into the dog’s bowl or handing them a treat. Such tasks can make the child an active participant in the puppy’s care and also foster a sense of responsibility.
  3. Make it a point to acknowledge and reward your puppy’s positive behaviors. A mix of food treats and verbal praise can serve as powerful motivators and reinforcement tools. Remember, positive reinforcement is key in shaping desirable behaviors in your puppy.

Training, when approached with a fun and engaging mindset, can serve as an exceptional bonding opportunity with your puppy, and this process can start as early as you bring the puppy home.

When it comes to socialization, remember that the goal is not to expose your puppy to an overwhelming amount of new experiences but to provide them with a carefully curated variety of quality, safe exposures. The idea is to help them gradually get comfortable with various aspects of their environment, facilitating their development into well-adjusted adult dogs.

Socialization – The World is a Safe, Interesting Place

The initial months of a puppy’s life provide a crucial window for socialization. This period, which typically closes around 16 weeks of age, is when your puppy is most receptive to new experiences. Therefore, socialization should be a primary focus during these initial weeks with your new pup.

The ultimate aim of effective socialization is not merely to expose your puppy to a large volume of interactions with unfamiliar objects, people, or animals. Instead, it’s more about ensuring the quality of these encounters and making them positive experiences for your pup.

Here are some suggestions for the variety of people, places, and things your puppy should be exposed to during this critical socialization period:

  1. People: Familiarize your puppy with individuals of various ages, heights, and body types. This exposure will help them become comfortable around a diverse range of people.
  2. Dogs: Allow your puppy to meet friendly and healthy dogs of different sizes and coat types. This interaction is important for learning how to communicate with their own kind.
  3. Surfaces: Expose your puppy to a variety of surfaces such as slippery floors, grates, and wet grass. This will help them adapt to different textures and terrains.
  4. Moving objects: Introduce your puppy to bicycles, cars, scooters, and wheelchairs to get them accustomed to moving stimuli.
  5. Animals: Allow your puppy to observe other animals they may encounter later in life, such as cats, horses, and birds.
  6. Appliances: Acquaint your puppy with the noises produced by appliances like the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, and washing machine.

Before your puppy receives all its vaccinations, it’s best to avoid locations with a high concentration of dogs such as dog parks, pet daycares, and heavily trafficked pet stores. These areas could potentially expose your pup to diseases they are not yet fully protected against.

If your puppy appears nervous during your socialization outings, consider taking a step back, allowing your puppy to observe from a distance. Pairing unfamiliar objects or animals with food treats can help create a positive association for your puppy. These positive associations, formed early in life, can significantly impact their perception of their environment for a lifetime.

Housebreaking and Crate Training

Housebreaking and crate training are bundled together as they interconnect and form vital components of the initial things to teach your new puppy. An integral part of the housebreaking process involves teaching your puppy to be comfortably confined in a crate for periods suitable to their age.

You can find comprehensive resources on potty training processes elsewhere, but here are the fundamental steps you can follow:

  1. Do not practice free-feeding with your puppy. Unless your vet has recommended free-feeding due to a specific medical reason, adhere to a consistent feeding schedule. This predictability can help in establishing a consistent routine for bathroom breaks.
  2. Stay mindful of your puppy’s activities. If they have recently eaten, consumed water, or engaged in vigorous play, it’s likely time for a potty break.
  3. Keep an eye out for signs that your puppy needs to relieve themselves, such as sniffing around, circling, or suddenly running into another room. These can be indications that they need to go outside.
  4. Limit your puppy’s access to your entire home initially. To start with, restrict them to one or two rooms using a baby gate or similar barrier. This can help in managing accidents and making the housebreaking process smoother.
  5. Anytime you’re unable to actively supervise your puppy, they should be safely confined in their crate or playpen. This will prevent them from having accidents in unsupervised areas of the house.
  6. If you catch your puppy in the act of having an accident indoors, interrupt them gently with a few hand claps, and immediately take them outside. The goal is to interrupt, not scare or threaten them. Reward them for finishing their business outside to reinforce the right behavior.
  7. If you come across an accident after it has happened, simply clean it up without punishing your puppy. They won’t understand why they’re being reprimanded after the fact, which could lead to confusion and fear.

Remember, patience and consistency are key to successfully housebreaking your puppy. Celebrate their successes and don’t get discouraged by setbacks. With time and persistent training, your puppy will eventually understand and adopt the desired behaviors.

Introduction to Hand Targeting

So, you’re eager to kickstart formal training with your puppy! A great initial exercise is hand targeting. This exercise gently familiarizes your puppy with a hand approaching their face, paves the way for understanding the learning process, and is often a favorite activity for kids to practice with their new furry friend.

Hand targeting forms a crucial part of formal training, which can be a fun and interactive experience for both you and your pup. Additionally, it can be used as a tool to help prevent or modify behaviors such as overly exuberant greetings. We’ve created a detailed video tutorial on hand targeting that you can refer to for a step-by-step guide.

Recalling Upon Command

Instilling the recall command early on in your puppy’s life can be beneficial as puppies are naturally inclined to follow their human caregivers. Not only does this exercise help establish a bond with your puppy, but it can also kindle a love for training that lasts a lifetime.

The initial step towards building a reliable recall involves practicing within your home, where distractions are minimal. You would start by saying your dog’s name followed by the recall word (for example, “Rover, come!”) when your dog is nearby but not paying complete attention to you.

To attract Rover, you can use high-pitched noises and excited movements. Usually, at a short distance and with no distractions, your dog will come without much difficulty. Reward your dog instantly with their favorite treat, such as string cheese or chicken, upon successful completion of the recall.

If there are other family members at home, you can turn this into a game. Space yourselves around your home or yard and take turns calling Rover. To increase the excitement, one person can gently hold Rover back while you start calling him, getting him excited before he is released to come to you.

Over time, gradually increase the difficulty level of this game by introducing more distractions or moving to a more open environment such as a backyard or other fenced area. If you’re practicing recalls in an area without a fence, consider using a 40-foot long line as a safety precaution.

If you require additional assistance with your dog’s recall, we offer an online recall course that combines a video curriculum with personalized trainer coaching.

Remember, training is a journey you embark on with your puppy. Enjoy the process, remain patient, and celebrate every small victory along the way.


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *