A lot of pet owners hastily pounce on purchasing puppies because they are cute and lovable. Once an owner arrives home with their new pup, they are often at a loss for how to care for it. This is especially true for first-time pet owners.
While providing food and affection is a great start, you should also assume the role of a trainer. This way, your pup will be able to adapt to his environment and thrive in his new setting. Training your puppy will also encourage mental stimulation, allowing your pets to grow healthy and happy. Check out these four crucial things you should teach your puppy.
1) How to Socialize with Other Dogs, Animals, & People
Socializing your dog means exposing him to different:
By doing so, you will teach him that the world is a safe place that he can feel free to explore. If you don’t socialize him, you risk him becoming fearful and reluctant to accompany you on your adventures. Over time, isolating your puppy from the world can even become the reason why you will start to notice aggressive puppy warning signs.
When exposing your puppy to dogs, animals, people, sounds, and surfaces, start with controlled environments like a puppy class or small social gathering. You can even take your pup to a pet-friendly store during non-busy hours.
Avoid immediately exposing your puppy to loud and new environments as this will only result in stress and anxiety. Abruptly doing all of these can even become the reason why your puppy will be scared to socialize with other people, animals, and new environments in the long run. If, at any point, your dog seems nervous, remove him from the situation and allow him to watch from a distance.
Some dogs are naturally more social than others. For example, Dogtime reports that breeds like Goldendoodles, Maltipoos, and Basset Hounds get along great with other dogs. If your pup isn’t a typically friendly breed, recognize that it might take some time for him to warm up to individual animals, people, and environments. If your dog is naturally shy, start slow, and gradually progress moving forward.
2) How to Be Apart from You
As much as you already love your new pup, you can’t spend every second of every day with him. You likely have other obligations that keep you away from home for at least a few hours at a time. Often, you have to work for at least eight hours every day to work and then spend more time outdoors to run errands. The more hectic your lifestyle is, the more time you will have to leave your puppy alone at home.
If you don’t teach your pup how to be apart from you, he may develop separation or isolation anxiety behaviors. When left untreated, this can make your puppy aggressive.
Introduce him to the idea of “aloneness” gradually. Play with your dog or take him outside to tire him out before you begin this kind of training. Then, place him in his pen or crate with something to chew. Sit nearby and focus on a task like reading or watching TV.
Aside from these, you can also leave some toys with your pets to keep them entertained while you’re away. Toys are very beneficial for your dog’s growth and development as these can stimulate their brains and wear them out.
Over several weeks, repeat this process and slowly increase your distance from him and the amount of time you leave him alone. Eventually, he will be able to spend time on his own without feeling anxious.
3) How to Walk on a Leash
Training a puppy to walk on a leash may seem like more work than it’s worth. Puppies are often hyperactive and eager to explore the world, so it can be challenging to make them walk in a disciplined manner. If this is your first time to get a puppy, expect that your puppy will be full of energy and would want to play as often as possible. You might even see yourself gasping for air whenever you take your puppy out for a walk!
When teaching your dog to walk on a leash, you should focus on having him:
- Not pull
- Stay on one side of you (the left side is traditional)
- Avoid weaving in between your legs
While it will take some time, you should be able to train your dog to walk on a leash. Keep initial walking sessions short, take treats with you as rewards, and use a short leash. If needed, you can invest in a pinch or prong collar to correct disobedient pulling.
4) How to Tolerate Car Rides
As a final tip, you should teach your new dog how to tolerate car rides. This way, you can easily take him with you to the vet and on your adventures.
If your pup got carsick the first time in a car, he likely has negative associations with it. To fix this, sit with him in a parked vehicle without driving. This way, he can get comfortable, and you can reduce the likelihood of car sickness in the future.
From there, take him on short car rides. Stay with your pup in the back while someone else drives. If your puppy gets anxious during car rides, consider bringing something familiar to them. This can be their favorite toy or blanket. These items will make your puppy easily adjust to car rides and remain comfortable while being inside the car.
After a few times of doing this, your puppy should be able to be on his own in the back seat.
Take advantage of the first few weeks you’re with your new dog to teach him these four essential skills!
Want to read more about dogs? Check out our article about the 5 most incredible dog breeds, how to keep your dog safe from venomous snakes, or our short guide on how to provide medical help to your pets.