Have you recently added a puppy to your family, or are you visiting shelters trying to find your perfect puppy? Spring is just around the corner and is a wonderful time to raise a puppy. The weather is getting warmer and there will be plenty of opportunities to take your puppy out to socialize and learn the ways of the world. Puppies are exciting and fun, but they are also a lot of work. In the next few weeks, your puppy will develop his personality and temperament, and there are things that you can do to help your new family member grow into happy well-balanced dog!
First things first, socialize your puppy to help him gain confidence and learn good behavior. You are probably looking at your puppy running around the house, thinking to yourself, “Gain confidence? My puppy is full of confidence!” You are probably right. Your puppy is quite confident and comfortable at home, but how will he do in strange and unfamiliar situations? There is only one way to find out: go many places and do many things to help your Jack learn how to be a confident and polite puppy!
Don’t be afraid to show him off! He is very cute, and he will only be a puppy once. Let different people handle him and give him treats. Take Jack to at least 3 new places every week, and walk him on different surfaces-grass, gravel, sand, and pavement. I am sure you have seen a dog put on the brakes at the vet or at a pet store when asked to walk across a shiny floor. You can avoid this by showing your pup as many different surfaces a possible. Look for all sorts of new things to introduce Jack to (make it a game!). Places like an empty playground can become a wonderful obstacle course with many surfaces. Having a puppy gives you a wonderful reason to have fun.
Do you know who loves puppies? Kids! Walk him near playgrounds. Many puppies naturally love children, but to some pups children can be very strange and scary. Let Jack have positive interactions with children to help him learn there is nothing to fear. Give Jack a few treats and lots of praise when kids are petting him. Remember that when walking near children, keep your distance at first and slowly work up to being petted by multiple children.
If your puppy appears frightened while you are out exploring, don’t coddle. Let him take a good long look at whatever is frightening. Use treats and lots of motivation “Atta Boy” to help him get closer to a scary leaf or that suspicious looking grocery bag. Approach the place or thing repeatedly until your puppy is no longer frightened. This will teach your pup how to deal with scary situations which is an essential skill that will be handy throughout Jack’s life as he matures and encounters new and exciting things.
Your puppy will grow and mature in leaps and bounds over the next few months. There will be challenging times as your pup matures, but those are far outweighed by the good. Stay consistent and positive, and above all remember to HAVE FUN!
Have questions about training your puppy? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll pick one question to answer next month!
Katie’s Dog Training offers private, in-home training sessions so that you can experience the loyalty and companionship that a well balanced dog offers. Even though she has graduated numerous training schools, the dogs themselves tend to be her most beneficial teachers. She and her husband share their home with three wonderful dogs, Luka, Jazzy and Honey as well as a crazy cat named D’Angelo.