Adopting a new puppy is an exciting addition to your family. Puppies add significantly to the overall happiness of your home and will enrich your lives if they are good canine citizens. Training your puppy is critical to teaching him or her these positive attributes. Teaching helps puppies to develop his or her mind and creates a positive environment conducive to forming enduring, successful, constructive habits.
Every dog must be reliably housebroken. House soiling is an unacceptable trait for the vast majority of households. It is however one of the most challenging positive habits to create for your pet. I suggest crate training as my method of choice for house breaking. House breaking requires a great deal of work and attention in the first weeks or months; be persistent and do not give up.
Feeding a high-quality, highly digestible food is also helpful in that it results in less fecal production and therefore decreases the chance that they will defecate in the house.
Walking on a leash
Exercise is important to the health of any animal, and walking your dog is an excellent method of exercise. Dogs that constantly pull on the leash or bark at every passerby, vehicle, or other dog are not pleasant to walk with. Walking is also a way to bond with your dog and will build a wealth of good memories, if your pet is well behaved. My dog knows it is time to walk just by someone picking up the leash and walking toward the door.
I strongly suggest the gentle leader collar when training your dog to walk. I have had clients report to me that this collar is a miracle and has saved more than one dog from euthanasia due to behavioral problems. The gentle leader collar utilizes natural pressure points on your dog that naturally show them that they need to respond in the manner that we advocate. Start now with your puppy to develop good walking habits.
Teaching your dog to come when called
In a perfect world your dog would never be in a situation that would result in he or she running in a non-fenced area off of the leash. Since we live in an imperfect world chances are that your dog will slip out of their collar or harness or run out of the house after a squirrel as you open the door. When this happens you must be able to call your dog and have them obediently respond to you and return to the safety of the leash or home. Whether or not they do could mean the difference between life and death for them.
Teaching them to stand quietly for a veterinary exam
Okay so this may be a bit self-serving but I see so many patients that are difficult to examine because they are ill-mannered or just so fearful that it’s impossible — or not safe — to perform a full exam. This is the most important aspect of the visit to your veterinarian’s office. Having a well-mannered and well-adjusted dog will go a long way to increase your veterinarian’s ability to accurately diagnose and subsequently treat your dog.
Training a good canine citizen is not easy but for the vast majority of dogs, well within your abilities. It takes time and effort but if you will make the commitment you will not regret it. Your efforts will pay off in the form of a dog that will be more than just a pet. They will become part of your family and will more than make up for your hard work by repaying you with years of quality time that you both will cherish.