Raising a puppy can be a very rewarding experience but it can also be a lot of hard work. This is something that a lot of people don’t take into consideration when getting a new dog. Puppies much like human infants, need almost constant care and attention especially in the earlier stages. Puppies love to use their mouths to explore objects around them. Smelling and tasting are the primary ways a puppy will learn about new things. If that ‘new thing’ is an electric cable or something small that could lodge in its throat your puppy could be in trouble. It’s very easy for a puppy to get into trouble if it is not constantly supervised.
Another problem that can occur when raising and training a puppy is what could be termed as the ‘cuteness factor’. Puppies by their very nature can be adorable. This seems all well and good on the surface but can cause problems when it comes to teaching your new puppy the dos and don’ts. If your puppy has done something that you consider could form into a bad habit and should be discouraged, it can be very difficult reprimanding the puppy even if that may only involve raising your voice. Many people find it difficult when two big round eyes are looking up at you from a sad puppy face. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to forgive the puppy without taking it to task. The only problem here is, that if you do this too many times, your puppy will be forming bad habits at a very young age. These will become much worse and harder to handle when your dog reaches maturity. They are best nipped in the bud early, no matter how difficult it is.
It is essential that your puppy has room to roam. This does not mean that they have a free run of your home. You should allocate an area that the puppy will have plenty of space to stretch its legs and investigate things whilst still under your supervision. Also try and keep the puppy in areas where other members of the family spend a lot of time. This will help with the bonding process and also keep familiar family smells around your puppy all the time. Doorways and of course the tops of stair ways, should be closed off using baby gates or if you do not have any try a piece of wood made to fit or any other improvised method. The idea is to contain the puppy within a particular area, reducing its chances of straying into trouble. Keep some of the puppies’ favorite toys in the same area, as well as a bowl of water for refreshment. In addition, an opened out newspaper on the floor will provide somewhere for the puppy to relieve itself in an emergency without ruining your carpet.
Dogs are naturally hierarchical pack animals. What this means is that their importance within the pack is ordered by a set hierarchy. The dominant member is at the top of the pack and subsequent submissive members below. The first thing that you can teach your puppy, is that your are the ‘top dog’ or primary dominant member. If you do not assert this dominance early on, the puppy may try to adopt this role through instinctive behavior. This is obviously undesirable if your dog tries to rule your home.
The easiest way to assert your dominance is not through being aggressive or overtly loud but through being consistently firm with bad behavior and giving praise (and the odd treat) for good behavior. If your dog is particularly badly behaved then a firm verbal reprimand should do the trick, seldom should physical violence be used. When your puppy exhibits good behavior such as sitting when asked or ceasing to bark when asked, then a lot of praise will reinforce this behavior.
Making yourself the dominant member will mean that your puppy will look to you for approval and guidance, making rearing your puppy that much easier. Your puppy will soon be looking up to you as ‘top dog’.
Rearing a puppy can be a great experience. There will be no better satisfaction than when your dog grows to maturity as a well rounded member of the family whom you can feel proud of when people comment on what a lovely dog you have.
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