When you first get your puppy home, excitement is high and discipline seems to go out the window. As a dog owner for decades, I have found that there are some tried-and-true tricks to keeping the peace with your pooch – and it all boils down to staying positive. But, isn’t that always the case in life?
Never use your dog’s name in a negative way. Their name should be a source of positivity. Never use your dog’s name to discipline them, shame them, force them into their kennel, trim their nails or brush their teeth. Reserve using their name only for positive, playful and pleasing times, so that they equate it with a positive tone and positive outcomes.
Be consistent with their toys. While it may be awfully cute the first time your new best friend grabs your shoe, it’s gonna get old really fast when he’s torn apart your Louboutins. And, maybe this goes without saying, but don’t provide toys that look like shoes either! Instead, provide squeak toys, balls, kongs and bully sticks that promote play, not destruction. And don’t choose toys that are too hard for your little friend. We don’t want broken teeth!
Pet your pup. This seems like a no-brainer, but touch is super important, when you’re first establishing a bond with your pet. Pet and love on your pet every day, so that they learn it’s a loving and rewarding experience. Not only will it make you both feel better, but it will also help establish trust.
Prep your pet for visitors. Start by putting your dog’s leash on, so they both feel safe, and know that you’re in control. It will also help your visitors to feel more comfortable. Keep treats near the door for new visitors to give your dog, so that the pup will equate visitors with pleasurable experiences.
Jump for your love? Not so fast. Only reward your dog with attention when all four paws are on the ground. With visitors – when there is both excitement and anxiety – make the pup lay down, before visitors are allowed to pet him.
Keep the peace for your pup. When your puppy is getting used to his new home, be sure to keep it a peaceful place. If your home is near a fireworks celebration for instance, consider getting away for the night. If Halloween is around the corner, consider going to a friend’s house, who perhaps doesn’t live in a trick-or-treat-heavy neighborhood. Just like people, these early negative experiences can shape their fear factor. We want to keep those experiences to a minimum.
Training is tiring for this sweet girl.
Above all, keep it positive. Remember that positive reinforcement always wins when it comes to training man’s best friend, much like it does with us as humans!