5 Tips for Raising a Happy Puppy

1) Teach your puppies well:

These song lyrics do not only apply to children. By taking the time to teach your dog how to navigate the most common everyday situations they may encounter, (vs. expecting them to “figure it out” on their own) you are not only preventing a potential disaster or at the very least the development of bad habits, but you are also giving them an impression of what to do in the environments and interactions you will be sharing daily for the rest of your lives.

2) Potty Training:

Unfortunately too many new puppy owners get bad advice on how to housebreak their dog and use methods like pee pads or doggie doors as a way to try to teach their dog how to use the bathroom outdoors. The rationale is that the dog will know when to go and seek out these conveniences as a way to relive themselves. Although these methods are appropriate if your dog has a medical issue or has been taught proper housebreaking skills prior to their use (a doggie door can be a great thing!) a dog needs to develop the association of going to the bathroom outdoors and learn how to “hold it” as early as possible for increasingly longer periods of time as they mature. This is so they may learn as an adult dog how to wait for you to let them out so they know when to “go” on command and to (sorry for this one guys…) “empty” themselves so they may “hold it” comfortably until the next schedule potty break you decide as a conscious and responsible dog owner. Unlike humans, all dogs are capable of learning how to do this! Quite frankly, the only adult cases I see in my Los Angeles dog training practice with housebreaking problems are the ones who were either taught it was ok to go indoors with wee wee pads or were taken out too frequently when they should have learned how to “hold it” a better. This can be all avoided by develop a constant bathroom schedule from the start with your new puppy. Please visit my other articles that describe puppy potty training in more detail on my website’s bog dogtrainingla.com
3) Socialization, Socialization, Socialization:

Need I say more? I cannot stress how dogs who were not socialized or improperly introduced to people, dogs, places, etc. as a puppy is the number one reason I have a job! Invest in your dogs future and get them out into the world and allow them to experience as much as possible while they are young and most impressionable. There are countless dog parks, daycares, playgroups,, and of course other dog owners all Los Angeles and beyond.
4) Basic Training for Puppies:

Teaching your dog basic commands (Heel, Sit, Down, Come, etc.) as early as possible will create a lasting imprint so your dog training commands can be relied upon consistently if needed in a real life situation. You should begin to imprint basic commands the day you get your pup home. The myth that you should wait 4-6 months until you begin training your puppy is nonsense. A dog is constantly learning from the day it is born and you can seize the opportunity to begin teaching your dog the right associations from day one! I have seen first hand what happens if an owner waits to long for some more difficult dogs to start their education. Even a few months can make a big difference in how hard you need to work to get your dog on the right track to being well mannered and listen as an adult when the chips are down. Begin teaching with treats and to build performance / enthusiasm, but make sure you do not rely on them always to get your dog to listen so they can trust that what you say is safest for them regardless of what is in your hand as a bribe.

5) Have fun!:

Although there will be you are having to train your dog when all you want to do instead is indulge in the strong emotions you feel towards them. This is, of course why you got a puppy in the first place and for the most part, completely appropriate. Just always be aware of the times when training and guidance may be a greater priority than indulging in our human impulses. If only as a means to prevent more severe future problems. By taking the time to be a balanced and aware new puppy owner you will be rewarded with a well mannered adult dog who you can actually love and enjoy!

Brett Endes, The Dog Savant is a professional dog trainer and author with over 20 years experience specializing in problem behavior and puppy development counseling. The Dog Savant hosts a weekly podcast and is currently developing a web-based show to promote his message of canine behavior awareness. Brett takes a unique approach to dog behavior like no other trainer. His methods are based on psychology and principals of meditation along with a dog’s natural way of communication. Brett has been affectionately called, “The man with a dog’s brain”. He is available for private consulting of individual clients and speaking engagements in the greater Los Angeles area and worldwide. To learn more about Brett or for contact info please visit his website: dogtrainingLA.com