One mistake owners make with a new puppy is not beginning puppy training until the pup is older. A common belief is because a pup is young, he doesn’t understand what he is being taught. Puppies learn how to interact with each other and proper dog manners from their mother and siblings. They learn mom is in charge and what she says, goes. Puppies learn how to find their place among each other and how to socialize with other dogs. They learn about bite inhibition from each other, social skills they need to learn and refine as they grow older and how to be sociable with people. A puppy’s training begins with his mom and siblings and once a pup is in a new home, his training needs to be continued with the person or family who will be his new leader.
Puppies should never be separated from their mom or siblings until they are at least 6 weeks old and 8 weeks is better. A breeder who tries to release a puppy before he’s 6 weeks old is being irresponsible if he/she tells you the pup will be fine. This breeder is most likely the owner of a puppy mill. Responsible breeders want to make sure their puppies are healthy and properly socialized before sending them to a new home. Rushing separation from a puppy’s mom and litter mates can cause harm to the puppy and to the mother’s health if all her puppies are removed too early. Removing a puppy from his mom and siblings even a week early can actually decrease a puppies ability to learn, he is likely to have more health problems as he grows older and early separation can cause him to not be as physically conditioned as he should be. A pup taken away too soon can develop separation anxiety that stays with him his entire life.
Puppies are beginning to develop their personality during this early stage in their life and once you’ve picked out the right pup for you, now is the best time to begin puppy training to ward off potential behavioral problems that can develop later on, like aggression issues. Training helps you learn who your pup is as an individual dog as his personality develops. Puppy training can help you create and maintain a healthy and balanced state of mind in your growing pup because you understand who he is and how he may react to different situations. Knowing your pup allows you to step in to correct potential behavioral issues before they become a problem.
Bonding is an essential element in the human, pet relationship and it’s important to begin as soon as your pup arrives in your home. Using positive reinforcement with lots of praise and treats is the best way to earn your puppy’s respect and trust as the bond between you begins to grow and strengthen.
Fix up a crate in your bedroom where the pup can sleep at night. The first week or so is hard for a little one. All of a sudden he finds himself somewhere alone with no idea what happened to his mom or siblings. Letting him sleep in your bedroom lets him know he’s not alone. You want your puppy to grow up feeling secure and positive about you and making his sleeping arrangements comfortable and stress free is the best way to start. You are now his adopted family, so make him feel at home and help him through his separation from his mom and siblings. It’s normal for a puppy to whine and cry when he suddenly finds himself alone, but the whines will fade as he settles in and feels more comfortable with his surroundings. To help him adjust to his new home, if it’s possible, take a towel or baby blanket with you when you go pick up your puppy. Spend a little time with his mother and any siblings that are left. Let them play on the towel or blanket or rub it on his mom and siblings. Put the towel/blanket in his crate when you get home. Since dogs have incredible smell,, it can help him feel less lonely having some familiar smells in his sleeping quarters.
Puppies are just as capable of learning basic commands as an adult dog. Even though a puppy’s personality is still being formed, you have a hand in molding who he will become as a dog and teaching him what you expect and how he will act as he matures. Puppies, like dogs, need to know who’s in charge and puppy training with positive reinforcement, staying consistent with his training, remaining calm, patient and understanding does make all the difference in the world between a puppy who grows up with a healthy state of mind or a pup who grows up confused and not knowing what’s expected of him. You need to set ground rules right away and help the puppy learn by training him. Puppies can learn, if you take the time to teach. Puppy training actually helps him relax when he knows he’s not the one in charge and all he has to worry about is being a puppy and not the one who makes all the decisions.
Getting a puppy means you have thought about what the next year of your life will be like. You have to puppy proof your home to make sure everyone stays safe. That means electrical cords, remote controls, books/magazines or anything that’s precious to you or dangerous for the puppy is kept away from him. Even with training, puppies are still puppies and you have to give them time to mature. Teaching him how to sit, stay, come, no bite and drop it can save your fingers, prevent the puppy from eating something he shouldn’t and make life a little less hectic when your puppy listens to you from the start. Puppies have a natural curiosity to discover new things and learn about their world and that’s why you should begin their training as soon as you get them home. Just remember, puppies, like kids, have short attention spans, so keep training sessions short, fun and always positive.
If you have a puppy or plan to bring a new puppy into your life, don’t wait to begin his training. You can counter potential behavioral problems by teaching him at a young age what you expect and how he should interact with everyone, including other pets, in the family. A puppy is eager to learn and discover his world. Take his curiosity to learn and teach him basic commands. Remember to stay patient at all times. Never yell at or hit him. Puppy training helps your pup learn to be confident and feel good about himself. Gain his trust and respect by giving him respect and a bond will grow that can never be broken.
Training Your New Puppy, Dog Breed Info Center
Mary Anne Miller, Puppy Training, CanineCrib.com
Why is Training so Important, Smart Dawg