Are you getting a puppy? Maybe you’re on your way to get your furry friend right now! Heres what to know before getting a puppy, 5 tips you need to know!
Getting a puppy is fun and exciting but if this is your first time getting a puppy there is a bit of learning curve here’s somethings you need to know before bringing your furry friend home.
Training Is More Than Just Sit, Stay
When answering what to know before getting a puppy the first thing you should know is that training your puppy is so much more than teaching your pup to the sit and stay.
Puppy training is more about building a relationship and becoming relevant to your puppy making everything fun!
The number one advice I can give you at home if your potentially getting or already have a puppy is to crate train your puppy and build a solid relationship.
Crate training often gets overlooked but crate training alone will not only prevent and solve a plethora of problems like your pup getting into trouble or destroying the house.
Crate training also provides you the opportunity to teach your puppy what is appropriate without allowing your puppy to get into trouble!
For some tips on how to crate train, your puppy check out our 3 tips for crate training your puppy article.
Heres what to know before getting a puppy aside from teaching sits.
Building a solid relationship with your pup should be the focus if you have a young puppy so that your puppy likes looking towards you for guidance.
Of course, teaching your puppy behaviors such as sit and stay are great but with so many distractions in our world you want to focus on *engagement*
What is Engagement?
Engagement in training is simply having sustained focus from your puppy!
Remember that puppies are young and are distracted by anything and everything.
Teaching your puppy what to put his attention on is critical in what habits your puppy will develop
Showing your puppy that paying attention to you is fun teaches your furry pup to focus on you around distractions which will come in handy when you want to give your pup direction!
Why Should I Work On Building My Puppies Engagement (Sustained Focus)
Having your puppy’s attention is much more valuable than trying to get your puppy to sit while your pup is focused on something else!
Once you have your dog’s eyes the possibilities are endless.
Being viewed as relevant to your puppy compared to the distractions around is something that one should prioritize over a sit or stay!
How Do I Work On Engagement?
So how do you work on building sustained focus in your puppy?
Well, building engagement with your puppy is about making your puppy pay attention to you fun and rewarding!
there are many approaches to this but the one that I recommend is using your puppies food and making your puppy paying attention to you a game between both of you!
Of course, when asking what to know before getting a puppy there is more to teaching your dog sustained focus than just using your dog’s food as a game.
For more information on how to build your dog’s engagement check out our “my dog won’t listen outside” article.
2nd Tip: You Are Showing Your Puppy The World
When you bring in a puppy you have a clean slate meaning puppy doesn’t have any experience with the world we live in, and between the ages of 8 weeks to about 4 months your painting your puppies view of the World!
That means that any experience that your puppy has between that period will essentially mold your puppy into the adult dog that he will develop into.
Are you being aware of how you’re molding the perspective of your puppies world?
Why Show Your Puppy The World?
With puppies, you are always showing them what life in this big world is like.
If you want your puppy to become a confident dog taking the time to show your puppy the world in a positive light will play a major role!
If you have ever encountered a dog that is anxious, scared, fearful or even aggressive chances are that as a puppy he was not exposed to the world properly!
What Your Puppy Puts His Energy Into:
When showing your puppy the world you want to teach your puppy what to put his energy into.
Do you want your puppy to put his time and energy chasing squirrels or would you want your puppy to pay attention to you and remain calm when faced with distractions?
painting a positive picture of the world for your puppy will ensure that your pup does not become fearful, anxious or aggressive outside but comfortable when faced with various distractions.
This brings us to our next tip.
3rd Tip: What To Know Before Getting A Puppy: Socialization
Socialize, socialize, socialize
If tip number 2 is to show your puppy the world, socializing your puppy is about HOW you show your puppy the world
Socializing your puppy essentially comes down to providing your puppy with positive experiences with a variety of environments, scenarios, people, and dogs.
There 2 forms of socialization direct and indirect
Direct socialization is when you let your puppy interact directly with what another dog or person
Then there’s indirect socialization which is much more functional in that your puppy doesn’t have to come in direct contact with another dog or the person your puppy just has to have positive experiences in proximity to them.
Some ways we accomplish this are by using your puppy’s food to reward him in proximity to all these new distractions and stimuli
Remember puppies are young and are always learning so you have to be aware of what experiences your puppy has.
To learn more about Socliazationa and everything that goes along with it read our Socialization article.
4th Tip: What Gets Practiced Becomes A Habit
When asking what to know before getting a puppy Puppies are constantly learning, and love doing anything that is reinforcing to them, like chewing, chasing, nipping and barking!
With puppies and dogs alike always remember that the more a behavior gets practiced to more likely it is to occur again and behavior that continuously gets practiced will ultimately become a habit.
To create good habits be sure to manage what your puppy puts his energy into and don’t allow your puppy to practice behavior that you don’t want him to do as an adult dog
The goal is always to create good habits while preventing bad habits from ever developing.
How Do Habits Form In Puppies?
Habits develop in puppies through repeated practice of a behavior.
Many behaviors in puppies and dogs start of as voluntary for instance your puppy may be curious about a squirrel that he encounters for the first time that curiosity may lead your puppy to chase the squirrel a voluntary response.
With enough repetition of practicing the behavior of chasing squirrels, your puppy reaction to chase becomes involuntary to your puppy because your puppy has made a habit of chasing squirrels every time your puppy encounters one.
Bad habits can, of course, be broken but its a lot easier to prevent bad habits from developing in the first place by teaching your puppy good habits.
5th Tip: Providing Structure
With our 4th tip, you’re probably wondering how do you create good habits in your puppy this opens the door to last tip providing structure.
We already know that young puppies are always exploring and discovering what everything is and if you haven’t realized it yet puppies can get into anything and everything!
Providing your puppy with a consistent structure will ensure that your pup doesn’t get into any trouble.
When you are providing structure to your puppy what your essentially doing is beginning to teach your puppy the right routines while also introducing your pup into your lifestyle!
What does providing your puppy with structure look like?
Heres what to know before getting a puppy that you wouldn’t think mattered.
Providing your puppy with a consistent routine instead of having a routine that is unorganized.
The more unorganized your puppy routine is the more difficult it will be to teach your puppy good habits
What A Good Structured Routine Might Look Like Is:
7:00 AM: Take out to potty/walk
8:00 AM: Train/feed
8:30 AM: Crate Time
10:00 AM: Potty again walk
11:30 AM: Playpen with chew toys
1:30 PM: Play
2:00 PM: Potty
3:30 PM: Crate
5:30 PM: Potty
6:00 PM Training/ feed
7:00 PM: Potty/walk
Your version of providing your puppy with a structured routine may look different the important part is to give your puppy a consistent routine.
Having a puppy is an incredible experience that comes with a lot of responsibility you are essentially molding your puppy into the adult dog your pup will become!
These are 5 tips to keep in mind when asking yourself what to know before getting a puppy Training is more than sit and stay, you are molding your puppy’s view of the world.
Socialization is critical, what gets practiced becomes a habit, provide your puppy with a structured routine to create good habits.
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!