I read a saying once that said, “The only difference between kids and dogs are two extra legs”. This could not be more true for so many different reasons. Kids need to be taught a variety of different things – so do puppies. Kids are impressionable and learn from example – so do puppies. Kids need love, attention, affection and positive reinforcement to grow into intelligent, well-rounded adults – so do puppies. We have list of things NOT to do when teaching and raising your baby puppy.
Have you ever met a dog that was just so well-behaved you thought he must have been a saint in a past life? And you ask the owners if they trained him themselves and they smile and say “No, he’s just a great dog”. They are lying. Maybe they didn’t do agility training or consciously train him to be this model dog but we can definitely tell you they did something! And can guarantee they didn’t do these things.
Proper socialization is such a huge part of a puppy’s life and behavior. Allowing them to meet new people, animals and places will teach them to be accepting and non-aggressive as an adult. Now, it’s going to take a lot more than taking your Beagle puppy to a pet store every week to teach him to not chase squirrels, but it will teach him that new people, smells and places are not something to be feared.
Socialization is especially important for the smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies since they tend to attach themselves to one person and protect that person with every ounce of their tiny bodies. Small or not, this is a turn off for visitors trying to sit on the couch beside you. Let people hold your puppy, play with him, give him treats, take him outside and other every day activities. This will help him be a well adapted puppy who greets everyone with wags and kisses.
While crating can be a very effective tool for potty training, it should not be used as a pet sitter. Your puppy is new to the world, wants to explore and, most importantly, needs to move around and get some exercise even when you’re not home. Some new puppy owners keep their puppy in the crate when they’re not home or busy or while they are sleeping. This means your puppy can be shut up in his crate for 20 hours per day. And when he is out, he is a maniac – running, jumping, chewing and doing anything else to get attention. Can you blame him?
If you’re worried about accidents while you’re away, try making a puppy proof room where accidents will not be such a big deal. Or hire a pet sitter to come mid-day and allow for some potty breaks and playtime. And if you don’t have the time to spend with your puppy when you’re at home, you shouldn’t have one in the first place. Plain and simple.
Yelling and physical punishments are no way to teach your puppy. This will just teach him to fear you rather than understand what you’re so angry about. Puppies need time to learn what to do and what not to do which means you have to have patience. They’re not going to understand after a week or two that they can’t potty in the house. House breaking takes time, practice and patience. Start a potty break routine with your puppy so they will learn the importance of going outside. They are also not going to know that your shoes are not play toys.
Rather than punish your puppy for something he did, try teaching him things not to do. For example, if you see him grab the shoe and run off, take it from him and give him the appropriate toy. Punishment after an event has passed is pointless. Your puppy is not going to remember what he did and why you’re so angry. It will only create a bad relationship between you two.
Raising a puppy is a full time job for the first few months and it takes the utmost dedication. No one, and we mean no one, gets a puppy that is absolutely perfect as soon as they arrive home. Great dogs don’t happen; they are made by loving, caring and motivated owners. You need to be that owner for your dog so that when someone asks you how your dog became so great, you can say, “He’s just a great dog with a great owner”.