Veterinarian in Costa Mesa shares modern puppy training tips
So, you have decided to get your first pet – a puppy no less. Congratulations! While dogs of all ages can make wonderful pets, there is something special about the bond between a new pet parent and a puppy. Dr. Rand Spongberg of All Creatures Care Cottage Veterinary Hospital in Costa Mesa shares modern puppy training tips to support your unique relationship . . . for life.
When to start
New pet owners in Costa Mesa should use modern puppy training tips immediately. A puppy’s new patterns begin as soon as he has been relocated from his mother and siblings into your family. Early gentle training reduces stressors that result in behavioral problems for puppy, and aggravation for you.
Most ethical breeders and animal shelters understand that premature separation increases a puppy’s tendency toward:
- Noise phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Thus, a puppy is best kept with his litter for at least eight weeks. When the delicate developmental stage has passed, and the animal is ready for socialization with humans and other pets. From eight to 14 weeks, his brain is primed to embrace unfamiliar experiences with little fear response.
Be sensitive to your puppy’s individual personality, though. If he tends to be shy, introduce new stimuli slowly. For example, start with walks around the yard, gradually expanding to the sidewalk, then the next block. Or perhaps sit in the car with your puppy a few times, before starting the engine or moving. If your puppy is boisterously outgoing, focus during these formative weeks on manners. Arrange for him to meet one new person at a time, learning to “play nice” with minimal jumping or biting. A bossy puppy can easily grow into aggressive behavior. Overcoming it early by establishing the superior human role, can save untold heartache later.
A little extra time and patience now can have a profound effect on his adult temperament and character.
Let it be fun
Decide on a name for your pet and use it often. A short name ending with a strong consonant is a helpful training tool. Say it clearly with happy emphasis at the end. Small wonder Jack and Spot have been historically popular – their staccato sound perks up the ears and is easy for the puppy to associate with ME. Try not to use “no” after puppy’s name (as in, “Jack, NO”) to avoid developing a negative association. Instead, use his name in conjunction with pleasant activities.
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Make it a priority to spend a set amount of time training your puppy each day, in a setting that feels like playtime. Start right away teaching a reliable recall (come when called by name), sit, stay, leave it (drop a toy or ignore something nasty on a walk), and off (jump down from car seat or furniture). Use the puppy’s name and positive reinforcement, such as praise, a hug, toy, or treat each time the command is complied with correctly. Be careful that, in your enthusiasm, you do not reward behavior that you don’t want the puppy to repeat.
Decide on “house rules” before he arrives, and stick to them. There is no effective way to communicate conditional rules to a puppy. He won’t understand if this exists, you must behave this way, but in a similar scenario, this behavior is acceptable. He will become bewildered and stressed when he gets a “bad dog” for doing something you allowed yesterday.
Consider whether he will be permitted to:
- Be on your bed
- Get on the furniture
- Have free range of the entire house
- Be present when you are dining at the table
- Bark in the house
- Put his paws on you
- Ride in the passenger seat, back seat, or rear cargo area of the vehicle
Pets need a place of their own. A safe spot to retreat to when the human world feels overwhelmingly noisy or populated. Think about where his bed or crate will be placed, so it doesn’t have to be moved frequently during the initial months. Supply a warm water bottle and ticking clock to sooth a new puppy through the first few nights away from mama.
Do the “right thing”
Responsible pet owners have their animals spayed and neutered as soon as it is medically ethical. Dr. Spongberg will determine the appropriate timing and explain health benefits. Your altered dog will be less likely to roam or show aggressive tendencies. He will bond more readily with humans, and be more receptive to training.
You have what it takes to be a great puppy parent. Schedule a visit to All Creatures Care Cottage for more guidance on housetraining, feeding, vaccinations, and parasite control. The number in Costa Mesa is (949) 430-7576.
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