You've prepped your home, purchased the treats, toys and crate....You're well equipped for your puppy's homecoming! Or are you?
Your puppy may have little need for physical items when they come home, but what they will need from day one is confident leadership. That leadership will need to come from you, your puppy's primary caregiver. From your first encounter with your puppy, you will begin to develop a bond with your puppy that will be largely molded by your confidence, consistency, structure and love.
Therefore, it is very important to understand how your puppy/dog communicates and from the first meeting, presenting yourself as a calm and confident presence.
I want to advise you that it is extremely important to begin the process of training, and to continue your puppy’s socialization from the time you bring puppy home.
Puppies, like children, need guidance and strong pack leadership from the very beginning. A puppy with a loving, yet firm, confident pack leader, will be more secure in themselves and understand their order in your “pack”.
There are many amazing trainers out there in the community, as well as those who post on YouTube or have video series, so be sure to do your research to find training resources that advocate positive reinforcement! A Google search online can also provide great insight on pack leadership and how it impacts your relationship with your dog.
Of note....The training that you receive should have a dual focus. Your puppy is not the only one who should benefit from training….You and your family should as well….A lot of what goes right, and what goes wrong in puppy/dog training and socialization has more to do with OUR knowledge and attitude, than it does with the dog itself. Whether you’ve never trained a puppy before, or even if it’s been some time since you’ve brought a new puppy/dog into the home, I strongly recommend taking some time NOW, if you have not already done so, and look into some training/socialization resources, that will either strengthen your current knowledge or provide you with new insight that you may not have considered.
Pack leadership…It is crucial in your relationship with your puppy/dog. I have bolded the term because it’s just that important.
Early training? Yes, I highly recommend it. It should begin as soon as you walk in the door with your puppy….Many trainers and facilities that do training will at least want the first set of vaccinations and/or proof of rabies vaccine prior to working with a puppy. However, there are trainers that can be hired to come into the home as well. This can be extremely helpful in getting puppy off on the right foot without having to wait for full vaccination.
Socialization…Try to get your puppy to see and experience many new things. I cannot emphasize this enough!! If you have friends and/or family who have socially friendly and gentle dogs, that are up to date on their vaccinations, consider having playdates with these furry friends (consider the size of the dog versus the size of your puppy; safety first). This will help your puppy to grow socially and be more easily accepting of other dogs outside of their pack. Another option: If you have local “pet friendly” stores (we are able to take our dogs into Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Lowe’s), consider taking your puppy for a social outing. I would bring a soft, clean blanket or towel to put in the seating area of a cart, place your puppy in the cart and walk around the store.