Doctor Dog's Blog


Basics for training a puppy

When you first bring your puppy home (and preferably before, way before) you should have a plan on how to train your new family member

Socialization is an active process, not passive. Each thing that a puppy is exposed to serves as one more learning opportunity, whether it be pleasurable, or fear-inducing. These exposures should be enjoyable experiences.  Bring treats and toys to make the experiences more fun.
Not every location, person, animal, etc. is appropriate for the puppy to experience.  Owners must shield their puppies from potentially negative experiences (e.g. not the fireworks show).  Owners also must be taught to watch the puppy for signs of anxiety (e.g. lip licking, tail tucked, ears back, shaking, etc.).  Puppies can get overwhelmed by too many people, too much novelty.  If the puppy appears anxious, she should be removed from the situation and reintroduced slowly.
Vaccine status
New owners should be concerned about taking puppies who are not fully vaccinated to public places, especially where there may be other dogs.  You should be aware of the prevalence of diseases like parvo, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, etc. in your community.  If you are not sure, contact your veterinarian to get the latest information.  Owners should avoid dog parks, but walking on the street usually is not a concern.  Studies have shown that dogs that have attended a puppy socialization class are significantly less likely to be relinquished. Behavior problems lead to more relinquishment than do the diseases we routinely vaccinate against.  Puppies should NOT WAIT until they are 4-6 months old to begin classes.
Training a puppy – basics
Set rules
Owners must decide how they will want her to behave when she is a full-grown dog.  The rules must be clear in the minds of everyone in the house and must be taught to the puppy.
Be consistent
Rules need to be enforced every time by every member of the household in the same manner.
Start early
Puppies are constantly learning new behaviors.

This is a fun time for you and your new friend and if you are unsure or not experienced at training a puppy look for a trainer that will let you ask a few questions before you decide on a class and ask your veterinarian or friends and family for recommendations.

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