A puppy is moving in
Finally, the new family member has arrived: A small puppy looking at you with its little dark round eyes. And from now on the new resident will keep you busy. Having a new pup is not much different from having a human child. Puppies need plenty of time, patience and most importantly, training. But how can I get the little lad to understand what I want him to do? Dogs need clear instructions. Each dog has his or her own position in the pack’s social order and the associated rights and duties.
These rules also apply to the puppy. The earlier the puppy learns these rules, the more harmonious dog and man will live together. Unfortunately, you cannot teach your dog these rules with words, they do not understand our language. But they can learn single words and associate them with a particular action. They can interpret the tone of your voice but cannot understand the meaning.
Puppies may not be left alone for long periods of time, especially at the very beginning during the all-important socialisation phase. This lays the foundation for your future relationship with your dog and is when they develop a basic trust and loyalty to you. This is achieved through spending plenty of time together, body contact and playing together. Puppies are used to having the warmth of their family and often become unsettled, especially at night. Put their bed in your bedroom so they don’t feel so abandoned. Without a mother dog as a role model, you are responsible for teaching him or her about important things like traffic, noise, as well as other people and animals. At the same time, you also need to establish the hierarchy in their new pack – with you as the “top dog”. Don’t always give in if they want to play, cuddle or go outside to clearly signal that you are the boss. Walks should start short within a small radius of your home.
The language of your little lassie
Dogs mainly communicate with their body language. Posture, gestures and facial expression are of utmost importance. Do not give your dogs long lectures they do not understand but try to understand the dog’s language. For instance, when you return home to find the carpet has been chewed, you cannot explain to your dog that this is inappropriate behaviour. Although the dog will look somewhat guilty and its posture indicates submissiveness, this is often interpreted to mean the dog has a guilty conscience.
However, this would require the dog to be capable of moralistic thought processes. In fact, your dog merely observes your own posture and tone of voice and detects that you are annoyed. In response, the dog tries to placate you, cowers and pulls in his tail. Dogs are living in the present. They can only understand praise and reprimand if they are present at the moment of action. You can praise your dog using a friendly, relatively high-pitched voice, or with food or by petting; reprimand him with a lower-pitched annoyed voice and by holding his mouth, i.e. holding your dogs mouth and press the chaps against the teeth.
Firm rules are important
Living together means obeying certain rules to establish a clear social order. This includes our own behaviour: You should not always be at the beck and call of your dog and jump immediately when the dog wants something.
If you are always available to your dog you will cease to be interesting at some point. Example: You are sitting on the couch watching TV. The puppy comes along, nudges your hand with the mouth and looks deep into your eyes. Naturally, you cannot resist and give the puppy a cuddle until he happily marches off to his bed. This teaches the dog that you are always there for him when he wants it and that he is setting the rules. So why should he come to you when call him when you are out walking? Usually you are the one to respond to his stimuli, you feed him when he begs, you play with him when he throws the ball at your feet. From now on encourage the puppy to play but call him to you if you want to cuddle him. Make sure you are not always available to your puppy, he will find you even more irresistible. It’s all about getting the right balance with your little bow-wow!
Call into your local Maxi Zoo store today to discuss your family’s personal needs with our Pet Experts.