If you just brought your new puppy home, or are about to, you are probably letting her get away with many things… you’re to busy playing with her and showing her off to family and friends. This can be a big mistake! Training a new puppy needs to start at day one. Rules and boundaries should be established and taught as early as possible.
The following four training areas should be considered the minimum start to ensure a happy relationship with your dog as a puppy and as a full grown friend.
Probably the single most important thing you can do to help your puppy grow up to be a friendly, confident, reliable and happy family member is to socialize your puppy now.
– Patricia McConnell, PhD
Introducing your puppy to other dogs and people from an early age is essential if you want her to remain calm as she grows older. The best way to do this is through puppy kindergarten classes that might be run in your local area. It allows them to be comfortable around other dogs and humans without getting nervous or aggressive. This will pay off in the future when she gets bigger and stronger and you need to have confidence that she won’t chase after the neighbors kid when she’s not on the leash!
Obedience training is vitally important if your puppy is ever going to listen to your commands for any other type of training. Unless you make her completely obedient to your commands she will continue doing her own thing and might even get aggressive as she gets older and you try to stop her doing what she wants. The problem you want to avoid is to allow her to become the pack leader. Obedience training teaches her that you are the leader and she must follow your commands.
The amount of poop that can come out of your puppy can defy the laws of science, but potty training for your puppy is an unavoidable process. You cannot get angry or aggressive if she has a little accident around the house, even if it’s after weeks of training. Positive affirmation with clear guidance that if she experiences a call of nature she should either wait for the daily walk or indicate that she needs to go outside. If you discover a small puddle in your home, give a stern “No!” command before leading her outside. Many puppy training experts also talk about the advantages of crate training for teaching your puppy to go potty at predefined times.
Behavior At Home
Similar to socializing, you need to train your puppy to be a considerate household member. This includes things like not jumping up at visitors, not chewing the slippers (or the kids homework!), not barking continuously and not being aggressive to anyone. This training can be done through positive affirmation where compliance is met with treats and rewards and non-compliance is met with ignoring, time-out zones and verbal dressing down with a loud, sharp “No!”.
I intend to go into much more detail on each of these areas in the future, but at least now you have a basic understanding of what areas of training are important early in your dogs life, and why.