With the excitement of the New Year upon us, a lot of our gifts from the holidays tend to get set on the back burner while settling back into the groove of our regular routines. One gift that should not be lost in the shuffle is your new puppy.
A lot of people give or receive puppies from shelters and rescues during the holiday season, and while they are great additions to your life, it is easy to mistakenly put their needs far too low on your priority list. Bringing a puppy into your life is a big commitment that should be taken seriously. Remember that you’re giving a puppy a forever home, which is a gift that some puppies never experience.
Here a few tips and tricks to keep in mind during the first stages of life with your new puppy to keep them (and you) happy and healthy during 2016.
1. Be patient
Puppies are just like young children in the sense that you will be teaching them everything, such as the do’s and dont’s of the household. It’s important to begin training at a young age, and patience with your pup is a huge key to long-term success.
2. Reinforce behavior
Make sure you are encouraging good behavior and discouraging bad behavior. There are many different methods to training, but make sure you are choosing the one that fits best for your pup. Chewing on your fingers may be cute now, but when they get older and bigger, it won’t be as cute. Be careful and conscious of what behaviors you are encouraging.
3. Sign up for puppy classes
Many shelters and rescues offer training classes and programs to help you and your new puppy transition well from puppyhood to adulthood. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help with training, especially if you can’t get your puppy to break the habit of a behaviors like jumping or disobedience while on a leash. Check with local shelters and rescues in your area to learn about what types of classes and programs they offer that fit your needs.
4. Be dominant
It’s important for your puppy to know who is in charge in all situations. When you’re leash training, make sure you’re leading your puppy and not the other way around. Establishing dominance in the early stages of puppyhood is vital to maintaining respect and obedience throughout your lives together.
5. Have fun
Keep in mind that nothing is going to be perfect at the start. Your puppy is learning day by day, so complete obedience may take a little time. Remember that bringing a puppy into your life is a big commitment, but be sure to have fun and enjoy your time together. After all, that’s the most important part of the process!