Are you considering adopting a new puppy this Christmas? Puppies are popular Christmas presents that are brought home for children, and there is a lot to take into consideration both before you bring your new companion home, and after they have come into your home. These 5 points created by our in house dog trainer, Nathan Mesloh, will help you be prepared for the process.
1. Have a Game Plan:
This is perhaps the most important point I could make to you. Before you even leave home to go pick the puppy up, you need to have a plan in motion. Where is the puppy going to sleep? Are there any rooms you do not want them in? Are you okay with them being on the furniture? These are all questions you need to be asking yourself prior to them coming home. Not correcting a dog who is doing an unwanted behavior is the same thing as reinforcing it. You are telling your dog that you are okay with the behavior and have no issue whatsoever with it happening.
2. Vet Clinics do Not Have to be Scary:
Veterinary clinic visits are one of the most commonly stressful events that happen to dogs, and puppyhood is the best time to teach them that they are not scary. From day one you should begin messing with them in places dogs may be examined during a visit. This includes touching their paws and holding them, looking in their ears, and lifting their gums. Keep in mind that a happy dog is one of the best things you can see in a vet clinic, so ask your clinic if you can bring your dog in for a happy visit where they aren’t poked or examined, but instead only get pet and treats. This will help them learn that just because you’re at the vet does not mean bad things will happen to them.
3. House Breaking and Crate Training:
House breaking and crate training can easily go hand in hand and compliment each other nicely. Dogs are naturally clean animals and do not want to be in their waste, so once they have a basic grasp of house training they will do everything they can to hold it until they are let out of their crate. You can help this process along by rewarding them with treats and praise when they eliminate in the desired area, and immediately put them in the crate after letting them play for a couple minutes when they come in. Be sure to reward your dog when they are calmly sitting in their crate!
4. Consistency Consistency Consistency:
This is also an extremely important part towards training any dog who has ever lived. Consistency is mandatory for making sure your dog understands a concept. Imagine if you went out driving and one time the green light meant go, but the next time the green light meant stop. It would be complete anarchy all around. To make sure your goals for your dog are met, everyone in the house needs to be on the same page with protocol on every normal situation. This means if the dog is not allowed in the master bedroom, everyone in the house needs to make sure that they are not allowing the dog to go into the bedroom.
5. Don’t Set Your Dog up for Failure:
When I say do not set your dog up for failure, I mean not to have unrealistic expectations for them. You cannot realistically expect your dog to understand all of your rules on the first day they came home. It takes time for the dog to learn. If all you do is punish them extensively the first time they do something, the dog will not realize what exactly it is they did wrong and they will just become scared to do anything around every single item or even immediate area in that location they were punished. This is where consistency comes back into play. When you don’t allow the dog to do the undesired behavior and tell them no every single time they do that behavior, they will pick up on it. The one time you fail to follow through, they will learn that there is a chance they will be allowed to do it.
All of this information is crucial to making a harmonious relationship with your new puppy, but do not stop with just these five points. Contact a dog trainer and find out how early you can enroll in a puppy class, and then basic obedience. A dog that understands the rules is a dog that is at its happiest!