Puppy Training – Why is it so important?

puppy training

Give them what they need from Day 1

Puppies are cute. This is a universal truth which unfortunately leads to humans letting their pups get away with far worse behaviour than most owners would ever accept from adult dogs. But prevention is better than cure, as the old adage goes, and it is a great deal trickier to rectify bad behaviour once it is already ingrained.

All too many dog owners wait until there is a noticeable problem with their dog’s behaviour before deciding to act upon it. In fact, many are lulled into a false sense of security by their puppy’s “excellent behaviour” and believe they have lucked out with a pooch who requires no active training, when they are simply failing to read the early warning signals. Some of those signs include jumping ‘playfully’, nudging with their nose to be petted, handing you a paw or a toy to ask you to play, or standing tall on your lap. All of these behaviours can be mistaken as loving or playful, when in fact they are an example of your puppy asserting his dominance.

By the time your dog is an adult, if they have not been properly trained then you will likely end up with a canine friend who is displaying a range of far more obvious, far less ‘cute’ behavioural problems. Some owners, at this stage, enrol in training school or take other measures to correct the bad behaviour. This is the right thing to do, but it would have been much easier to have taken these steps while their puppy was still young.

Other owners, when confronted with an aggressive or otherwise badly behaved dog, decide their pet is too much to handle or too dangerous to be around their kids. This is why we see so many adult dogs in animal shelters having a tough time finding a new owner who is willing to take them on and invest time and effort into correcting their bad habits, when they would much rather take home a ‘cute puppy’ – and so the cycle repeats.

These behavioural traits seen in badly behaved adult dogs are the consequence of the dog’s belief that he is pack leader. That’s right! Contrary to popular belief, your pup is not a member of your family, but (if he has been allowed to believe it) you are a member of his pack. All dogs are pack animals, descended from wolves, and they are not capable of feeling the same range of emotions as humans.

One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is projecting their own emotions onto their pup, when dogs simply do not have the cognitive ability to feel that way. Many owners mistakenly believe a submissive dog is depressed and in need of some TLC, when in reality he is behaving quite naturally for a well-rounded dog who respects his pack leader (and is actually quite happy that he does not have the arduous responsibility of taking care of all of ‘his’ humans!).

Establishing a hierarchy within the pack is especially essential when there are (human) children at home. Children are even more likely than adults to show a puppy excessive levels of affection and play without balancing it with any authority or discipline. Additionally, children are more likely to act excited around the puppy, which he senses and thrives on. In no time, your puppy will have taken his place as their pack leader, and – as far as he is concerned – he will own your children. This can lead to a number of troubling behaviours which may end up putting your children and others at risk, and is why you must work on correctly training your puppy from DAY ONE.

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