A key responsibility of owning dogs is to help them be well-behaved and confident. When you teach your dogs to be well-behaved, you are helping them to know the rules of what is and is not acceptable. Dogs that are well-trained are more likely to behave as expected and not cause situations in the household where they can no longer be a family member. Training your dog is not always easy, although some dogs thrive on learning new skills, but it certainly is critical. Whether your dog is a puppy or a full grown adult, it’s never too late to learn! Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you get started on raising a confident, well-behaved dog.
The Do’s & Don’ts
Do: Bring your dog to the vet and stay up to date on your vet’s suggested vaccination schedule. Puppies usually need quite a few vaccinations at first to ensure their positive health for life. From there on out, annual checkups once or twice a year are a great idea.
Don’t: Wait until something is seriously wrong with your dog. If your best friend is acting different or seems to be sick, the sooner you get them to their vet, the more likely you will be to help prevent potential complications.
Do: Crate train your best friend. According to Weekend Crate Training via ASPCA, a crate provides a safe and cozy place where your dog will feel safe. Crate training prevents dogs from being destructive and house trains them properly. Though domesticated, dogs like having a ‘cave’ to burrow - a crate replicates that feeling.
Don’t: Continue to use your crate too long after your dog has become house trained and after you know he or she won’t chew. When your dog can be trusted to be left alone in the home, he or she should be! According to Separation Anxiety via the ASPCA, using a crate to deal with separation anxiety isn’t the long term fix for this problem.
Socialize with People & Other Dogs
Do: Once your puppy has all of their first shots, it's’ important to socialize your puppy with the world. Introduce your dog to not just people, but also buildings, sights, noises, smells, animals, and other dogs. This allows for them to grow up being more relaxed and confident. If your dog seems to be particularly scared or worried around certain objects or people, start making a mental note of those. Make a list and slowly introduce your best friend to the items on that list over time. "Socialization with other dogs, as well as humans, is an extremely important component of a dog’s development into a positive member of the family and a good citizen of society," says Louise Murray, DVM, Diplomat ACVIM, and Director of Medicine at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York.
Don’t: Overwhelm your pup with too hectic of public places. Make sure that the socializing situations you and your dog are in do not become too overwhelming for them. Remember, socialization goes past your best friend’s puppy days; continue to introduce them to others as they grow up.
Puppy School or Obedience Classes
Do: Take your dog to puppy school or obedience classes. A class is a great way to train both you and your dog, giving you the tools you need to get the job done! These classes can help determine your best friend’s future behavior and personality. Your dog can learn skills like the following:
- sit, stay, lie down, roll over
- not to jump on other dogs or people
- not to chew furniture or items in the house
- to come when called
Don’t: Have too high of expectations. Training does not happen overnight. You and your dog should get the basics out of classroom training. If your dog has more concerning issues such as anxiety or excessive barking, consider exploring some private training with a certified dog trainer. Your veterinarian can also be a good person to ask for advice and recommend a trainer to help with your pup’s issue.
Starting off with these tips and tricks, you can start the journey of raising a happy and healthy pup. We know that your dog is not only your best friend, but also a member of your family you want to have around for years to come.
Do you have any other tips on raising a confident puppy? Please share them with us in the comments!