Your puppy’s first month at home is the most crucial developmental period in their life. This short, make or break period will determine whether they will grow into a well-mannered and good natured companion that will bring joy to your life for many years to come, or whether your puppy will develop numerous predictable behavior problems and grow up to be fearful and unfriendly.
Follow these 7 essential steps to help your puppy become a well behaved dog
1. Educate yourself! – find out what type of dog is most suitable for your home and family, where to find a puppy and when to get one. Have a clear idea on how to train your puppy before he/she arrives home.
2. Evaluate your puppy’s progress – you need to know how to assess your puppy’s behavioural progress and when to seek help.
3. Set your puppy up for success – ensure your puppy is raised in an appropriate environment during their first months at home. For example, if your puppy is expected to live in a household with children, he/she needs to be exposed to children as a puppy.
4. Insist on errorless housetraining – before your pup can have full run of the house they must learn the house rules. There’s no point in keeping the house rules a secret, somebody has to tell them and that’s you! Make sure you use positive reinforcement methods to keep your puppy on track.
5. Socialise your pet with people – as a rule of thumb your puppy must meet 100 people before 8 weeks of age and another 100 people in the next month after going to a new home.
6. Development of a “soft mouth”- all dogs must learn to inhibit the use of their weapons against their own kind and people. A soft mouth is the single most important quality for any dog. Hopefully, your dog will never bite or fight, but if he does, well-established bite inhibition ensures that your dog causes little if any damage.
7. Prevent adolescent problems – your dog needs to continue to socialise and meet unfamiliar people and unfamiliar dogs on a regular basis throughout adulthood.