Puppy Training Basics
A puppy needs a good learning foundation in order to be a confident adult. But learning is more than just teaching your puppy basic cues such as sit and stay. The most important aspect of the learning process is to introduce your puppy to the environments and situations she is likely to experience throughout her life. Socializing her with people, dogs and other animals will encourage her to be socially confident as she grows. Habituating her slowly to human touch will prevent touch aversions in adulthood.
The brain of a puppy is like a sponge and every experience is stored away in her memory, building her personality. While a puppy might be born with a certain temperament, it is the way she is raised that will truly determine her personality. The more positive and enriching experiences she has, the more confident she will be as an adult. Puppies are learning all the time, not just when they are being trained, so your behavior and the way you handle your puppy will influence her development. Punitive handling and harsh corrections will damage your pup as she grows so stay away from punitive trainers or any equipment that can harm her, including shock, choke or prong collars.
Puppies need to be gently guided into making good decisions, allowed to investigate their environments and given reinforcement for the good behaviors they do, as well as being redirected from indulging in behaviors that you don’t want. All puppies need boundaries, but these must be given in a humane way so as not to instill fear. A puppy that experiences fear or rough handling as she grows is more likely to be reactive and show aggressive behavior as an adolescent and into adulthood.
The investment you make giving your puppy a good learning foundation will pay off throughout her life. Puppies are certainly cute but raising one can be challenging. Seeing a pup develop into a confident adult, however, is worth the hard work.
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Articles from Victoria Stilwell
- Becoming a Dog Trainer
- Social Bullying
- Does Your Dog Respect You?
- Differences Between Male and Female Dogs
- The Reactive Dog