When you get a puppy it becomes part of your family. You want to trust him/her with your family and your home. For this reason good socialization and training are critical. The keys to training are time, consistency, and clear leadership.
Time: You can’t expect your puppy to know what you want unless you take time to teach them. Kids learn in school and then do their homework! You need to reinforce training goals multiple times each day giving your puppy your undivided attention. Also remember that just like kids, puppies are always learning. Every experience you have with your pup is a learning experience.
Consistency: Everyone living with the puppy should work together to come up with a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors the first week and stick to these rules. Everyone should use the same verbal and physical commands to enforce these rules. If one member of the family allows the puppy to jump upon them, then it confuses the puppy when someone else reprimands him for the same behavior.
Clear leadership: Do not use physical force to teach/lead your puppy. This can cause defensiveness and even provoke aggression. Puppies gain confidence and a sense of security when they have a leader. Reward them for good behavior. Too often we give our pups attention when they misbehave and ignore them when they are sitting quietly. We should praise and give treats to the calm puppy and ignore bad behaviors when possible. For example, growling and nipping at your hand during play is often considered cute and harmless now but you are teaching your pup it is ok to growl. It won’t be as cute when he is 100 pounds!
The most important point about behavior is to realize that teaching your pup to be a good citizen takes a lot of time and effort. All dogs benefit from the experience of a trained professional.
We will happily recommend a trainer to help you with necessary behavior training. Please call Barrett Station Veterinary Clinic at 314-822-2882 with any questions regarding this fun and important time in your puppy’s life.