Have a new puppy or are thinking about it? It can be really overwhelming, and sometimes, you have to learn things the hard way because every dog is different. But, that doesn't have to be for everything! Here are some of the things that I learned the hard way, so you don't have to.
Start from day 1
This is super, duper important. I have heard wait a few days, but in my opinion, if you let a dog get used to that environment, without having a leader to guide them as to what they should be doing, then they become the leader themselves and that can get you into trouble.
From the very beginning, you should begin training. Start with the basics. Sit, wait, and their name are good starters to get you going on the track to good manners.
2. Crate train
Okay, okay, a lot of people tell you this. And they're right. Crate training can save you a lot of headache. Give them a reward every single time they go into the crate and they will learn to love it. When they come out of the crate, do not give them lots of attention, or treats. In this way, they will not get rewarded for coming out of the crate, but they will for going in.
You should also continue to crate train into adulthood, even if you don't think you need it. You may trust your dog enough to not destroy your house, but in case of an emergency and your dog has to stay in a crate at the vet, or someone else's house, it will be ingrained in them that it is still okay to be in the crate.
3. Get them used to noises
So it's pretty well known that some dogs are terrified of fireworks, or thunder. My dog sleeps through it all. Maybe because he was just born that way, or maybe because I got him used to those noises as a wee pup. We adopted Levi in late February, so there weren't many thunderstorms or fireworks happening anytime soon. This is where Youtube videos came in handy.
When Levi was sleeping, and in a very calm state, I used to sit with him, and play fireworks videos, or thunderstorms, or motorcycles. We didn't do this every day, but we did it pretty often and it has seemed to paid off since July Fourth and summer thunderstorms have gone unnoticed by him.
4. Get them used to the collar, harness, car rides, etc.
Similar to above, start all of these things early, and often. It is not recommended to start a puppy off with a leash attached to a collar, but a harness is okay. They should still get used to the feeling of a collar around their neck.
The same goes for car rides. Whether or not you will be bringing your dog with you everywhere, they will at some point need to get into a car. Don't let it be a surprise to them. In the beginning, make a point to take them in the car with you, where they will normally sit (ex. don't keep them in the front seat with you, if they will eventually exclusively sit in the back).
5. Rotate toys
Do you get bored of doing the same things over and over again? Dogs can get bored too. But that doesn't mean you have to have an endless supply of toys to make them happy (although if you want to do that, go for it!). An easier way to prevent boredom is to rotate your dogs toys.
That means split the toys into 2 or 3 groups. Your dog will get a different group of toys each week or 2. This keeps the toys fresh and exciting for your dog!
The task of having a well adapted, socialized dog, especially in the time of COVID can be a super overwhelming task. Just know you're not alone! There are so many #dogmoms who have been through all the same before, so don't be afraid to ask for help.