A new puppy is a big commitment - not just because they're a new member of the family, but because they're a puppy! Just like human babies, furry babies have a lot to learn, and they'll need your help to do it. To help your pup grow into the best dog they can be, here are some tips for instilling pawsitive behavior into them at a young age!
Pick One "Bad" Word
Positive reinforcement is always best, but you do need a least one word in your arsenal that tells your dog what they're doing is wrong - especially because you'll need them to take it seriously in a potentially dangerous situation. However, too much yelling will confuse them or even worse, frighten them. Instead of yelling, pick one word, like "No," "Stop," or "Bad," and use it firmly and directly when they are doing something wrong. "No" works well, and as long as you repeat it, they'll begin to understand what it means and listen to you promptly when you say it.
Give Them Toys
This is very important - puppies need toys! We all get a bit annoyed at all the nibbling and gnawing puppies can do, especially when our hands are the victims. A good way to get them out of this habit is to provide them with plenty of stimulating toys to chew on. Whenever they begin to bite or nibble something or someone they shouldn't, use your chosen "bad" word and give them a toy to chew on instead. They will then associate the toy with chewing and eventually, will focus on chewing the toys instead of your hands.
Help Them Socialize
Dogs start forming their socialization habits at a young age, which means that your puppy should have plenty of friends when they're younger! Introducing them to other dogs will help them form positive socialization habits instead of getting too independent at a young age. If a dog doesn't meet other dogs when they're young, they might fear other dogs, bark at them, or even display aggression. Getting together with friend's dogs or taking them to a dog park (once they're old enough to be fixed and get their shots) is a great way to start.
Form Good Potty Habits
One of the most frustrating (yet rewarding) parts of getting a puppy is the potty training that will need to occur. Form good habits from the beginning - don't make your puppy hold it too long and be sure to take them outside when they wine. If you're incorporating a Fresh Patch into your home, it's a good idea to do it from a young age, so that they know what it is and can get comfortable with using it. When they're young, make sure you take them outside to potty in the same spot each time and keep the Fresh Patch in the same spot. This consistency will help them remember the right places to go!
And, no matter what, always reward your puppy when they do something good. Puppies are fast learners who respond especially well to praise, because let's be honest, dogs love to be pet and love treats! No matter the accomplishment, whether it's going potty outside or simply remembering to calm down when guests arrive, vocally praise your dog and reward them with a snack.
We hope these tips help you and your pup navigate their new world together!