Is your dog a spoilt brat?

You may hear many dog owners starting sentences of complaints as: “My dog does not know how to behave” or “My dog is a spoilt dog”. But when you ask them if they ‘helped’ the dog to learn or not, they look at you with questioning eyes. They expect the dog to think and act with a ‘human brain’. If you just bring the puppy to your home and let him decide how to behave, he starts behaving proper to his ‘doggy mind’.

Thus early training is very essential and important, it starts from ‘day one’. Positively teach your dog what you expect.
Training by mom dog…
Despite some old and wrong beliefs, learning starts on ‘day one’ of each living creature’s life. For a puppy, at least the first 8 or even better if 10 weeks, are spent with the mother and the litter-mates. The puppies who are taken away from their litters earlier than that, most probably develop some behaviour problems. During the first month, the mother gives the pup the first understanding of ‘toilet training’. At first, she helps and also cleans the puppy, and then teaches her ‘not to do it’ where she sleeps. During her second month, the pup plays with her litter-mates and learns how to use her mouth, control her jaw muscles and experience ‘soft mouthing’. If the puppy cannot spend this precious time with her mother and litter-mates, she might take a little bit longer to learn toilet training and the valuable lesson of not to bite while playing.
Training by breeder…
A conscious breeder should also be giving enough time and effort to the puppy during these days. It is great for the puppy to have ‘human contact’ even before she leaves her litter to start a new life in her new home with her new family.
Training at your home…
Ankita and her bundle of joy
It is the pet parent’s responsibility to help the puppy learn the rules of her new life shared with humans and this responsibility of yours will definitely start on her “day 1” with you. It will be even better if you contact a Positive Trainer for consultancy even before you bring the dog home, cause if you do so, you may choose the ‘right dog for you and your life-style’ and prepare the house for her to start with ‘zero-mistakes’.
Shaping your pooch’s behaviour…
The period between the ages of two months to four months is called as the ‘critical socialization period’ for the puppy. During this time, her character and behaviours is shaped. It is not that important to hurry to give the dog ‘obedience training’, which means to teach how to sit, how to come, how to wait etc as she can learn these at any age. But it is very important to teach her ‘how to behave’ or ‘shape her character’ as after her first four months are over, it will be too late for that. After that time, you can only ‘correct’ her mistakes, ‘rehabilitate’ her behaviour problems or try to ‘control’ or ‘reduce’ her characteristic faults.
Between 2-4 months, the puppy should be exposed to any kind of experience that she will face in the future. But this ‘exposing’ should be done very carefully, slowly and gradually. We should be very careful to watch her limits, never to force her but let her do and experience things with her own will. Some people misunderstand the word ‘socialization’ and think ‘it is to experience anything possible’. But, when it is not under a careful supervision, it may even cause harm instead of helping the little puppy. For example, it does not mean to ‘let her play’ with any dog you meet. The new dog friends that she will experience should be dogs who are healthy and well-mannered dogs and you should be 100 percent sure that they can tolerate the hyperactive puppy.
The basic instinct…
When a puppy starts living with humans instead of her mother and litter-mates, in fact, this becomes a very confusing situation for her. In her natural life, she never shares the environment with humans. Even if she does, it is still her environment, which is “nature”. Unfortunately many people expect only proper human behaviours from puppies, without helping them to learn anything. If you just bring the puppy to your home and let her decide how to behave, she will start behaving proper to her ‘doggy mind.’ When you examine ‘unwanted dog behaviours’, you may also see they are only unwanted by humans, but on the other hand they are so ‘wanted’ and natural for dogs.
Adopting from a shelter…
If you are adopting a dog from a shelter she might be of any age. And when we emphasize ‘the importance of early training’, do not think it is not a good idea to get a dog from a shelter. Positive training can be used for any dog, regardless of the age or breed, and even it does not matter if the dog is pure-breed or a mixed dog. So always be understanding and compassionate to give a dog a second chance.
Learning should start early – but it’s a never ending process. Remember, ‘every dog deserves an education – and for sure, the earlier, the better.’

(The author is managing director, Positive-S Training & Communications, StarDogs Positive Training, Turkey).