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When you first buy or adopt a new puppy and bring them home, your puppy will likely have had no training due to their age, and will have no idea about the parameters of what is and is not acceptable, nor really any concept that some things are not allowed.
Starting off on the right food when your pup first comes to live with you and setting clear boundaries from the get-go is important in order to ensure that your puppy is obedient and not destructive as they get older, and also to provide them with boundaries and a routine that will provide them with security and reassurance.
However, knowing how, when and why to correct a new puppy’s natural missteps and errors can be challenging; it is vital that you are consistent and start as you mean to go on, but also that you do not frighten your pup or make them feel insecure about you and their new lifestyle.
In this article, we will look at the techniques to use to correct your new puppy and begin to set ground rules for their future life with you, while also ensuring that your pup remains happy and confident in their new home. Read on to learn more.
Many new puppy owners make the mistake of thinking that a new pup should be left unchecked for their first few weeks or months with you, with training being something that takes place from a set start date to a set end date, after which your pup will have learned and begin exhibiting their new skills.
However, this approach is apt to lead to all manner of problems, for both pup and owner. Establishing and reinforcing boundaries is an important part of your pre-training preparations, and something that should begin pretty much as soon as your new pup comes home-certainly within a couple of days. This does not mean that you should not give your pup some leeway when they learn nor that you should not expect mistakes-but if your pup has time to begin establishing behaviours that are unwanted (such as climbing on the furniture begging for food and so on) trying to change this behaviour later on will be both challenging, and confusing for your pup.
Puppies need guidance and boundaries not only to ensure that they are good household companions, but also to provide them with a sense of security and belonging in their home pack, and without these, your pup will soon become unruly and start to think they are in charge, and that you are there to serve them.
Correcting a puppy does not mean punishing them or telling them off-in fact, doing either of these things is apt to cause problems in terms of their sense of security and their relationship with you. Positive correction is not only necessary, but also good for your pup-and you will do them a disservice by avoiding providing this, or leaving it until bad behaviours have become established.
Establishing boundaries means deciding what your puppy is not allowed to do, and correcting them when they do these things. What your boundaries are is up to you-for instance, you may wish to keep your pup off the beds, and begin getting them used to spending time in a crate, as well as of course house training them and diverting bad behaviour.
Once you have established a framework for what your pup’s boundaries will be and what activities you will not permit (such as begging for food) the next thing to look at is how you will go about directing the puppy, and correcting any issues that arise.
A lot of patience and repetition is vital for this, and when you correct your puppy, it should always be a positive experience for them, provided as guidance rather than punishment or harsh words.
When it comes to correcting issues or teaching your pup boundaries, it is vital to make the correction at the time, and not at any point later on. For instance, if you catch your pup in the act of chewing your shoes, correct them on the spot. But if you come home and find a chewed shoe somewhere that your pup has left and forgotten about, there is no point nor value in waving the shoe at your pup to show them the problem while telling them off-this is meaningless, and confusing to your pup.
Correct a puppy by saying “no” firmly, but not particularly loudly or at all angrily, and if necessary, show them what you are saying “no” to-such as by moving them from the bed, if you are trying to keep them off the beds.
Every time your pup tries to repeat the behaviour, repeat the correction, but do not turn it into a game where your pup is apt to try again just to get your attention. When your pup has complied, reward them with praise and/or a treat, and divert them to something else-such as by calling them out of the room in question, or by removing the object they are chewing on from their reach.
You should also take some steps from your side of things to make sure that you are not making things harder for your pup-for instance, by leaving a show that they like to chew in their reach while you are not around to correct them.
Providing clear, positive correction and boundaries will not only help to prevent problems down the line and make life with your pup easier for both of you, but it will also get your pup used to the concept of having rules, following direction and that doing what they are asked will garner a positive response-all things that will help a lot when you are training them to follow commands too.
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