Focusing on good habits is key to a positive puppyhood! Bringing a new puppy home is an adventure. If you want to make that adventure as easy as possible, use these 8 top tips to help you and your family integrate your new fluffy family member!
Carry Treats Everywhere
Food is a training method that’s based on the most recent scientific research and theories and widely used in zoos with animals from platypuses to tigers! Use lots of praise and rewards to reinforce good behaviors. Just focus on the positives.
Sleep is Paramount
The single most common cause of misbehavior is a lack of sleep. An overtired puppy will appear to rebel. Puppies need between 16 and 20 hours of sleep per day.
A physical space that is purely for your puppy is important—whether this is a crate, a den, or just a comfy bed and blanket that’s left on the floor for them to retreat to. Your puppy needs down time too, so make sure your puppy isn’t disturbed by anyone when they’re on their bed.
Feed Good Quality Food
Your puppy is growing at an enormous rate. Large breed puppies (such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds) will be gaining roughly 2lb’s a week. Good quality usually means high protein puppy food (puppy food is more calorie dense and should be fed until around 8 or 9 months). Always read the ingredients and try and focus on ones where you actually can pronounce the ingredients.
Observation & Management
Pay close attention to your pup like you would a toddler. This is key when dealing with a puppy, as you learn your pups tell for when they want to go to the bathroom, as well as making sure they don’t chew on the table leg and develop bad habits that will take longer to fix than they will prevent. You can use a variety of things to assist, such as baby gates, play pens and crates.
Monitor Kids Around Puppies
It’s really advisable that you don’t leave your puppy alone with kids under the age of 5 or so (obviously it depends on your child), because young children are incredibly exciting for puppies (and vice versa), and they live for fun (what a wonderful way to be) at this age. It can result in some less than optimal interactions, so always monitor.
Puppies bite, it’s how they explore the world and figure out what is alive vs what’s not, and to do that they need sharp teeth, that’s why they hurt so much. Teeth like that are built to get a reaction. So, when puppy mouths try redirecting to the most interesting toy in the world! Make sure you make it really fun! Then they’re going to want to play with the super fun toy and chew on that as opposed to you. Remember! Puppies need 4 hours of chewing a day, so let’s make sure it’s not your sneakers or your skin.
Puppy Size Steps
Progress is going to be slow, so you may need to manage your expectations. Things may appear slow, but they’re always progressing. Sometimes, a diary can really help you to focus on the good.
“Ali Smith is the founder and primary trainer of Rebarkable, she’s recently moved from just outside of London, UK to Maryland, and champions force-free training methods. Ali is passionate about helping her clients get the best from their puppies and helping them avoid future issues by not just training them, but also helping puppy parents understand their dog so they’re more capable of being a confident and adaptable family member.”