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Now that the dust has settled, and the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to make those returns on gifts we really didn’t need or want. However, that should not be the option for those of us who received a puppy as a holiday present. All too often, puppies are purchased from pet stores and breeders during the holiday season because they “seemed like a cute gift”. However, when mid-January rolls around, the cuteness is often overtaken by the realities of owning a puppy. What is a new puppy owner to do when their new family member starts mouthing their pant legs, chasing their feet, barking, soiling the house, and not listening to a word they say? The answer is…“Train your puppy”, not give them up to a shelter.
Here are three simple tips to follow:
Quick Housebreaking – I always encourage new puppy owners to get their dog housebroken as quickly as possible. There are not too many other things that frustrate dog owners more than a dog that soils in the house. That’s why I have a specific housebreaking protocol that is clear and concise for new dog owners to follow. It all starts with setting you and your puppy on a predictable schedule to go outside to the bathroom. Start at small intervals like every two hours and gradually increase from there. If you get the housebreaking issues behind you, then you can move on and begin enjoying your puppy without the worry and hassle of frequent accidents.
Clear Rules and Structure – Dog’s thrive on structure and routine. By setting clear rules, boundaries, and structure, we are able to establish great habits with our dog that will last a lifetime. Consider having your puppy sit before entering and exiting the doorway of the home, maybe you don’t want your new puppy jumping on furniture or beds, and make sure not to reinforce begging at the table during meal times. These are just a few items to consider.
Begin Training NOW – There is no reason why you should put off training your dog on the basics. You can begin teaching your puppy obedience commands, how to come when called, and how to walk nicely on a leash. With a safe, fair, and effective training system, it is not unrealistic for you to have a well-trained dog before they reach six months old.
The sooner you begin implementing these three simple tips, the sooner you will be able to fully enjoy your new family member.
Steve Reid is a certified dog trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training in Somers, NY. For more information about S. R. Dog Training, send an e-mail to [email protected], call 914-774-7654 or visit srdogtraining.com.