6 Tips For New Puppy Owners

by : vitalgirl

You've brought your new dog home - now what! This is a question that many new dog owners may not initially think of in the excitement of bringing their puppy to meet its' new family. But it is a question that crops up when owners are confronted with a pet that chews their laundry or shoes. Or insists on relieving himself in the middle of the living room, on that lovely new rug. Or worse - on your bed!

Dogs can develop very frustrating behaviour, that can largely be avoided by correcting them straight away, at the time they actually do the wrong thing. Dogs don't relate their actions with time like we do. Thus, coming home to find a mess that your pet created hours ago, then getting angry at him, and trying to correct the behaviour then, is not going to work. Dogs won't associate being in trouble with the reason why. And because they don't understand English, we can't tell them! All they know is that they are in trouble, with no idea what they've done wrong. Worse, if you've just got home from work, they are really happy to see you. Not a very nice situation for a dog that just adores their owner and wants love and acceptance in return.

If you get your dog as a puppy, you have an advantage as you can do more to prevent poor habits forming. Here are 6 tips by Brian Killcommons:

* Don't scold your dog after you've called him to you. He'll think he's in trouble for actually coming to you, and will associate coming to you with being scolded. So, when you try to train him, he won't come when called.

* Don't try chasing your dog when you want him to come to you. This will seem like you're playing a game with him. It turns the dog into the leader and you into the follower. He'll think that running away from you will get you to follow him - not good for later training.

* Get dogs used to being handled. This covers both grooming, which should be started as early as possible, even when there's no real need to. Start to check him over regularly, look at his feet, eyes, and ears. And when you are spending time with your puppy, get him used to handling different parts of his body, such as his tail, his ear, his mouth. Don't spend huge amounts of time doing this at first, and be gentle. The idea is to get him used to people touching him so that if children or visitors accidentally grab him, he won't be upset and possibly become aggressive.

* When your dog is whining or barking, don't pet them. This reinforces the action, letting your pet think it's alright to do this. Unless you want a dog that will bark for your attention when he's older, don't encourage this now. And remember it's important to praise your dog as soon as he's done the right thing. So, when he stops barking, give him attention, and pet him then.

* Only give your dog toys to chew, otherwise he'll think it's okay to chew everything. He can't tell the difference between your new and old shoes!

* Don't play rough games with your new puppy. This includes wrestling, and tugging type games. It teaches your dog to be aggressive, and this may become a problem when he is much bigger and fully grown.

References: B. Kilcommons and S. Wilson, Good Owners, Great Dogs.