Puppies are awesome. They’re playful, funny, cuddly, cute… The list goes on. But, as many experienced dog owners will tell you, owning a puppy is not for the faint of heart. Because, along with all the fun and play, there are also a lot of challenges you’ll have to contend with – teething, rough play, and potty training being at the top of the list. For first-time owners, these challenges can become overwhelming very quickly, especially for families with toddlers and young children. In the spirit of helping first-time puppy owners cope with all the new challenges, here’s a short list of things you can do to help you and your puppy.
Crate/Kennel Training: The benefits of kennel training are many. For puppies, it’s important that they have a safe, quiet place to go to. When they’re overstimulated, when they’re getting too nippy because their mouths are hurting, when they need a nap but they can’t get it because they’re playing too rough with the kids… Giving your puppy a safe, quiet space to go to is crucial.
Set Rules: Every puppy should start learning the house rules a few days after they arrive. While it can take 3 to 4 weeks for your puppy to completely settle in, they still need to learn the house rules right at the start. Think about how big your puppy will be when he’s fully grown; will you want him getting up on the furniture? Will you want her sleeping in your bed?
Start Training: Your puppy is quite capable of learning basic commands, even if they’re only 8 weeks old. Start them off on the right paw by taking the time to teach them. Yes, they have the attention span of a gnat at 8 weeks old, but that’s no reason to wait. Puppies love to learn new things – and, learning helps them release mental energy the right way. It also helps create a strong relationship of mutual trust and respect.
Puppies are awesome. They help us remember how to just be in the moment and enjoy life, they give us unconditional love, they make us laugh with their antics, and they teach us how to become better human beings. We have to teach them how to be their best selves, too.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.