When you get a new puppy, you have two choices. Train them or wait for them to grow out of their bad behaviors. When you start the training young, you will get control of the difficult puppy behaviors and you can speed up their learning curve dramatically.
With our program you will also be laying the foundation for your puppy to become a good dog and you will be learning the skills you’ll need to take your puppy into adulthood.
Training Your Puppy
According To The American Kennel Club
“Training your puppy is an absolute necessity. Just like children, dogs come into the world filled with love and curiosity, but not manners. They need to be taught how to get along in the family. That includes eliminating outside, behaving properly in the house, and being polite to people and other animals. This is a demanding, yet enjoyable job that begins the moment the puppy enters your house and your life.
Training makes puppies happy. By nature, dogs prefer a society with rules, where everybody knows his place.
When you teach puppies the rules of your family, they feel secure knowing what they are or aren’t allowed to do.
You set the stage for the successful education of your dog. You must be confident and consistent when training. Your goal is to get the puppy to respond to your request, delivered in a cheerful voice. Training any dog takes time. It’s up to you to set a positive, happy tone for training.”
When To Begin Puppy Training
We get this question all the time. My answer is that I want to start the training the day you bring the puppy home.
Dogs will usually try to fit in when they first come into our homes, but as soon as they arrive, they start evaluating the family hierarchy. As they become more comfortable, more confident and more independent they will test the rules more and more as they figure out their place. You can help guide them in a more positive and acceptable way during this process by using good methods of communication and training from the beginning.
Some dog trainers will tell you that you shouldn’t start training them until the are 5 or 6 months old. By that point they have made their decisions about where they rank in the family unit. Now you may have to change behaviors instead of teach behaviors. Changing is more difficult that teaching.
By that age you have also missed out on your puppy’s socialization window. If they are not properly socialized, you may end up having to try and change your dog’s emotional responses to stimulus that they consider negative. I would much rather just socialize them properly from the beginning.
A trainer who wants to wait until your puppy is older is probably a choke chain trainer (the koehler method). Your puppy needs to mature physically before they can yank them around on the leash.
Choosing Your New Puppy
A few things to think about as you are trying to decide on your new puppy include:
.. Your family’s lifestyle
.. The size of the puppy when full grown
.. The type of coat the puppy has
.. The training potential of the puppy
.. The puppy’s exercise and health needs
.. The puppy’s drive and temperament levels
.. The puppy’s natural propensity toward barking
.. If using a breeder, investigate their reputation
Your Family’s Lifestyle
Does your family have time for a new puppy? It’s one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. A lot of dogs end up in shelters because the family didn’t have time for them and they became unruly or unmanageable.
The Puppy’s Size When Full Grown
They’re all adorable when they’re little. Don’t take one just because of the cute puppy factor. My bulldog was just a sweet, little cupcake in my palm when I got her. Now I can fill a trash bag full of her poop in a couple weeks.
The Puppy’s Coat
All dogs require maintenance and some grooming. It’s important to understand your puppy’s potential needs. Also, does their coat work with our climate? Do you need a non-shedder or a hypo-allergenic dog?
The Puppy’s Training Potential
This ties to a few things .. the breed, the puppy’s drive and temperament, the puppy’s living environment, the family’s lifestyle and we all know it’s really all about us.
We can help our dog be a better dog by communicating with them in a way they understand and using a good methodology for teaching them our expectations.
Click Here to view a chart on breed intelligence. It’s interesting to see where the different breeds are ranked.
The Puppy’s Exercise and Health Needs
This goes directly back to your family’s lifestyle. If you are an active family and you like to be on the move, a basset hound shouldn’t be your first choice. You would want to look for a dog with a good drive and good energy so they can be active with you.
If you really like to watch TV and the last time you jogged was when you thought your frozen pizza was burning, you probably shouldn’t be looking at australian shepherds or doberman pinschers. You may be a bulldog family.
Small dogs are generally healthier and tend to live longer. I’ve met yorkies in their late teens. The bigger dogs, mastiffs, great danes, etc., don’t make it as long. Eight or nine years is sometimes a good long life for them.
Large dogs are usually more expensive over the course of their life. Vet bills can be higher in general. Boarding costs more. They go through a lot more food and they’re harder on toys and chewies.
The Puppy’s Drive and Temperament
There are really three things that make up a dog – drive, temperament and personality. They are born with their drive and temperament. We help mold their personalities through training and socialization.
Drive is generally high, medium or low. Most people would just see it as energy level. A bulldog is low drive and a border collie is high drive. It’s o.k to generalize this way as long as we realize that each dog is an individual. I’ve met a number of high drive bulldogs.
Temperament is generally soft, medium, hard or sharp. The dog that seems like he has a lot of anxiety may just be a soft-tempered dog. A hard temperament can come off as confidence. The dog who is just a big knucklehead and has no manners. Nothing really scares him. A sharp tempered dog may be very reactive and be willing to become more physical when they are stimulated.
Drive and temperament can be difficult to read in a puppy. We’ve helped a number of people pick out puppies and we’ve been pretty successful so far, but you never know for sure when they’re only eight weeks old.
No matter what type of drive or temperament your puppy has, training will help them to be a better adult dog.
Will They Be A Barker?
We also have a chart of the effectiveness of different breeds as watchdog barkers. Click Here.