Puppy Expectations

A new puppy means new “tricks”.  No matter how many dogs have been part of your life, your new puppy is an individual.  Puppy raising techniques have changed, because the body of knowledge in the animal science world is always evolving and improving.  For many, family dynamics and lifestyles have also shifted.  The current puppy brings a new experience.  Benevolent leaders teach their puppies necessary life skills. 

Potty and Chewing Preferences

Don’t expect an untrained puppy to inherently prefer eliminating outdoors.  Puppies eliminate when the need arises and in places where they feel secure.  They must experience quiet exposure to an outdoor potty place and meaningful reinforcement for eliminating there.  Piles and puddles will happen indoors, so manage well to minimize “accidents” during house training. 

Puppies explore the world with their mouths.  They are, simply, guessing, and investigating objects that look and smell interesting.  Natural preferences revolve around accessibility, scents, and textures.  This explains why shoes, wood, and fabrics offer chewing appeal.  To install a preference, we must teach our puppies which objects are off-limits to them and provide appropriate ones for them to chew.  

Correction Words

Don’t expect your puppy to change his behavior when you say “No” and “Stop”.  These function only as interrupters.  If an alternative behavior or activity is not provided, your puppy is likely to return to the undesirable one.   Basic obedience cues and enrichment activities are the best strategies for this redirection.  Puppies thrive on structure and can learn to look to us for direction.  It’s called “good leadership”.

If correction words and punitive reactions on our part are the only tools in the box, the puppy suffers.  He never learns skills:  only what NOT to do.

Calm Responses

Don’t expect your puppy to respond with a calm demeanor to many daily stimuli.  Puppies have low thresholds and become excited, displaying a repertoire of over-arousal behaviors, with seemingly little stimulation.  They have little life experience and haven’t worked out most people, places, and things.  Gradual exposure works best, always with information and direction from the trusted human. 

Puppy raising is a process.  Teaching and management plans can be implemented within a week of your puppy’s arrival.  Daily routines and lots of patience can result in a mannerly and well-adjusted adult. 

Copyright © Kimberly B. Mandel   CPDT-KA, 2020 all rights reserved

Kimberly Mandel Canine Behavior and Training LLC