Puppies are sponges
Whether you purchase or adopt, we are all excited to bring home a new puppy. But did you know training starts from that very first moment? From potty training, to basic commands, chewing, nipping, play biting…the list goes on. It is our job to teach our puppy what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not conducive to happily living with a human family. When I ask a client with a new puppy if they are struggling with jumping, nipping, play biting and such I often hear “Yes, but won’t he outgrow it on his own?” or “Yes, but my neighbor said she’s just a pup and will outgrow it”. No, no, no! If we do not teach our puppies that these behaviors are not acceptable they will continue… Why? Because it feels good to them and they enjoy it. From the moment our puppies enter our lives they are learning from us…good and bad. Making sure our little sponges soak up more good than bad is the first step to having an obedient dog.
Puppies are cute
Normal puppy behavior can develop into bad manners if you’re not careful. Take the 8 week old bull mastiff puppy: You let him out of the crate, he is so excited to see you and he jumps up on your legs. You, just as excited to see him, love and pet him all while he is jumping up. Flash forward 6 months. That same puppy is now 80 pounds. You let him out of the crate, and he jumps up, knocking you down. You scold him and tell him he is a “bad boy” and shouldn’t jump. How does he know what he did wrong? You allowed it when he was little and he has learned that it is ok. Or, take the little 10 week old Lhasa Apso… She is just too cute with that little button nose and those big brown eyes. She really enjoys play biting and chewing on your fingers. You think… She is so little and it must feel good on her puppy teeth so you allow it. Now your little princess is 10 months old. You are all dressed up to go out to dinner and her she comes… She grabs hold of your skirt and starts tugging. You are so worried she will tear it that you reach down to stop her and to your surprise, she bites at your hands! You yell at her, “NO, Bad Girl!” but she thinks it is such fun, and why wouldn’t she? You let her when she was little…
Puppies want to learn
It is up to us to teach them the right things. Inconsistency is your worst enemy when raising a puppy. The best thing you can do is decide on the rules before you even bring your dog home and then STICK TO THEM! Decide everything, from if she going to be allowed on the furniture, to where to put her crate. It is all up to you to decide what you will (and will not) allow your puppy to do. Think of them as adults and how you want them to be. The choices you make for your puppy, the behaviors you allow and the commands you teach will shape them into the dog they grow up to be. It is easier to guide them and teach them what is acceptable and what is not at a young age rather than going back later in life and correcting behaviors you allowed…or worse…encouraged when they were pups.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Just like you send your kids to school to learn or take your car to the mechanic, finding a trainer early will help you set your puppy up for success. We start training pups as young as 10 weeks of age (as long as they have the proper vaccines). Our trainers can help you with potty training, behavior modification, barking, jumping, nipping and basic training. Plus, now you have a resource for the rest of your puppy’s life… someone they love and someone you trust. As your puppy gets older they can help you with the little hiccups of life, advance your training to an off leash lifestyle and give you the support you need if you get a little lax in the training and your pup needs his memory refreshed. An obedient dog is created, molded and built with good, consistent communication. Teach your dog and they will thank you for it!