By Jason Givens
The first few weeks you spend with your new puppy can be the hardest. He’s been taken away from his siblings and familiar surroundings and is now surrounded by new people, new smells, and a new routine. Dogs, especially puppies, have a need for routine. They like knowing what’s coming next. It’s your job to set up a consistent and predictable schedule to get your pup in his comfort zone. Then you can start to teach him the rules of his new home.
Before you start teaching the rules, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Puppies don’t know English. They’ll learn that single words indicate a desired action but they don’t really know what the words mean.
- Puppies like to make noise when they want something. They don’t really have any other way of getting your attention.
- Puppies like to chew on things. This is just part of their instinct and they don’t mean any harm.
- Puppies do not understand they have to potty outside. They’re not being bad if they go inside the house––they just don’t know any better.
Knowing these rules in advance should help you stay patient with your pup. It should also have you better prepared to deal with these situations when they arise.
Keep It Simple and Consistent
When initially bonding with your puppy, one main thing to remember is to keep things simple and to be consistent. If you’re going to teach a command, make it a single word (preferably one syllable), and say it the same way all the time. For example, if you want your pup to come to you, a short word like “here” is perfect. Say “here” every time. Don’t say “over here” or “come here” or “here boy”. Just say “here”. Say the same word every time and make sure the rest of the family does too. Your pup will learn faster and it will be more firmly reinforced if your word choice is consistent.
Be the Pack Leader
To close, I’ll just remind you that dogs are pack animals and your pup will be looking for a leader in his pack. If he learns you are the leader, he will learn to follow. He’ll follow a lot more readily if you make it fun for him and don’t work him too hard or too long. If you keep it fun, keep it simple and stay consistent, your pup will be following your lead reliably in no time.
To learn more about Jason Givens and his training methods, visit www.lighthouselkennels.com.