Teaching a little pup good manners and habits early on isn’t easy, but it’s definitely something that must be done if you want a happy, well-behaved dog in the long-term. If you stick with a training regimen – even a basic one – in the beginning, your adult dog will be so much happier and well-adjusted as he ages. Keep that in mind when implementing some of these (not-always-easy) -œmust-dos- for puppy-raising!
Create a time out space and/or a confinement area, which also allows for alone time. This can be the same space, or somewhere different if you have the room. Wherever you chose, it should be free from distractions and not too big because the puppy needs to have tons of fun exploring. For a time-out space, there needs to be a quick connection made between what the pup did wrong, and the fact that they’re being isolated from their “pack.” I’ve known people to use puppy-proofed bathrooms, for example the hallway is a good idea.
The confinement area isn’t necessarily punishment, but it should also be free from any items that would be dangerous to dogs. This can be an area where you put your pup when you leave the house before she has the bladder control to stay in the crate, or somewhere she can go when you don’t have the time to devote all your attention to her. It helps if she can still see you, so the transition from being totally alone is a bit easier. Once your pup gets over separation anxiety, this space will be a life-saver, and you don’t have to worry about them being in this area.
Make sure to socialize from the on-set. When I first got our puppies, they were too young to be running around out and about on the ground. You don’t want to risk the diseases, especially Parvo, that can be caught if your dog isn’t old enough for the proper vaccinations. Nevertheless, our trainer pointed out that they were NOT too young to be socialized. So we got a doggy tote bag and began taking daily outings to coffee shops, walks around the block, etc. Since we live downtown in a big city, there weren’t any shortages of passers-by wanting to meet, pet and fawn over our puppies. Another perfect idea is your local dog park.
Of course at this early age you want to be careful not to overwhelm your pups, and make sure each interaction is positive. By the time my pups were 9 weeks – and old enough to walk around on their own – they’d already met kids, babies in strollers, families, and even people in wheelchairs.
If socializing your dog isn’t as easy as walking out the door, then look up doggy meet up groups in your area. Talk with local shelters that often offer training classes, and – if nothing else – get your friends to stop by and play with the puppy. After all, who can say no to a few minutes with a precious pup?
There is no “easy” way to raise a puppy, but by sticking to some fundamentals you will at least be laying a good foundation of obedience and trust between you and your pup. If you get frustrated, don’t give up – and think of the pay off in the long run!