Raising a puppy is something we have to learn. It's not natural for us humans. So just like with learning anything new we are going to make a few mistakes along the way. First we have to know what mistakes we are making in the first place. In this episode, I talk about 4 mistakes I see new puppy owners make (and what to do instead).
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Let's take a quick look at each one. #1. Give too much freedom too soonWhen we first imagined having a dog we thought about a dog wandering around the house, sleeping on the couch or freely playing the back yard. Then when we bring our puppy home we end up giving them too much freedom too soon. What I mean is within the first couple weeks home you give the puppy the run of the first floor of the house or let them run around in the back yard (yes, even if you have a fenced-in yard).This is too much freedom for a new puppy! You will have that dog that freely runs around your home but right now you have a puppy and there is some work to get there. What to do instead:Right now they are learning EVERYTHING about your world and how to live in your house. Think of their freedom as something they earn by building trust and a bond with you, not something they automatically get when they move into your home.Until they earn that freedom, keep your puppy's world small, and closely supervised. The more freedom we give our puppy the more trouble they get into.#2. Underestimating the importance of socializationSocialization is THE most important training you can do for your puppy. So many new puppy owners aren’t aware of just how important it is or they simply misunderstand it. When I say socialization most think about letting their puppy play with other dogs. This is true, but interacting with other dogs is only a small part of socializing your puppy.Socializing teaches your puppy to interact properly with EVERYTHING in their environment. It goes from sounds, textures, smells, climbing stairs, being handled, as well as interacting with people and other dogs. The other part that is greatly misunderstood is that you can’t put off socialization. Socializing has the greatest impact between the age of 3-16 weeks. This isn’t something we can change. It’s how a puppy’s brain grows and matures. This also happens to be the time so many dog owners are keeping their dogs inside and avoiding interaction with the outside world. Usually at the advice of their own vet or breeder because of vaccinations. I talk all about balancing socialization and vaccinations in Episode 21
.An under-socialized dog has trouble adjusting to new people and places. A well-socialized dog is a confident dog that can go anywhere with you. You can't over-socialize a dog but you can very easily under-socialize a dog.The Socialization lesson inside YOUR Perfect Puppy
(my 4 week puppy course) is by far the biggest lesson because it's SO important. What to do instead:If you have a puppy at home get your puppy out there experiencing new people and places AT LEAST 3 times a week (every day if possible). If you have one coming soon, be ready to hit the ground running. #3. Ignoring behaviors hoping that they grow out of themThe dangerous part about this one is that there is some truth to it. As your dog matures they will be less likely to cause trouble. Their energy decreases, their need to chew, explore, and rebel also decrease. BUT when they are puppies they are discovering everything and learnin...