Three Tips for Puppy Owners

puppy in a training course

Three Tips for Puppy Owners

Tips for Puppy Owners

There are few things in life more exciting than adopting a new puppy into our families. This excitement comes from the puppy themself and our intention to live out our dream relationship with that pup. Even experienced dog owners regularly ask me for tips when raising a puppy.  My tips deal with mindset because mindset influences thoughts, thoughts influence actions, and our action influences the associations the puppy makes; associations the pup makes influence their behavior, and repeated behavior becomes habits. Habits can be judged as correct or incorrect, but so can our mindset. We must have the correct mindset to help our pups form the correct habits. So, without further yapping, the official Argos Dog Training Tips for Puppy Owners Are: Become an Expert, Do Not Spoil Your Puppy, and Accept Your Role. 

Become an Expert. 

When we get a dog, especially our first, we probably know very little about dogs. Most of us do not understand anything about house training, stress levels, reading dog body language, grooming, general training, enrichment, how dogs form associations, the stages of puppy development, how to engage the pup’s mind, etc. So, plan to be an expert and study dog/human relationships: read many books, watch training videos, practice, attend seminars, or hire and befriend a good professional dog trainer who does those things so that they can share their experience with you. Why? Because our puppies need us to understand them. Our responsibility is to understand them enough to ease them through the stress of living in a human-centric world. For example, we have to guide them through medical exams gracefully. It is not in a dog’s nature to perform or submit to medical examinations. Understanding how they see the world will help them get through those exams without acting too much like a dog – ie, biting the vet who restrains them and pokes them with sharp objects….  For your dog to live the best possible life, you, as the human family member, must teach them everything they need to be successful in a world with so many human beings. 

Do Not Spoil Your Puppy.

Puppies are cute and helpless. This cuteness and helplessness draw us to them. These things make it easy for us to desire to spoil them.  We want to cuddle and carry and ooh and ahh over them. We want to give them unnecessary objects, privileges, and gratuitous affection because we want them to know they are extremely special to us.  The thing is, a spoiled dog is like a spoiled tomato– not really good for anything. I do not want my dogs to think that they are extremely special. I do not want them to think that their privilege includes everything because a dog fully believing they can do and have anything is a problem. That thought, that belief, spoils them. You can work to raise dogs to be confident, reliable, and balanced, but spoiling them will block all of it, and you will have a spoiled dog. Instead of spoiling them, set clear expectations of what behaviors earn rewards and which are unacceptable. Reward them as heavily as you like for the behaviors you want to see. 

Accept Your Role. 

We take on many roles when we adopt a puppy. The one I am referring to here is being your dog’s raiser. Our dogs mean so much to us. I have met thousands of dog/human families and done thousands of consultations. I never met a person who seriously wanted their dog to be a jerk. To fully embrace and accept your role, you must be an expert.  Know what you want from your pup when they grow into adulthood and be willing to delay gratification to do the work to get there. Raising a puppy and living with a dog is a lot of work. If we embrace the role of best friend-raisers and know we do not want to raise a misbehaved dog, that knowledge should influence everything we say to or do with our pup. We know our job is to make them comfortable with necessary things that aren’t natural for them. Think about the qualities you want in a best friend and reward them when your dog shows them. Do you want a spoiled, unfocused, over-privileged, stressed-out friend who does not listen or share your interests? If you do, make those things happen and reward them. Let them out of the crate because they are crying; let them on the couch even though they bite you to defend their spot. If you want the opposite, use the crate to learn how to communicate how you would like them to behave there. Use the couch to show them that you control the location of their body, and they have no right to protect any part of your couch from you. 

Bonus Tip: Get a Good Trainer.

This should be an entry on its own. There is so much to say about How to Find the Perfect Dog Trainer for you and your family that I made a video about it. A good trainer is an expert. They took the time to gather and practice the knowledge necessary to help human/canine families to solve their problems and meet their goals. A good trainer is interested in how well you communicate, hold the leash, set your feet, and see the signs of tension or stress while walking with your dog.  A good dog trainer for your family has traveled the road you want to go many times and is willing to share their experience with you. They know the common and uncommon mistakes people make. They know the advice people disregard and the advice they tend to follow. They know how to motivate dogs and people, and they provide accountability. A good dog trainer is a walking-talking encyclopedia of dog-related information and a master of communication. They will save you time and allow you to start practicing forming good dog habits the right way.    If you need some advice about practical advice, tips, lessons, or mentoring to become an expert, avoid spoiling your dog, or define and accept your role from a good dog trainer, Click here to fill in our form and schedule a phone call. As Always, Enjoy Your Dog!!!