Congratulations. You have welcomed a new puppy into your home. You are excited and likely rushed out to purchase a dog bed, feeding dishes, treats, and toys. Did you remember to pick up a book or video on dog training? Why not? Many new pet owners are so concerned with finding the right comfort amenities; they focus little time on thinking about how they will teach their pup. No matter how old the puppy is when he or she becomes part of your extended family, the time to start training is now. Start teaching your dog to be an obedient and loving companion right from the start. Be A Leader Puppies, born part of a litter, need a strong pack leader. That is you! Be consistent and firm in all your commands. Take the lead. Always have your puppy follow you, not walk ahead when taking him/her for a walk. When you lead, you show your dog that you are the leader of the pack. If you let your dog lead, the puppy will feel that they are in charge. Be the first of “the pack” to go in and out of the door or when entering a room. Remember, you are the leader, not the other way around. By firmly taking charge, you provided you dog with a feeling of security and establish the “ground rules” for being part of your household. Dogs sense confidence and will take control of any situation where they feel the leader is timid or weak. Excessive barking, leash pulling, chewing, resistance to toilet training or other destructive behaviors are evidence of a dog that lacks a leader. For your puppy to become a sociable, obedient and loyal dog, he/she needs to bond with you as a strong leader, not a complacent caregiver. All commands and rewards should remain consistent throughout your puppy’s early training and adulthood. Choose simple commands beginning with “No” for unwanted behavior, “Come” when you want him to follow you, “Down” when he tries to jump up on you or other people, and “Stay” when you want the puppy to remain in place. Discover your dog’s favorite treat and reserve that treat for training purposes only. Establishing Boundaries When you are ready to introduce your dog to your yard, put on his/her collar. When you let him out the door, connect him to the lead. If he starts heading out of the yard, you need to verbally correct him with a “NO” command. If continues to stray correct him with the lead. When he stops on your “NO” command praise and lovingly reward him with a treat. Keep Training Sessions Short The world is an intriguing place full of new sights and smells. A young, energetic and excited puppy has a short attention span, so keep training session short. Rather than have one long session, break up training efforts into several short session each day. Barking If you are concerned about correctly training your puppy to be an efficient and effective guard dog, begin his/her training early by allowing your dog to bark a couple of times when a stranger arrives at your door. Praise him/her for sounding an alarm. Then give the command “stop barking” while you hold out a training treat in front of him. Your dog cannot smell and sniff the treat and bark at the same time so will stop barking immediately. After your dog has quieted down for a few minutes, reward him with the treat.
Moving to a new house means big changes for everyone involved, but for a dog, it can be an especially confusing time. While you can talk to a child ahead of time to explain to them what to expect we, unfortunately, do not have the same ability to communicate with our beloved pets about the big changes ahead. The good news is, there are a few things you can do to make the move a smoother process for both you and your dog. Ahead of time - if it's close enough, visit the new house with your dog prior to moving to familiarize them with the new environment and neighborhood. Also, pack your dog's belongings (toys, bowls, bed, food) together so you can be prepared to pull it out first when you arrive at the new house. During the move - consider having your dog stay with a friend or doggy daycare on moving day. This will save your dog from the stress of their surroundings changing during the move. You also won't need to worry about where your dog is while doors are being left open or if they are underfoot during the moving process. If moving over a distance - take frequent breaks to let your dog out to walk around and avoid feeding him right before the journey in case they are prone to car sickness. Talk to your dog in a calm voice throughout the moving process to comfort them, they can pick up on our emotions so trying to remain calm yourself will cue to your animal that everything is okay. Stay safe - before letting your dog loose into your new yard you will want to ensure that it is free of potentially poisonous plants they may try to eat and check for any holes in fences they may try to squeeze through. You will also want to update your dog's tag and/or microchip with your new address and phone number. Maintain structure - keep old bedding and toys to give your dog some familiarity in their new environment. If you are looking forward to replacing their bed, waiting until your dog is settled into the new house is ideal. Stick to regular routines that were in place before the move where possible. This includes things like walks, feedings, and times you are away from the house. Have fun - when you arrive, allow your dog to explore the new house and yard. Take them for a walk around the new neighborhood, play their favorite game with them and get them tired out so they will be more relaxed when it's time to settle in for the night at home. Bonding time - spend quality time with your dog to reassure them that moving to the new home is a positive experience. Try to spend the first few days after the move at home with your dog to spend time with them and monitor how they are adjusting. Moving can be an exciting process for both you and your dog with a little bit of preparation. Setting up ahead of time before your dog's arrival to the new home and spending quality time together not only makes for a smoother move in experience but also gives you the opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your dog!