Getting a new puppy can be daunting. We all want to ensure our puppy is healthy and happy and grows into a well rounded dog.
Every new puppy owner wants to know the best way to look after their puppy. Even owners with lots of experience in raising puppies need a reminder or helping hand in how to deal with looking after their pup. With all that information out there, it’s easy to get confused over what is best for your puppy.
So below are some great tips for puppies that every puppy owner should know about.
General puppy tips
Avoid letting bad habits grow. It’s a good idea to nip things in a bud early and not to let things that may be an issue later on in life to grow and become the norm. For example it may be cute for your little puppy to jump up at people to say “hi”. But when they are fully gown this often becomes an issue.
Enroll in a puppy class. This is hugely important and something every new puppy owner should do. Not only does it help with basic training and commands but it is also very important for socialising your puppy with other dogs and with humans
Set your puppy up to win. Your puppy will want nothing more than to please you. If you set them up with things they can achieve that are not too hard then they will be happy to please you. If it is something that they cannot achieve or is too difficult then adjust it to something a little easier.
Socialise your puppy as much as possible in the early stages. The more experiences they have, the more loud noises they hear and the more people and dogs they meet, the better. A puppy that experiences much at an early stage will always fair better when they are older than a puppy that does not experience these things.
Socialise your puppy with other dogs. It is so important that you socialise your puppy with other dogs when they are a puppy. This is so that when they grow up they know how to behave around other dogs. They won’t be scared or have issues which often leads to unwanted behaviour. A great way to do this is to go to puppy classes or puppy parties. Taking them to the dog park as much as possible where they can meet other puppies and dogs.
Socialise your puppy with humans. Socialising your puppy with humans is equally important so that they learn that they don’t have to be scared of humans and that they understand and feel comfortable around them. Taking your puppy to places where they can meet people such as the park, the high street, a café or the pub are some examples. Don’t overdo it though! Don’t take them somewhere where there are too many people where they may become overwhelmed. Take it easy to begin with and go at a rate that your puppy feels comfortable.
Introduce your puppy to all kinds of people and all kinds of clothing. The bigger the range of people from children to elderly people, from all different races, the better. Also try and introduce them to people wearing harts, beards and glasses so they can get used to these items. Having some treats at hand and the asking the person to reward your puppy is a great way for them to learn people equals good things!
Be Patient and understanding – Think of your puppy as a toddler who has no concept of the world around him and what is right and wrong. Your puppy will make mistakes and will need your guidance.
Don’t be too strict – A calm, gentle but firm approach to correcting is far better than being too strict. You don’t want your puppy to be scared of you or to develop issues with certain situations after being told off too firmly.
Short Training sessions – when training your puppy try and do it in short fun sessions otherwise your puppy will get bored and the training sessions won’t be very effective. 10 – 15 min training sessions are a good place to start.
Positive reinforcement – Read up and look into the positive reinforcement method of training. This is a different approach to the “leader of the pack” method that you may have heard of. The positive reinforcement approach is in our view a far superior way of training and is kinder, more gentle on your dog. Victoria Stilwell is a great person to research for this method.
Puppy chewing is an issue for most new puppy owners. This is natural and to be expected so don’t be too tough on your little puppy. A good method is to gently but firmly say “no” and direct their attention to their favourite chew or dog toy. There is a great list of dog toys here in this article Indestructible Dog Toys.
It is a good idea to have a wide variety of choices for them to chew so that they are distracted enough not to go back to chewing that furniture leg straight away!
Anti biting spray – Another great option is to use an anti biting spray. You can spray this on the furniture or items you don’t want them to chew and it will deter them. Use this method as well as the tip above to ensure unwanted chewing is under control.
Puppy Harnesses – If your puppy is pulling on the lead then a good option is to use a puppy harness. There are special types of non pull harnesses that are designed to discourage your puppy from pulling. Harnesses also mean that there is less strain on the neck which often is an issue if your puppy is pulling
Leashes – Don’t use retractable leashes as they often actually encourage dogs to pull. They are also not the most reliable type of dog leashes as sometimes the fail or break. To find a good option check out this article here
Images source: Sonia van den Berg (Flickr)