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Starting off on the right foot (er, paw) with your new puppy

Your puppy already knows how to behave like a puppy. It is your responsibility to teach your puppy what he needs to know to fit in well with your family and lifestyle. Your training methods should focus on reinforcing good behavior as opposed to punishing bad behavior. Both you and your puppy will be happier and less frustrated if you redirect your puppy to an acceptable behavior rather than simply punish an undesired behavior.

There is a tremendous advantage in starting training early. It is easier to teach a puppy how to be polite and what are acceptable behaviors from the start rather than trying to re- train undesired behaviors in an adolescent or adult dog.

While a young pup has the attention span of a gnat and can’t be expected to maintain enough focus for long training sessions, you can, and should, begin with the basics as soon as the pup comes into your home.

Some of those basics are simply teaching your pup self-control. Several self-control exercises have been covered in previous articles.

The most important thing to remember is that while your puppy is awake it is always learning – and if you don’t control the environment what your pup learns may not be what you would like it to learn.
 

For more information: National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors; ABC Dog Training LLC

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