Whenever you get a new puppy, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Trying to figure out where to start can be difficult, especially with the amount of information available online these days. You can watch hours and hours of YouTube content about how to raise a puppy and still come out confused. That is because there is no “one best way” to raise your dog. With that being said, however, there is something you should be focusing on more than anything else – your relationship with your dog.
Why Focus On Relationship?
The relationship you build with your dog will begin on Day 1. The second you bring your new puppy home, you will begin forming a bond with them. You will need to be careful to avoid accidentally praising bad behaviors like jumping on people and reward all the good behaviors like crazy. Any time your puppy does something you like, you will need to have food and treats ready to reward the behavior. The more you do that, the better puppy you will have.
Your relationship with your dog will be based on communication, respect, and trust. With time, each of those facets will continue to improve and your dog will respect you more and more. Once you have built this extremely strong relationship between you and your dog, the obedience part comes easy. Once your dog respects you and trusts you, getting them to listen to your commands comes naturally. However, it’s a long and gradual process to build this up.
How To Build Trust
Building the trust that your dog has in you will take time, but it is something you can work on every single day. In order to build your dog’s trust, we need to guide them and teach them that we have everything under control. When our dogs are nervous, how do react? Do we try to console our dogs and baby talk them? Or do we lead them – do we guide them into better behaviors and show them that there is no need to worry?
Whenever our dogs are put into a situation that makes them nervous, how we respond and work through it is extremely important. We can use every single opportunity as a life lesson to show our dogs that we have their back. We do not/should not practice any sort of “alpha” mentally, but rather we should show strong leadership qualities to guide them. Be their leader without a heavy hand, but rather a gentle, empathetic heart.
Setting clear and consistent boundaries is one of the easiest ways to enhance communication with your dog. If you want your dog to listen and be well-behaved, they need to fully understand what you are saying. If at any moment your dog is confused or unclear about your command, the chances of them listening are very slim.
One of the best ways establish clear boundaries with your dog is the use of a crate. Crate training is crucial for not only implementing but maintaining structure for your dog. They are confined to a specific place, cannot perform any nuisance behaviors like jumping on the counters or digging, and will give them a safe place to rest. Believe it or not, crate training will drastically help to clear up the communication with your dog. A well-rested, relaxed, and calm dog will be able to focus on you even more.
Just Have Fun
Going on adventure walks, hikes through the woods, or running around a big open playground with your dog are excellent ways to simply bond with your dog. Spending 1 on 1 time with your dog is extremely important to bond without the distractions of other dogs, people, bikes, and cars in the distance. When it is just you two, your dog will be able to focus on you much more.
In order to make the most of this bonding time, make sure to bring plenty of treats ranging in value. Bring low value treats, high value treats, and everything in between. You can vary your praise and keep your dog on their toes this way to keep them guessing about what is coming next. Simple just have fun!
Need Extra Help?
If you still need additional guidance and help on how to raise your pup, check out our Services Page with details and pricing! To get in touch, simply fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible to set up some training. We have options for everybody, so let us help guide you with a fully customized and tailored training program.
We look forward to helping you live a better life with your dog!