Being a dog owner is one of the best life experiences. The amount of love and attention you give to your four-legged furbaby, they reciprocate it immediately – enhancing your life with boundless devotion, happy yapping, doggy smiles and plenty of playtime.
Happy, confident dogs are like family members, and they’re great friends for people who live alone and need some company. However, many people tend to forget that raising a dog is not easy at all. If you’re about to get a new puppy, you’ll need to teach them many things, just like a child.
If it’s your first one, you’ll need to double your efforts, and sometimes even double your resources. While bringing up a puppy certainly has its challenges, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.
If you want to bring up your pup to be self-assured and confident in every environment, keep reading to learn more!
#1 – Be Prepared
Taking in a new puppy is challenging, and if you’ve never raised a dog before, you need to be prepared to do it well from the beginning. The first months of your puppy’s life are crucial to their development and greatly impact their adult behaviour.
Preparing a new puppy checklist before your new family addition arrives is a great way to organise your first days and weeks together. This checklist should include some necessary puppy supplies such as puppy food, bedding, bowls, a leash, a collar, tags, nail clippers, treats, and a crate if you want to try crate training. Make sure you have everything before your new puppy arrives, and you’re up for a great start.
#2 – Socialise Your Puppy
If you want your puppy to grow into a confident and playful dog, you need to socialize them as early as possible. Introduce them to other puppies and adult dogs, but always supervise their interactions. The same goes for direct contact with other people.
Keep in mind that you need to ensure your puppy’s safety and avoid dangerous situations. First, make sure they’re vaccinated, then allow for some social interactions. Reinforce good behaviour with treats to help your puppy learn faster. Also, remember that you don’t have to let everyone touch your dog. Socialisation is good, but establishing healthy boundaries is the most beneficial for you and your new four-legged family member.
#3 – Get Your Puppy Accustomed to Touch
Have you ever wondered why dog grooming is so expensive? The answer is simple: dog owners rarely prepare their four-legged friends to be handled by someone else, especially in cases of professional care. As such, it’s important to get your puppy accustomed to people touching them.
The best way to do it is to choose a time when your puppy is in a playful mood or is tired of the challenges of the day. You can playfully massage their paws and gently run your fingers through their gums. This way, they’ll be less likely to cause problems at the vet or a dog groomer, and they won’t shy away from people trying to help them.
#4 – Introduce Obedience Training
As soon as your puppy arrives home, which is usually around 7 to 8 weeks of age, you can start with obedience training. Despite their short attention span, you can still teach them how to respond to simple commands like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and try some loose leash walking.
When it comes to puppy training, patience is key. Avoid punishing your puppy just because they don’t know how to behave or fail to listen to you. Instead, reward them for their good behavior to reinforce positive patterns. You can use treats, verbal cues, or try clicker training. Just remember to be consistent, but not too strict. You’ll be surprised how quickly your new puppy can learn!
#5 – Don’t Fall Into a Routine
Your new puppy develops and learns quickly. If you introduce training sessions and reinforce good behaviours with treats and other rewards, they will adopt new habits fast. This is a good thing, but it also comes with some risks.
Whenever you walk your puppy, change the route from time to time to show them new things. You can establish a feeding schedule and stick to it, but feel free to change anything that happens in between. If you let your puppy become used to the same things without introducing them to new stimuli, they won’t become self-assured and brave.
#6 – Don’t Shelter Your Puppy
Another big mistake that can possibly prevent your puppy from developing into a lively, confident dog is to keep them from things that can stress them out. While it’s important to provide your puppy with love and stability, you’ll also occasionally need to encourage them to leave their comfort zone and deal with the world on their own.
So, if you want your puppy to develop healthy reactions to various stimuli, don’t shelter them. Let them hear everyday sounds to get accustomed to them; don’t cuddle your puppy when the vacuum cleaner is running, don’t scold when they get dirty while exploring new objects. The more things your puppy gets to know, the more confident they’ll be in dealing with them in the future.
Being a dog owner gives life a different quality. People love their four-legged friends, and we can clearly see that they receive the love back. If you raise your puppy to be confident and obedient, you’ll end up with a great companion for years to come. Obviously, it will be challenging, and sometimes incredibly tiring. Don’t give up, though, because your efforts and training are definitely worth it!