Bring out the best in your pup and make her comfortable. Let’s learn how to do it.
1. Visit the breeder: A good breeder not only takes care of the hygiene part of raising but also makes sure that there are enough toys in the puppy pen for all the young fellows to play with. A happy and friendly mother often has puppies who are friendly and social. Spot the one who looks friendly. Remember a big part of puppy behaviour would also depend upon his upbringing in the coming years with his human family.
2. Bringing home: Pups are not furry little humans, they are different species and hence have to be raised keeping that in mind. Bring home the puppy riding in the back seat of the car. It’s easier to teach right behaviour from the very start than learning wrong first.
3. Quiet warm place to sleep: Provide a quiet warm corner for your puppy. Give him a soft bed. The best way is to put him in a crate for some time.
4. Diet change…make it a gradual process: While your breeder will happily give you the diet chart for your puppy, it is important to remember to start new diet one at a time rather than changing full day’s diet in one go. That ways puppy can adjust to the change and it’s easier to pinpoint the problems due to diet change.
5. Socialise early: Socialising the pup is very important because the socialising window shuts at five months of puppy age. So as and when you get a chance, let the pup meet other dogs and people. Since the puppy’s vaccinations come during the same period most of the pups are not exposed to outdoor life. You can always carry your pet around or take your pups for car rides and socialise them with others, even tempered dogs and pups, but always under your supervision.
6. Positive training: Since dogs learn by association, negative and positive reinforcements are the best way of teaching any behaviour.
7. Outdoor session: Training outside of the home is just as important as training inside the home (home routines, etc.)
8. Daily practice: Be gentle while training your pet. Remember to praise appropriate behaviour. Pet parents should try and train/practice with their pet every day.
9. Address behavioural problems: When you are focusing on obedience training, you should address behavioural problems. You should use both verbal and visual cues while training.
10. Let them sniff more: A dog’s brain is much more dedicated to smell as compared to the human brain, so your pet can have a lot more sniffing fun.
11. Make training fun: Training pet parents is just as important as training a pet. Incorrect training can be very harmful; therefore it’s your duty as a pet parent to ensure the same is done in the right manner. Make training fun for your pet. Create an agility course keeping your pet’s age, height and weight in mind. Teach the right thing at the right place.
(With inputs from Priti Chauhan, canine behaviourist & trainer, who has been helping dogs and pet parents for the past one decade in Pune and Sonya Kochhar of Canine Elite, a New Delhi-based professional kennel specialising in boarding and lodging of dogs and cats in their very own suites).