Congratulations on your new project! Becoming a successful canine guardian is an important and fulfilling role that requires dedication, effort and time. Like a child, your pup is totally dependent on you, physically and mentally.
It is your job to gently shape your pup’s behaviours and habits so they grow into a happy, well mannered and balanced dog.
Above all, remember your puppy is an animal baby, not a human baby, and we need to find a middle ground between enjoying and nurturing them and allowing them to still be dogs.
Find balance & happiness with our puppy training tips!
It is vital that you maintain their sense of dignity, fulfilment and purpose if they are to grow up without behaviour problems and be truly happy living in a human world.
Dogs think very differently to humans and it is easy to misunderstand what they want and/or need from us, and because we aren’t able to teach our dogs to speak human, it makes sense that we learn to speak dog instead!
Learning the language of your best friend is an investment that will bring years of enjoyment to you both. Here we provide some of the secrets of how to train your puppy successfully. Here’s a few tips to get you started.
Don’t overstimulate your new pup.
When you first bring your new puppy home, share calm affection and give them time to settle in and adjust to the new situation. Getting a new puppy is very exciting for us, but for the puppy it can be overwhelming. As tempting as it is, don’t let them become the focus of your household and give them the impressions that they are the most ‘important’ family member. Give them lots of personal space and allow them to just be with you or next to you without crowding them, patting them excitedly, picking them up or pushing them to play. There is plenty of time for all that later.
Give your puppy a small and secure area to start with, like a crate, playpen or an area of the house sectioned off with baby gates. Once your pup is familiar with this area and feels safe, and is having 100% success with toilet training there, gradually increase this area. Giving them the run of the house straight away is unnecessary and can often lead to problems. For some puppies too much freedom can be confusing and overwhelming and in others it can create a dominant attitude. If you had a small child in your home, you would need to provide constant supervision and limitation, and it is no different for your puppy.
Dogs learn through a number of ways but repetition is high on the list. Puppies are very clever, but they usually need to be shown things several times to get the hang of it. Take the time to SHOW your puppy what you want (you can’t tell them) and be careful you’re not expecting too much too soon. Slow and steady
Rules and Boundaries.
It may seem fun to spoil your pup but this is not what fulfils dogs. They need purpose, challenge and incentives as well. Working for rewards also allows to pup to feel appreciative, and lets you show your pup that you make most of the decisions. Your pup should understand that you give permission for certain things, and that they need to wait to be invited to do some things. If you’re going to let them up on the furniture for example, ask them to wait until you invite them up, rather than choose to get up whenever they want. Or, stay out of the bedrooms unless invited in.
Be a loving leader for your pup.
Don’t accidentally fall into the trap of being a lazy parent.Your puppy isn’t able to be and doesn’t want to be in charge! They need to know that you are in control of things and that you make the big decisions so they can relax and feel safe and secure. It feels good to humans for everyone to be equal but that is not how dogs naturally live together. Feel good about being a calm, loving and powerful leader knowing your pup will appreciate it.
Play and exercise.
All children need to play and burn energy and some will need and want more than others. Satisfying your pup’s need to outlet excess energy is vital, and will help to prevent boredom and frustration and the resulting barking, chewing, digging and destructive behaviour that this often leads to. Playing in the dog world is not only for enjoyment and exercise, but also how puppies work out who they are in the pecking order and also how they practise and refine their survival and hunting skills. Even though it is a healthy and natural instinct, you will need to teach your pup that biting, jumping up and growling at you even during play is not ok. Lots of shorter, more intense bursts of energy with regular rest periods works best for puppies.
Being a highly social pack animal, your puppy will want to be with you as much as possible. This is normal and healthy and in his natural environment he would rarely, if ever, be alone. If your pup is going to be alone for periods of time, start to condition them for this early. Even when you are home, give your pup short periods of time alone (in a secure area the pup is already familiar with), to help them learn to be independent of you and to self pacify. It is important to allow a wind down period before you do so, where you help your pup become calm, before leaving them alone. Ensure they are tired out and have toys or bones to chew on. Leave AND return calmly so your pup doesn’t associate being alone with anxiety or excitement.
Socialise your pup.
The earlier the better! Slowly but surely, get your pup out and about and let them experience car rides, people, cars, traffic, cats, children and other dogs. Keep in mind that the first few experiences with ANYTHING new will form powerful associations for the future. If you want your pup to be friendly and confident around other dogs for eg, make sure the first few dogs they meet are calm and friendly. Take care to control these environments and these experiences; it is well worth the effort.
Raising a balanced, well behaved, happy dog is a big commitment, but the more time and energy you invest now, the more enjoyment and freedom you will both have when they are older. If you need any help along the way, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Our trainers come to you, and are experts at helping dogs and humans co-exist in harmony.
Author: Emma Tucker
Emma has a deep understanding and passion for dog and human psychology and the way these relationships reflect each other. Her knowledge of dog behaviour is 2nd to none.