Puppy Training Mistakes

Common mistakes to avoid when training your puppy

“Common mistakes  – how NOT to train your puppy”

Bringing home your new puppy is exciting for sure. However unless you know some important factors to puppy training photoconsider as a new puppy owner owning a puppy can quickly become stressful and less fun than you expected.

So here are some mistakes you should avoid

Bringing your puppy home too soon

Your puppy is receiving precious nurturing and training from his or her mother; learning social skills from litter mates which include bite inhibition, learning appropriate puppy play and how to use teeth appropriately. “mom” is always keeping puppies in check. Unfortunately breeders, shelters and rescue groups let puppies go to their new home way too quickly i.e. before 12 weeks, which results in the puppy experiencing severe stress, separation anxiety and appropriate puppy biting. It is advisable to not separate young puppies from their mom and litter mates prior to 12 weeks to help avoid potential problems as they grow.

Not starting basic training immediately:

A young 10 week old puppy’s brain is open and soaking in new information.  Take advantage of this, teaching your puppy basic manners to sit, stay, lay down, come when called during this age will solidify it well into young adolescence so you get on the right track to a well behaved adult dog.

Failing to crate train:

Dogs love to have a space of their own, that they can snuggle, sleep and feel safe. Crating your puppy helps satisfy their innate desire as well as helps them to learn to settle and relax during times when they need to. A crate should be large enough that your puppy can feel comfortable, eating his meals, chew bones as well as able to stretch out and stand up. The use of the crate is excellent tool to contain your puppy during times when you cannot watch him, and also using it as your puppy’s feeding sleeping place will continue to reinforce it being a great place to be. Crating a puppy should be carried out for small periods at a time, always ensuring your puppy continues to enjoy his new space.

Too much free time:

Yes, ALL puppies are inquisitive. They just get into everything. Their new living environment is enriching with new things and to a puppy everything is a chew toy or a play thing. If your puppy is allows to run free for uncontrolled amounts of time, you will being to inadvertently teach your puppy that the sofa is ok to chew, the shoes are ok to eat, the wires are great play things.  Additionally too much free time encourages your puppy to go potty on the floor.  So limit your pups free time, if your puppy is out of the crate, he must be supervised at all times and when its time for him to take a nap, his crate should be used for nap time.  The crate is an excellent tool to help facilitate housebreaking and once your puppy is more trust worthy (as he grows) he can then be afforded more free time in the home.

Free Feeding:

It is not advisable to leave food out all day. If you allow your puppy to free feed it will make it difficult for you to know when your puppy has eaten, and when he needs to go potty.   Puppies that are free fed can end up putting on large amounts of weight and they reduce the value of their food. Increasing the value of food is beneficial as it can be used for training purposes.

Exaggerating greetings and departures:

Greeting your puppy is exciting for owners, but what we have to also understand that greeting your puppy in an over excited manner encourages your puppy to be excited greeting people, as he grows he continues to believe that we expect him to be excited when he greets us. When your puppy gets older this results in an over excited greeter jumping on guests and then we spend most of the dogs adult life trying to stop him being excited when he greets people. So when you greet your puppy wait until he is calm and not excited, when he is calm interact with him, when  you are leaving do not make a fuss, calmly crate and walk away. Your puppy will learn that calm behavior gets him greeting rewards.

Scolding your puppy:

So you come home and find your puppy has gone “potty” on the floor. you have no idea when it happened, and your puppy comes to greet you tail wagging.  Your immediate response is “BAD DOG” and you start yelling at him,  your puppy will not make any connection to why you are yelling other than the fact that you came home, he came to greet you and you immediately started yelling, your puppy will learn that when you walk in the door “something” bad happens.  If your puppy has gone potty on the floor, the its your fault, he should not have been left unattended. If he has ripped up shoes and sofa’s, again, he should not have been left unattended. So lets communicate with our puppy in a way they understand with kindness so they can trust us to provide for them what they need.

Failing to socialize your puppy:

The first 13 weeks of your puppy’s social life is the most cruciate time period in his or her life. When you take your puppy home. There is NO excuse not to socialize. Your puppy should be socialized with people other puppies, adult dogs, children, new sights and sounds, men and women in uniform. If your puppy does not receive this important socialization your puppy will develop anti social behavior as he grows this anti social behavior manifests its self through aggression, or fear.   Find other friendly dogs in your area that your puppy can physically play with. Sit outside the local hardware store, letting strangers give him  or her treats a they walk past.  Please avoid dog parks as dog parks are often a haven for bad scary behavior.

Happy puppy ownership.

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