10 things to teach your puppy
You’re thrilled and in awe because you just welcomed home a new puppy? That’s so fantastic, I’m happy for you, what an exciting and awesome time! You discover how your puppy reveals more of his personality as the days go by and how he gets more and more used to his new environment and develops trust in and happiness about his new family – you!
To give your puppy a really gentle and smooth start into his life with you, there a couple of things you can teach him already which will make it so much easier for him/her to become a confident, well socialised and happy dog that gets along just fine with the challenges our human world has in store for him. Just read through the following 10 tipps.
1. Different toys and plays
Introduce different toys and ways of playing to your puppy. This is not only heaps of fun, it also encourages him and you to discover his personality more deeply because he’ll develop preferences and interests. It also is a wonderful way of communication with your puppy, he learns what is allowed and what isn’t, for example being a bit mouthy is cool, using teeth too intensely on humans is not. He learns early on how to engage into play and how to initiate it himself.
2. Meeting other dogs and animals
In order to socialise your puppy, you want to introduce him to as many dogs of different breeds and ages as possible, a puppy play-school is great for this. I encourage you to learn when to let dogs play and when to interrupt so that your puppy mainly makes good experiences with other dogs. You also want to introduce him to other animals like cats, birds, horses etc. so that he learns his friends come in many different shapes and that he won’t be scared/freaking out when meeting other animals later on in his life.
3. Meeting different people
As a domesticated animal, meeting different people is equally important for your pup. You want him to meet people of different ages, with very different traits such as male, female, kids, old, young, calm, shy, loud, outgoing. Give him the change to be with different people, to sniff and observe them, to make friends with them. Hence you raise a dog that has a friendly attitude towards humans because he made many great experiences with our species from early age on.
4. Exploring city life
If you would like to take your pup to the city at some point of his life, you want to gently introduce him to many things that happen in cities: street noise, cars, bikes, motorbikes, public transport, skateboards etc. Have a gentle and close eye on your pooch here to ensure that he is comfortable with what he perceives. Exploring city life and walking on a leach in streets can be something that should be done very slowly, step by step.
5. Different environments in nature
Nature offers so many different environments, that when discovered first in adulthood, can be overwhelming for your dog. Therefore you want to go on adventures with him when he’s still a pup: take him to forests, lakes, trails, rivers, waterfalls, parks, fields, beaches, mountains – whatever it is that you want him to be comfortable with and enjoy when he’s older. Let him explore and sniff endlessly and reassure him that everything is alright.
6. Household items
“My dog is biting the vacuum cleaner” is something you probably would like to avoid. Therefore, introduce your dog gently and slowly to different items of the household, let him sniff them and experience the noise they are making. You want to be on your dogs side when doing this, like discovering the broom with him together, being curious with him. If you are fine with that strange thing, he will eventually join you in that. An excellent training for building trust!
7. Basic training for your routines
“He’ll learn that later” is something that usually will end up in heaps of confusion for your dog when suddenly new rules are being introduced to him. So if you want your pup to sit before being allowed to feed, teach him early on. If he shall be fine to be in a crate in the car, have a crate already when he is young and make him spend pleasant time in there. Introduce him to your car and rides in there. What ever your routines and rules will be, start introducing those to him from the beginning so that he can learn and adapt over time.
8. Body care routines
You want to be able to check your dog’s teeth, gums, paws, tail, belly, ears, personal parts etc. in order to assure that he is ok and in good health as well as to help him when he is not alright. Practice this when he is a pup, so that he can get used to you doing this and understands early on that you’re taking care of him by doing this. This is so important! Imagine your dog has something stuck in his mouth and you can’t open his mouth to have a look!
9. Make the vet something casual
Most people only take their dog to the vet when he needs shots or medical care. Usually, these procedures are rather unpleasant which is well remembered by your dog. As a result, he might be afraid already when seeing the vets office or even when you just talk about going to the vet! Spare him that anxiety and introduce the vet as something totally normal to him by stopping by at your vets office without anything needing to be done. Just to go in, sniff, wait, relax(!) and leave again. Call your vet before swinging by for that.
10. Respect your dogs boundaries
This can be a bit of a challenge because you probably want to cuddle your pup all the time. But when he goes on his bed to rest or sleep, I suggest let him rest or sleep in peace, undisturbed, leave him alone on his bed, don’t pick him up. Let him make the experience that he can create peace and quiet (=safety) autonomously for himself when he is on his bed. This will become so precious later on because he learned how to soothe himself when he needs to. After all, our dogs are fluffy individuals who need personal space as well. You provide him with great skills in life if you respect his boundaries!
That’s 10 great things you can teach your puppy! All of them will greatly help your dog to ease into the life he is going to live with you. It will encourage him to explore, be curious, to be cool with many different environments, noises, and smells. And perhaps the best aspect of all this, it will significantly improve your dog’s trust in you and strengthen your bond.
Do you feel you would like support or help with any of these tips? Maybe with how to introduce your pup to other dogs, animals, and humans? Or don’t you have the time for some of these things we’ve talked about here? You’re warmly welcome to reach out, I’m happy to support you and your pup and by that make it easy and comfortable for you to raise your dog.
Be considerate and gentle
- Always watch your dog's reaction, his comfort dictates the pace
- Be on your dog's side, literally, so that he knows you have his back
- Keep in mind the safety guidelines of your city and neighborhoods
- Communicate to others that you are training your puppy to ensure a considerate approach with new humans and animals