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Establishing A Healthy Relationship With Your New Puppy

Establishing A Healthy Relationship With Your New Puppy

When you bring your new puppy home, you'll want to make him feel good while he's lying down or on his back. Give him a little stroke or an encouraging word. But don't overdo it. If you make the pup stay in that posture and he stays there, it teaches him a lesson both in submission and in dominance. That may seem okay. But the problem is that the dog also learns confrontation, not just with other dogs but also with people.

Dogs can be taught to be compliant without using force and confrontation. Do not shake him by the scruff of the neck and pin him to the ground, even though that's what wolves occasionally do to establish dominance. No matter how many times you've been told that you are the alpha animal, the fact is that people-dog relationships are not like wolf-wolf relationships. Dogs' teeth can inflict more damage than people's hands, so the wise thing to do here is not to start the confrontation.

Instead, start out with a companion-animal relationship where there's mutual respect for each other's roles (yours is to communicate direction, his' is to respond appropriately). Your dog will try to please you and be compliant, and you will praise him for doing so.

This is the kind of relationship you want to start as soon as you bring the puppy home, even before you take him to puppy kindergarten or hire a trainer to get him under control. Don't physically force your new pet to do things that he's not ready to do. Let him get used to one room at a time. Make sure that you keep track of when he is getting overly excited. This is your cue to say to him, "Settle!" or "Outside!" The word or phrase you use is up to you.

Try to go out the same door each time for the same activity. You will need to take him outside and stand there while he sniffs around and pees or poops, and you say, "Good Boy" then go indoors and play with him in a different location, so that he gets the idea that when we go to this one spot it's time to pee or poop, and when we go out a different door to another spot, that's where we play.

As you start to teach your dog good house-training techniques, you will also want to put him on a regular pattern of eating, usually three times a day at first. Occasionally, a pup will not seem too interested in eating. Besides finding out what he was eating when you acquired him, and offering him tidbits of chicken and beef from your fingers to whet his appetite, puppies like some company when they go to the food bowl. So if there is a litter-mate or a neighborhood puppy about the same age as yours who would like a dinner date, let them eat side by side a few times in the location you've chosen for daily feeding.

The idea is to make him comfortable and get him into a routine of regular eating, sleeping, elimination, and walking. Make sure that you don't do unpleasant things with your hands. Don't let your puppy start to chew or nibble on your fingers or hands. Even if the nibbling doesn't hurt now, it will hurt when he gets older and can lead to a bad habit that's difficult to break. Very soon, you'll be getting to know your new pet very well.

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