There are as many ways to raise a puppy as there are by raising a child. In fact, one way per family in general! But most of us agree that when it comes to children, certain things are universal and undisputed. Here are three things that a lot of people just do not think of when it comes to raising their dogs, however. How many times have we heard, “My dog just won’t listen to me”, or “He just won’t behave!”
1. Dogs do not understand English until we teach them.
The thing we all love about puppies the most is the way they live for us, the way they focus all they have on us, the way our lives become theirs. In the beginning, they study us to learn our body language, our facial expressions, and our language. Until we teach them the English language, it’s all they have. If we say, “Want to go out?” one day, “Have to go potty?” the next day, and, “Hafta pee?” the third day, if they DO figure out what we want, it is because we have picked up the leash and moved toward the door with a happy face! If you want to speed up his training by three-fold, teach him YOUR language. Pick a command for EACH behavior and stick with it. Tell all in your family to use the same words and commands, and your puppy will amaze you at how much faster he learns.
2. A young puppy’s metabolism is racing along faster than we think.
The younger your puppy is, the faster he is growing, the more food and water he needs to fuel his metabolism, and the more often he has to go potty. Do not punish your puppy when he makes a house-breaking mistake. These are YOUR fault. Your puppy’s age in weeks and his breed size determine how often he must go out. Once an hour is not too often for a large 6-week old puppy, especially if it is summer. Dogs love the exciting smells outdoors, so there is no excuse to not have him housebroken by 7-8 weeks of age. Right after a nap, after he eats, and after grooming are the key times, and he will signal you. If he is happily chewing a toy and gets up suddenly with his nose to the floor, move quickly! And every time he goes potty outside, praise him to high heaven! “What a good BOY!”, “GOOD go potty!” and the like. Dogs love our happy faces, and they will do anything to get it.
3. Dogs live for our facial expressions and body language.
Because of this, the worst punishment you ever need to give your dog is a scowl and to turn away from him. You can see his tail fall down and his face gets so sad. He will learn the lesson, I guarantee it. But his attention span is only 3-5 minutes, so do not scorn him any longer. Love him up and give him your happy face again. Physical punishment is never necessary. Use consistent commands and loving praise, and he will know what you want of him before you know. He will become a master of your body language and facial expressions in no time at all.
Naturally, there are many aspects of training your puppy well. Loving-kindness works just as well for puppies as it does with children, creating a happy, well-adjusted, and obedient dog for life. These three important tips, used consistently with confidence, will start him well on his way.