Bringing home a new puppy can be super exciting, but as many of us quickly find out as new pet parents, life with our little bundle of fluff isn't all fun times with the best puppy toys and snuggles on the couch. In fact, that first year with our canine companion often brings with it a whole raft of challenges that we may not have been expecting.
The team at JW Dog Training and Behavior are experts in their field and have a keen understanding of the issues that dog owners face, both in their first year and beyond. Masters when it comes to creating training sessions that are both effective and fun, their videos are geared towards helping you create a stronger bond with your four-pawed pal.
With that in mind, they've recently shared a brilliant video on Instagram that breaks down the three things you want to focus on during that first month of welcoming your puppy into your family. Zeroing in on a few things rather than trying to do everything can help ease you into the pet parenting journey slowly and help prevent those dreaded puppy blues.
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"Bringing home a new puppy can be so exciting and so overwhelming," they share in the clip which you can view above. "It can feel like there's so much you want to teach them in your new life together."
But instead of trying to tick off all those puppy training-related goals in the first month, this team of certified trainers suggest focusing on the following three things:
1. Bond with your puppy
Taking some time to build a relationship with your little fur friend is something that's well worth focusing on in those initial weeks. "Due to how challenging puppies can be, the puppy blues are real, which means it's so important to get to know your puppy and bond with them," they explain. "This makes the inevitable hard work, middle of the night potty breaks, lack of sleep, and changes in your own routine, a little easier to cope with."
2. Create a routine
Want to encourage desirable behavior and habits? Creating a routine is one of the best ways to do that. "Puppies thrive on predictability and consistency, plus a schedule is so important for potty training and making sure your puppy is getting enough sleep." The trainers also suggest that you look for behaviors throughout the day that you can reward as a way to keep your little one motivated and on track.
3. Focus on socialization
"A puppy's critical socialization window closes between 14 and 16 weeks," the trainers explain. "It's really important that they have positive experiences around anything that you want them to be comfortable with as adults. Even simple exercises where you let them check out novel objects, surfaces, sounds, etc and pair those experiences with tasty treats can teach a puppy that the world is a safe place."
The puppy phase can be exhausting, but knowing what to expect can help you to navigate those first few months with a little more ease and assist in setting your puppy up for success, both now and in the future.
Remember, puppies are like babies and training them takes time, patience and consistency. Don't be afraid to reach out to a professional dog trainer if you feel you'd like some extra support and guidance.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past three years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with a very mischievous Cocker Spaniel and a super sassy cat, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.