Dogs are social creatures that, like humans, will retain information and experiences in early life situations and carry them from puppy to adulthood. Everything your puppy learns when he is first introduced to his new household is more likely what’s gonna stay imprinted for his entire life. Let’s make it a great experience while helping out your dog become the best version of himself.
Getting a new puppy or and have no clue were to start? Here are some points to consider:
1. Picking up the puppy
Using their incredible sense of smell to our advantage, ask the breeder to give you a toy and a blanket with momma and littermates scent to take that needed comfort and support home.
Make sure you’ve sent a dog house, crate or pen to your breeder before pick up , so he/she feeds him there and starts familiarizing him to a couple of his new toys or articles with your smell.
Make yourself the biggest motivation to your puppy by showing yourself as someone he/she can trust . Let him figure things out on his own and show him the beginning and end of the path . For example, show him how to get down the stairs by luring him with a treat or moving him down the stairs but don’t force him. Let him follow you around and do not carry him. Puppies are not carried by mom and that builds on fear. Encourage him to do things on its own, that builds up independence.
Take your time to bond with your new friend the day you pick him up . We want you to use this early experience to your advantage in the long run.
Please don’t over stimulate the puppy as soon as you see him. Keep a calm and assertive voice while giving him the space to investigate and get used to your pack smell and surroundings.
Let him walk up to the car or let him follow you outside. We want to help him build independence from the start. Use the well-associated crate you sent to the breeder to transport him safely . Put his mom’s blanket inside with him . He is gonna want to sleep with it for the first few nights while he gets adjusted to his new household.
Training starts the moment you take him home. Make sure you make your house a place to rest and feel safe .A dog’s space should always have a roof and should be 3/4 closed . If you are gonna use a big pen make sure there’s a closed space we’re he can snuggle and feel secure. Confining the space for a few weeks and opening the space slowly when he learns what to play with, where to pee and poo and while he becomes house-trained . This will give imh time to internalize boundaries and understand what is expected of him .
Always feed the puppy in their crate or pen . Put it next to your bed so he doesn’t feel isolated . Reward him when he is silent in his little house .
Puppy’s have the tendency to keep their den area clean . Puppy’s instinctively will want to move away from the nest area to eliminate .Make sure you take your pup outside to relieve himself every 2-3 hours . Make sure you reward him with treats or kibble when he goes in the desired area.
Pick a word you want to use that comes before a treat , like “yes”. Every time you want your pup to repeat an action you want him to repeat like a sit or when she comes back to you on first call, offer her a treat or playtime after saying that magic word.
I often carry my puppies kibble with me . This gives me the opportunity to “take a picture “ of the things I want them to keep offering . I just put aside how much I am going to give them each day so I don’t overfeed.
When puppies are in the first stages of learning they’ll need a lot of rewards. Then, once your dog knows how to behave and has a lot of good learning experiences with the things you taught her you can fade away from the treats slowly.
Trust is kindness to an animal. Always reward attention. We want our pups to be interested in us . This will help consolidate your relationship and avoid issues like aggression in the future.
4. Building drive and motivation
Teaching pray drive as a way to pay for good things is always a great choice . That’s the most natural instinct your dog has other than food drive .
Teach him tug by tying his favorite toy around a leash . You can use a ball , a fluffy toy or a rope toy . Start wiggling on the floor and drag it around . When your dog shows interest get exited and pull the leash towards you . After a few fights say “out” or “drop it” and when she does reward her with a bigger tug . This will tell her the chosen toy is a payoff.
Now, use tug as a good behavior weapon ! Play with it after good obedience session in the park or a good recall .
If she doesn’t understand the concept of “out” after a few tries, try showing a high value food and when she drops it reward her with it followed by another round of play fight with the beloved toy.
Now, we use corrections and pressure depending on the puppy. Our channel of communication with the dog is often from the scruff . Get him use to handling and grabbing him there with treats and praise. Get him also use to grabbing and moving his flat collar around. I can not tell you how many times I encountered dogs that are not used to being handled by their collars and even become aggressive when touched in that area.
Move him around from the scruff if he responds without screaming . This is how the mother would move or correct the dog, so if done right with gentle pressure it is harmless. We want him to get used to pressure but not block him or make him too stressed. If that’s too much for him proceed on grabbing his collar when you want to move him out of unallowed places , like your legs when he jumps, or the laundry room when he is trying to eat detergent. Mark it with a solid no, without screaming and proceed to move him away. Your no is not going have any impact unless to do a physical action.
Talking about places, I don’t often allow puppies on top of the bed or couches until they are fully trained. Dogs are visual and the leader is always high up. I advise my clients that want to do that to put a name to the place and don’t allow the pup to go up unless you invite him up. When they go into socialization period (4 months) they’ll often mark that area as well.
I often offer a teething toy that provides mental stimulation like a frozen Kong with peanut putter , and sit down to eat my meal , work or play with my little baby on top of the couch . This keeps the puppy busy while providing relief from teeth irritation.
This also doesn’t allow your pup to soil around the house when walking around since he is confined to a small space. Tethering is what we use in service dog training to keep the dog focused on us and teach her to come to us before making a bad decision. We want the puppy to go: “I want to engage in this trouble ! Mom what should we do?” And that’s when you want to mark that action with a good boy or girl followed by praise and attention (and letting them outside to pee).
7. Handling part and pieces
Handle your pups nails , hips, tail , ears and mouth gently followed by high value prices . This can save your dogs life . Teach her you can carry him around or push him a little without being hurt .
You don’t want your dog to stay in instinctive behavior you want them to learn to relax knowing she can rely on you and you are never going to do something that is going to harm integrity . Grab your dog’s collar followed by a piece of cheese . Move him from there and offer a yummy milk bone after wards .
This will make his vet or boarding experience so much easier and enjoyable. Ask your friends and family members to practice that as well with your puppy.
8. Testing for new things.
I am sure you’ve heard , a socialized pup is a happy pup . I say a WELL socialized pup is a happy pup!
They key here is honoring your puppies curiosity. When you present him to a new situation that scares him hold still and motivate when he is getting close or investigating with a nose check.
Let your loud neighbors meet her, introduce people that move and act strange , and kids of all ages. take her to home depot and tractor supply , to your kids football game . Every time you go outside and explore the world is a whole new opportunity for your pet to do that too .
Take her on small car rides that always end up in something fun . When she is very little and can’t walk in grassy areas yet put her on a doggie proof bag and go do a small easy hike so she can smell and know the environment . At 8 weeks they are going through a fear stage so its important they get to see loud crowded places and understand it is ok to get out of fight or flight mode when there’s a lot of stimulation in their surroudings.
A puppy’s world should be a enjoyable one. We owe them that for sure!