RAISING A PUPPY…TRAINING YOUR ADULT DOG FROM DAY ONE

Training a puppy is a LOT of work!   Everything from crate training, the walk, potty training and teaching them not to chew the furniture is a full time job.

First off, what I often tell clients is that they’re not just raising their puppy, but they are actually training their future adult dog.  People who get a puppy are so fortunate in the sense that they have the opportunity to shape and mould the behaviours they want in their dog from the very start.  So many future issues such as separation anxiety and destruction of belongings can be prevented if the puppy is shown how to properly and respectfully live in a home early on.

From birth, mom is definitely the pack leader.  She works hard to constantly care for her new litter by feeding and grooming them as well as maintaining pack structure by correcting nonsense behaviour and protecting the puppies from harm.  Within the little group, there is constant back and forth between the fur balls to establish who comes next under mom.  The puppy who bites the hardest and makes it to the food first is the strongest and therefore earns their way to the top.  Eight weeks later, all of Mom’s hard work is thrown by the wayside as the puppies, one by one, are adopted out to their new families and puppy pack structure seemingly no longer matters…Or does it?

As a matter of fact, something that is often overlooked by new puppy owners is that they are brought into their new human home and are all of a sudden surrounded by a new “pack” with whom they have yet to establish a rank and this can be very confusing for them.  They naturally will bite and nip, all the while testing who will let them get away with what.  Eventually, if a dog is not shown who is the boss in a language they understand, they figure that no one has control of the home and take it upon themselves to act in ways they think is appropriate to get the job done, whatever that job may be.  This is where bad behaviours start, and continue to escalate if not intercepted.  By instilling a great sense of leadership and structure right off the bat, you help your new puppy to fall into place more easily so that they are not left guessing where their position is in your family.   This will eliminate a lot of nonsense behaviours before they even start!

Training your puppy early in basic obedience (sit, down and come) and leadership (place, thresholds and crate) is a wonderfully proactive approach to raising your future adult dog.

What you are doing by training these early is teaching your dog how to be calm and respectful in all situations right now, and gives them a great foundation to pull from later in life if faced with a stressful situation.

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