Here is the 411 on puppies. A lot of people neglect important needs in the beginning stages of a puppy’s life and therefore shelters are flooded with 1-3 year old dogs. In most cases, the reasons dogs end up in shelters are completely preventable given us humans follow some simple guidelines. Hiring a professional dog trainer will give you a distinctive advantage on setting your puppy up for success
When you get your puppy at 8 weeks old you need to start slowly exposing your dog to new people and safe dogs. You don’t wanna just pick random dogs. Make sure you know the dog. Puppies who get attacked by dog aggressive dogs can become dog aggressive too when they get older. This is why working with a qualified dog trainer is important. Socialization, however, is much more than people and dogs. There is also an environmental component to it as well (this is why professional assistance is needed). There is a saying in the dog training world, “prevention is the best cure for behavioral problems.”
After your puppy hits 18 weeks old a lot of windows close and some things good and bad may be set in stone. There is a short time to get it right. Being full time dog trainers, we get a lot of calls a year for behavior problems with adult dogs. Most of these problems could have been prevented if a trainer was hired when the dog was young. Behavioral problems in adult dogs, most of the time can be made better. However, it is easier to change behavior in puppy hood. Obviously, we change adult dog behavior all the time, but when they’re puppies the process is generally shorter and easier.
Training Your Puppy
Next you’re going to wanna start a puppy training program with a professional dog trainer. Puppies are so moldable and are VERY easy to train. If more people would start the first week they get their dog I am sure there would be a fraction of dog’s in shelters. We prefer to train puppies with food when they’re young. This develops a relationship and builds trust.
Here is a list of things we hear from people who waited too long to address a puppy’s problem:
- We were waiting until the weather got better to start training and socializing.
- I was too busy to work with the puppy.
- We bought the dog for my twelve year old daughter. She is responsible for the dog.
- We thought giving the dog a home was enough.
- We wanted to give the puppy a couple of months to get used to us.
With the above being said, we understand dog owners don’t intentionally avoid getting help. But rather don’t understand that there is a time frame to get it right with puppies. The earlier you start dog training, the better. There are many more different scenarios that we hear daily, but those five are the most common. Dog training and socialization isn’t like softball, football, soccer etc. It isn’t a seasonal event. A twelve year old in most cases isn’t mature and responsible enough to fulfill the obligations a puppy needs to be trained and socialized properly. We encourage children to get involved with a puppy’s training but only under parental supervision. Giving a dog a loving home isn’t enough. Actually beginning to train with your dog the first week will most definitely speedup the acclamation process! It will also allow the relationship to get off on the right foot.
Puppies need structure, rules, leadership and training. We MUST remember, they’re an animal at the end of the day. Training is a communication system since they don’t speak English and we don’t speak dog.
This is where training plays such a big role. At Mannerly Canine we have a quote we often say to our clients who let puppy’s get away with bad manners and it’s this, “Do you want him to do that 50lbs from now, a year down the road?” Obviously, our puppy owners answer is always no. Therefore, lets start teaching them to be an adult.
Things that should be addressed in a puppy development plan
Normal day to day situations: vacuum cleaner, garage door, objects dropped that create loud noises, stairs, getting on and off appropriate objects, getting in and out of the car, bikes and skateboards etc. These things should all be made to be positively a great experience.
How to address bad manners without diminishing drive: jumping up, chewing stuff, door dashing, chasing pant legs and any other destructive behavior.
Puppy Proofing: Is your home ready to accommodate a little furry ball of curiosity?
House Breaking: How to crate train, how and when to verbally reprimand eliminating in the house, more importantly when and how to reward eliminating outside the house.
Socialization: How to teach your puppy to greet people and dogs with manners and for the experience to always be positive for the dog. How to encounter things in the environment that may scare your puppy and how to expose them in small doses to teach them it’s a positive experience.
Training: All of our client’s puppies learn sit, down, stand, stay, leave it, off and come. When a puppy is taught all of these with rewards at a young age it makes life WAY easier when they’re older.
Good play habits: There is a right way to play with a puppy and a wrong way. Playing with a puppy the right way can condition a high value reward for obedience when the dog is older. The wrong way can lead to destructive behaviors.
With all of this information above, it can be overwhelming to achieve on your own. Give us a call, Shawn Reed has been coaching people and training dogs for almost a decade. He can break your goals down on a weekly basis.
Remember you could possibly have this dog for the next 15 years. Why not start off on the right foot! Socialize and train your puppy so he/she grows up to be a confident, happy and obedient adult dog. If you have questions and need some guidance, we’d love to hear from you!