Congrats on getting your new puppy! Here’s my advice. Do Nothing! Well, to you it will feel like nothing but once you understand the thinking behind this you’ll hit yourself in the head. DUH! How can you relate when you don’t even know each other? If you’re a parent I know you’ll relate to this. When your baby is born don’t you just sit and stare and just marvel at this little being fully formed yet learning leaps and bounds every second. Your pup is this same miraculous being who is learning who, what, where and why of everything in her world and it’s your job to see how she does it.
Observe! I know I keep talking about observation but if I teach you one thing it will be to have you hone in on your observation skills.
It takes about 3 weeks for a puppy to adjust to your home (her new environment). During these 3 weeks you are watching your pup to see how she moves and breaths in her world. In this period of observation you are also training as you both get to know one another. There are really only 3 things that you’ll be focusing on training-wise and these are: housebreaking, playful biting (puppy nipping) and chewing. That is, teaching your pup where you want her to go potty, teaching her that chewing on you is inappropriate and chewing on anything but her chew toys isn’t acceptable. You can of course teach much more and you are without even realizing it but your focus needs to be on seeing what kind of pup you have.
Do you have a pup who’s active or more low-key; a quick learner or takes a little more time to process what you are trying to teach; an engaged pup or one who is more interested in the surroundings than you; a mouthy pup or one who is satisfied with just playing/chewing on her own toys or do you have a talkative pup whining or barking to get your attention or a more quiet one.
By observing your pup you’ll begin to see how you’ll be training her. Will you need to be high energy or will you need to tone things down a bit because her energy is over the top.
There’s no rush to start more formal training in these first couple of weeks as it’s more important to do nothing but observe during this adjustment phase. Who is this new little being that you brought into your home and how will you be able to bring out the best in her?
While you’re observing in these first 3 weeks, you will find the Dog Decoder App about canine body language right there in the palm of your hands to be a huge help. Check out the stress signals or the calming signals. Is she fearful or does she get overly excited? Learning to read her body language will facilitate your success in training which translates to a greater bond as the two of you grow together.
A wonderful short book to get you started Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How To Start Your Puppy Off Right is just what you need right now. Stay tuned, I’ll be adding blogs about raising puppies, too.
You can find Dog Decoder app in itunes
In Google play
Have fun. Sit back and relax…. while you’re observing of course.
About the author: Jill Breitner, is a professional dog trainer and dog body language expert loving and living her life on the west coast of the USA. She is the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language recommended and used by veterinarians, shelters, trainers, educators and guardians worldwide. Jill has been teaching gentle handling/basic husbandry skills to clients and their dogs for 40 years, to be your pets advocate for a happier and stress free life. Join Jill on her Dog Decoder Facebook page