Yes, there will be a lot of warm, cuddly snoozes, delightful-beyond-words playtime and infinite Instagram oohs and aahs, all magnified by the fact that this is your first time joining the dog park club. But as you begin the process of training your brand-new four-legged love, there is bound to be the occasional blunder or two — beyond the fault of you and your pup. From potty training accidents to all-around messes, these things are bound to happen! Here’s how to mitigate the mess, keep your puppy safe, and get her or him on the road to becoming a well-behaved, well-adjusted, and perfectly content member of your household.
Tip #1: Don’t resort to any emotional extremes.
When it comes to shaping your strategy for guiding your new pup into good-behavior habits, a harsh hand may shock baby Fido into your desired result in the short term, but may build anxiety, confusion, and mistrust in the long run.
On the other end of the spectrum, simply letting the new member of the household have free reign with all adoration and no consequences will result in a misguided, wild older dog with no conception of boundaries, and may even result in him or her getting into dangerous situations. Focus on using positive reinforcement and distinct praise when the correct behavior is elicited, thereby shaping clear expectations and positive boundaries. It’s about discipline, not cruelty.
When you’re navigating the middle ground between these two unhealthy extremes of puppy-rearing, just remember a few key concepts: confidence, consistency, and patience.
Tip #2: Use the replacement theory.
Puppies are bound to chew — you probably already figured this before bringing your new fur baby home. So, the best way to navigate this inevitable behavior is to direct it towards a healthy outlet. Before bringing your puppy into the house, it’s a good idea to keep all chewable-looking valuables out of harm’s way. But you can’t anticipate every possible mishap, so when and if the time comes when you find him or her gnawing away on one of your shoes, firmly tell them no and immediately give them an appropriate toy that will satisfy their growing puppy teeth.
Tip #3: Socialize, socialize, socialize!
Once your puppy has received all necessary shots and you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your vet to allow them to go for walks and interact with fellow four-legged friends, you should absolutely immerse them in socialization. Experts say the crucial period for socializing puppies is when they’re between 4 and 16 weeks — this is when you want them to be hanging out with your friends’ dogs, out on walks in dog-heavy areas, and even romping around a dog park. All of these scenarios will of course demand your close supervision to ensure the safety and comfort of all pups involved.
And the most important tip of all…..
Nestle in the cozy, fluffy bliss of being a new dog owner!
Author byline: Written by Casey Dickson, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.