Do you have a new four-legged best friend living with you? Or are you considering adding an adorable puppy to your family’s life?
But with a little help, you can learn how to start your puppy off on the right foot—well, technically feet, since they have four paws.
Trust us, the hard work you put in at the beginning will be well worth the reward of a happy and well-trained pup for life.
Practice Leading & Handling the Leash Properly
New puppies need to go out regularly. That’s why your first step is to learn how to lead your bounding puppy and practice handling the leash correctly.
First, you’ll want to get them used to the harness and leash itself. You can place these on the floor to start so your puppy can investigate them freely.
When your pup seems comfortable with them, slip the harness or collar on. You pup may be excited once you put these on, or he’ll sit down and stare ever so lovingly back at you.
If this happens, just start working inside until your pup is ready to move outdoors. Keep the collar on for a few minutes during the day and then add the leash only when it’s time to go out.
Once your pup gets used to this, he’ll want to lead the way during your walks. At this stage, it’s time to take over as the pack leader.
To do this, stand still any time your dog begins to pull you.
If your pup tries to lunge at people or fellow dogs, you’ll want to distract them with a trusty little treat in your pocket. By shifting the focus, they’ll forget all about what caught their eye and pay attention to your commands instead.
As for holding the leash, you don’t want to wrap it around your palm. Slip the tip of your thumb through the loop and bunch up any excess in your hand. To see what we’re referring to, check out this video.
Here’s How to Socialize Your New Puppy
Since puppies love and need walks, they’re sure to meet both people and other animals on your adventures together.
Here’s how to handle this situation with a new puppy.
First, you’ll want to start socializing young. Puppies tend to become much more cautious and wary of approaching things around the 12-week mark, so it’s best to start before this time if you can.
Next, you’ll need to pay attention to their behavior to see if they’re comfortable with passersby or if they’re a bit anxious when this happens.
If they’re uneasy, you’ll want to be careful with over-friendly dogs who come right up to your little buddy. It’s best to tell these pet parents that your pup is uncomfortable with confrontation and needs time to warm up first.
And if you have a dog on the opposite end of the rambunctious spectrum—you know, a dog who loves to run up to other dogs—you’ll want to take the lead here since not every dog (or human) enjoys this.
If this sounds like your best friend, hold the leash close to your body and keep your dog by your side. When he starts to pull, stand still so your pup knows this behavior is not okay. Once your dog settles down you can lead him towards the new stimulus.
If he starts to pull again, you’ll want to repeat standing still before approaching so he doesn’t come in too fast or close.
After a few practice sessions, your puppy will learn to approach other dogs and people with a healthy dose of excitement and politeness.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll show your pup who the pack leader is while also offering them comfort, fun, and safety on their walks. For more on the topic of walking your in-training puppy, you may also enjoy these 5 tips to having an non-combatant walk with your dog. And for general new puppy onboarding success, don’t forget to check out these 8 Things New Dog Owners Forget to Do.
Craig Davis, CEO and Chief Happiness Officer at www.vet-organics.com
Craig is the founder of Vet Organics, where he and his team share additional pet-related articles on the company’s blog. Vet Organics is an eCommerce provider of EcoEars and an array of premium natural products dedicated to the health and wellness of pets.