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Raising a Puppy – 5 Things You Should Know to Make Your Life Easier

Let’s be honest – who of us hasn’t been assaulted with the feverish desire to own a new puppy? They’re cuddly, soft, rambunctious little fuzz-balls that make us giggle-snort with their silly shenanigans.

We know it's (mostly) fun and games, but puppies can be a real whirlwind of energy, mischief, and love. Don't worry though; we've got your back!

Here are five pawesome tips to help make your life easier while raising your adorable four-legged bundle of joy.

Potty Training: Say Goodbye to Accidents, Hello to Sweet Success

Ah, potty training – the first great hurdle of puppy parenthood. It's like trying to teach a mini tornado to use the bathroom. But fear not! With some patience and a sense of humor, you'll triumph over those little puddles in no time.

First things first, establish a routine.

Puppies thrive on predictability like a squirrel hoards nuts. Take your pup out first thing in the morning, after meals, playtime, naps, and before bedtime. Celebrate like it's the best thing since bacon when they do their business outside, and don't scowl when accidents happen. Positive reinforcement works like magic.

Also, especially when you’re just starting to teach this, make sure to keep your pooch under close watch. There are two excellent ways to do this:

  1. Get a mobile, expandable, fenced in cage that will allow your puppy to feel included in family activities without needing to be watched too carefully

  2. Keep your fluffy friend on a leash and near your person at all times

In fact, it’s recommended that you utilize a blend of the two to best fit your routine and your puppies needs.

Chewing: Toys are Their Jam, Not Your Favorite Shoe

Let's face it – puppies love to chew. If they had their way, your house would look like a chewed-up cardboard box. But don't worry; your shoes and furniture don't have to be your pup's buffet.

Show 'em the ropes by providing an assortment of chew toys – the kind that makes their little tails wag with delight. When they chew on the right things, give them a pat on the head and a "good boy/girl!"

If they start to go for the forbidden fruit (your underwear drawer), make sure to catch them in the act – but don’t get mad!

Instead, kindly offer an appropriate chew toy instead and trade them. When they take the toy, give them lots of praise, and maybe even engage in some play for a super-charged reward.

But let’s say your new bundle of joy doesn’t want to relinquish your favorite socks – what do you do?

First off, never ever tug on the object in question. To your dog, this is encouraging play and reinforcing the habit of chewing on inappropriate items. Instead, take both of your hands and grab the object on either side of their head as close to their mouth as you can. You may have to slowly inch your hands towards their teeth – and they may be nibbling, so you might get nipped. Once you have a good grip, hold on tightly and stay as motionless as physically possible.

The thing is, puppies love movement. The more tugging, throwing, and playful motions you engage in, the more exciting the bad object becomes. The opposite is also true – a “dead” object (or one with no motion) becomes very dull and boring, making your puppy much more likely to drop it.

This might take some time, depending on the dog. Be stubborn and don’t give in – they will eventually drop it!

As soon as they let it go, praise them and give them their toy instead.

Remember, consistency is key; they'll get the hang of it faster than you can say "fetch!"

Basic Foundational Training: The 7 Must Know Commands

Now that your pup is a potty master and has mastered the art of chew toys, it's time to tackle some basic commands. There are seven tricks that any and all dogs should be familiar with: Sit, down, stay, off, come, heel, and no.

Teaching each of these is simple in practice, but requires unwavering consistency and patience.

Although we can’t go into detail on how to teach each of these commands, we can offer some advice.

When teaching any new command from scratch, you will always want to start in a controlled environment. This means somewhere nice a quiet where you control everything happening in your space – i.e. your living room.

Once your puppy has a solid understanding of the command you’re teaching and is doing it reliably, then you can move to a slightly less controlled environment where there may be some unpredictable distractions.

This would be some place such as your fenced in backyard. This way, you still have total control over the situation if your pooch decides to throw caution to the wind, but it also reinforces properly behaving when other dogs saunter by the border of your yard, birds fly overhead, or that darned squirrel darts up the tree again.

When your puppy stops having any reaction to other distractions, it’s time to take them to an uncontrolled environment, such as a park or outside of a store front like a Walmart or Target where there is a good bit of foot traffic.

And remember, always keep your dog on a leash in public places. This is for their safety and the safety of everyone else around and is not negotiable.

We know it’s exciting, but keep your training sessions short and snappy to begin with, especially for the younger pooches. Your puppy's attention span is shorter than a squirrel on a caffeine rush.

Keep training sessions brief, and always end on a positive note. With practice and a pocket full of treats, your pup will be showing off their moves like a dance superstar.

Loose Leash Walking: No More Pup-Pulled Marathons

Walking your dog should be like a casual stroll in the park, not a tug-of-war between a puppy and a bulldozer. But don't worry; we've got the secret to mastering loose leash walking.

Think of it as a dance between you and your pup. When they start pulling like they're running a marathon, don't follow suit. Instead, stop in your tracks and wait for them to return to your side. Reward them with a treat and keep moving. It's like a game of red light, green light, but with wagging tails and happy faces.

You can also stop and turn to walk the other direction, gently urging them to follow. When they return to your side, give a nice, yummy treat and continue on your way.

Stay away from teaching loose leash walking on a harness if you can help it. Many harnesses distribute pressure across your dog's chest that actually encourages pulling. It’s also quite unsafe to teach this on a standard collar, as when your dog pulls, they are putting pressure on their throat in very unhealthy ways.

We recommend using a slip lead while teaching loose leash walking. A slip lead is a leash that has a loose loop that tightens and loosens when you pull on it or give it slack.

As your pup moves away from you, a slight bit of pressure is put around their neck (don’t worry, they’re fine and in no pain). When they return to you, this pressure is relieved, further reinforcing that being by your side is what’s best!

Socialization: Friends, Treats, and Adventures Await

Last but not least, let's talk about the puppy party of the century – socialization.

Your pup needs to meet more friends than a celebrity at an awards show. It's not just for fun; it's essential for their development.

Arrange playdates and introduce them to different environments and people. And let's not forget treats – lots of treats.

We recommend staying away from dog parks. Although they can be fun and an excellent place to socialize, dog parks are like bars – you never know what’s going to happen and it’s usually not good!

To put it into perspective, your dog may be incredibly well behaved and listen to commands. However, many owners do not do their due diligence and bring untrained, and sometimes aggressive canines to the same parks you do.

This can lead to devastating situations, even when carefully monitored.

There are a gajillion other places to take your new puppy to properly socialize them, and we know you want what’s best for them.

Socialization is all about creating positive associations. With enough practice, your pup will be the social butterfly of the neighborhood.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, future puppy pros.

Raising a puppy may have its challenges, but with these five tips, you're well on your way to a lifetime of joy, laughter, and unconditional love.

Embrace the craziness, cherish the cuddles, and remember – every tail wag is a reminder that you've got the best furry friend in the world. Now go out there and embark on the adventure of a lifetime with your furry companion.

Happy puppy parenting!



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