Adding a new puppy to the family can be a challenge. Not only does it impact your life, it impacts your home, and everyone involved.
Oh we know, there's nothing that compares to snuggles with your new furry companion! But the truth is, your new puppy needs a lot more than kisses and cuddles.
To help you build a lifelong bond - and get you off on the right paw - here are five don'ts for new puppy owners.
Waiting to Train Your Puppy
It's easy to get swept away by your puppy's adorable, amusing antics. But your puppy will grow up!
Those very antics might seem cute and harmless as a puppy, but will quickly become a nuisance as he grows. The little jump as he greets you, gets quickly out of hand when your fully grown dog leaps upon guests, and the playful puppy nipping becomes outright painful biting.
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Puppy training begins the moment you bring your puppy home. Just like human babies, your puppy is growing and developing quickly.
Now is the time to teach your puppy his name, and basic cues such as come, sit, and stay. Get into a daily routine to help him understand when it’s time to eat, when it’s time to sleep, and when it’s ok to go potty.
A puppy’s prime learning age is at this young age when they’re the most eager and willing to listen. Those early weeks are crucial for bonding, training, and whether or not your pup will grow up to be polite and well mannered!
Using Harsh Methods
Never shout at your puppy or employ harsh punishments "to teach him a lesson". Doing so is incredibly damaging, and will make your 'Doodle learn to fear you - making the problem much worse.
Positive training methods are proven to be highly effective. This method of training and relating to your puppy focuses on what your pup is doing right, instead of focusing on what he did wrong.
However, positive reinforcement doesn’t mean being permissive.
Without boundaries, dogs will become unruly and even unsafe. But you don’t have to use harsh methods to teach your puppy how to behave. Positive praise will help you build a strong bond, and provide mental stimulation.
Keeping Your Pup Penned Up
Don't leave your dog tied up, or cooped in a crate too long. A crate should be your pup's safe spot, not a punishment or magical solution to canine behavior.
Now most puppies will benefit from having a crate as a place of comfort and security - a den of sorts. And crate training has many benefits when it comes to house training.
However, long periods of confinement can be very detrimental to your puppy.
Sometimes after the initial excitement of a new puppy wears off, people discover that having a puppy is not always a breeze. As a solution, they will shut their pup into a crate for hours on end - when they are away, at work, or sleeping.
Some puppies are crated nearly all day! And then, of course, when the puppy is finally let out out, he goes crazy, the owner is horrified, and back into the crate he goes.
Dogs are social animals and need plenty of exercise and human interaction or they will feel trapped, depressed, and anxious. Just as you would not enjoy being in one room for the rest of your life, your puppy should not be spending most of his time in a crate.
If changing your schedule is not an option, consider hiring a pet sitter, dog walker, or taking him to a daycare facility, to cut down on crate-time.
Unsupervised Play With Children
As a 'Doodle parent, it is your responsibility to observe and supervise your puppy and his interactions.
Children will be all excited about a puppy of course, but they tend to invade the pet’s space and unknowingly fail to heed a pet’s warnings to back off. If a child is not taught proper interaction with pets, it can lead to them being bitten.
Show your children how to properly interact with a puppy. Don't allow any teasing or hurtful behavior such as ear-pulling. At the same time, never force your puppy to be played with or picked up, if he's uncomfortable.
Provide a safe retreat for your puppy that is off limits to kids. Yes, socialization is very necessary. However, as much as one-on-one cuddle time is important, giving your puppy some space is equally important.
Supervising carefully and setting boundaries is important for mutual trust between puppy and child and the safety of everyone.
Last but not least - inconsistency is a big no-no.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and they like to know what is expected of them. Letting them know what you want helps build trust and minimize stress.
Create and maintain a daily schedule such as feeding time, potty breaks, playtime, and so forth.
Be consistent with the rules and expectations. If your puppy isn’t allowed to be on the couch when company is there, he should not be allowed on the couch at any time.
Being consistent also means making sure all individuals in the household are on the same page when it comes to training. Having different rules depending on who's giving the orders is a surefire way to confuse a dog.
Make sure that you’re being consistent and clear with both the words you use and nonverbal signals, whether in training or daily routine.
If you are a first-time puppy parent, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the mistakes you could make. Don't beat yourself up!
Blunders are inevitable, but puppies are incredibly forgiving and eager to please! With time and experience (and your willingness to learn) your puppy will adapt and become your best friend for life!