Everyone has that neighbor that has the “perfect” dog. They walk without pulling and doesn’t run away when the garage door opens.
That’s the dog that inspires others to have certain breeds but when they do, many times they end up regretting it. Genetics of the dog, how much the owner researched about having a dog and the time they invest training that puppy during the first two years, play a big role on how the dog will be as an adult. Many smart dogs end up in shelters because their owners don’t understand them. On the other hand, I’ve trained many dogs that may seem a bit off but have awesome owners that believe in them and take them to the next level and end up being the dog everyone wants.
Tips on how to raise a well balanced puppy
- Routine. The more consistent you are with his routine, the more confident your puppy will be. Set a daily schedule for feeding, play, outdoor walks, naps and sleep.
- Clear rules. From the first day he comes into your house, rules should be clear. Will he be allowed as an adult to eat from the table, sleep on your bed, jump on you or others to greet? It’s very tempting to encourage unwanted behaviour to puppies but you will need to retrain your dog as an adult and retraining takes time and it may be frustrating. So, it’s just better to stick to the rules.
- Teach him manners (The earlier the better). Good manners are taught at home. Teach your puppy to sit when you are going to greet him or when you are going to put his leash. The first few weeks may seem impossible to achieve but, be consistent.
- Play. Dogs need to play. It’s actually their natural way of learning. One of my favorite games with puppies is tug of war. During tug you have the opportunity to teach him sit before taking the toy and leave it when you are ready to stop the game.
- Teach him new commands every week. Sit, down, stay, walk, paw, off, leave it, take it, fetch, come, watch me… so many things you can teach your puppy. Focus on a new command every week.
- Socialize him. Every experience as a puppy counts as an adult. When socializing your puppy, make sure that he always has positive experience with other dogs, children and adults. Schedule playdates with other puppies or dogs that are his same size and that have a good personality.
- Use the leash! The more you keep him on a leash, even at home under supervision, the more control you will have over him. Here are some cute collars and leashes for your puppy!
Having a dog is a full time job, especially the first year and a half, when their personality is developing. If you are consistent, your puppy will be that inspiring dog that everyone wants.