There are few things more exciting than bringing home a new puppy. The first weeks and months are crucial for setting the foundation for a lifelong partnership between people and their dogs. A frequent question is, “How do I bond with my pup?” With playtime, of course! Puppies that enjoy playing are more likely to become comfortable around people. The more puppies and their humans play, the closer they will grow and the better they will trust and understand one another.
It’s never too early to start clicker training—and that goes for both dogs and humans! One of the benefits of clicker training is that it works for learners of any age. Getting kids involved with clicker training not only helps them bond with their puppies, but also teaches them how to interact with dogs in a way that is fun and safe for both. Child and dog safety directly correlate to the quality of the relationship that is built between them through training.
Mouthy puppy problems? While it’s completely normal for puppies to bite, chew, and mouth people’s hands, it’s important to teach puppies what is appropriate to bite and what is not. When a puppy begins nibbling at fingers or toes while playing, try redirecting the puppy’s attention (and teeth!) to a fun toy!
Socializing puppies with other dogs is important; it teaches them how to be relaxed and confident when they meet new friends. However, a common mistake that many people make is introducing puppies to too many dogs, too casually, and too soon. Not only are those circumstances overwhelming for many young puppies, but they also increase the likelihood that the puppies will become anxious and fearful in the presence of other dogs.
While there’s so much that goes into getting puppies off to a great start, puppy socialization classes can play a pivotal role! Positive exposures to as many sounds, sights, textures, and scents is critical to raising well-adjusted, confident puppies.
You want to interact with your puppy but, ouch, those little razor-sharp teeth! Puppy biting is a completely normal part of puppy development, but it’s important to teach puppies not to bite so that it doesn’t continue into adulthood.
During the pandemic, many people have opted for private consults over group puppy classes. The consults can be done in-home or virtually and provide more personalized attention than in a group setting. Private consults can be customized to the dog’s learning style and, since they are private, there is no need to travel or share space with other dogs. With fewer distractions, many dogs and their caregivers find that the training is less stressful!
Puppy socialization is not just about playing with other puppies or being petted by humans. Practicing body handling, introducing novel objects, and desensitizing puppies to sounds are all key steps for ensuring that puppies are comfortable in all situations. The goal is to create fun and positive experiences, not just any ordinary exposures! In this video, KPA CTP Holly Ovington demonstrates how to expose your puppy to a multitude of situations and environments.
Vet visits are stressful for many dogs. Being placed on strange surfaces and touched all over your body with strange objects can be unnatural and frightening. However, a vet visit doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience! By getting your puppy comfortable with what might happen at the vet before the first visit, you can help minimize those fears and have a profound impact on how your puppy views vet visits!
Training puppies? Consider incorporating a stationing platform into your training plan! A stationing platform provides many benefits. It not only serves as a designated and safe space for training, but it exposes puppies to novel surfaces, keeps puppies focused (the puppies will know that it’s training time), and helps you observe and manage behavior. Platforms also help you manipulate body position more precisely so that core skills can be learned more quickly, a powerful advantage for dog sports. You will be amazed to see the many ways that you can use a platform!