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Raising a Social Pup Starts With These 4 Principles

It takes time and effort to raise a happy, social pup. These four puppy training principles will kickstart the process! But first, let’s separate the facts from the fiction when it comes to training.

Myth vs. Reality

The Myth: Puppies are sweet little balls of furry fun who magically follow you around, quietly occupy themselves while you work from home, and automatically know when to sit and stay when out in public.

The Reality: Puppies are mini-raptors capable of great destruction, noisy opinions, and reactive leash behaviors in front of other people or dogs. Luckily, the puppy reality phase is temporary.

With a little guidance from experts and consistent at-home training, little puppy-raptors can become the dream companion you were expecting when you brought your dog home.

4 Principles for Puppy Success

1) Go slow. Take baby steps when working with a puppy. Do not be afraid to backtrack and repeat materials.

2) Keep it positive. Make training fun so your puppy loves to work with you. Use lots of food and toy rewards.

3) Build on natural behaviors. Dogs love to sniff, hunt, track, and chase. Create games to bring out these natural desires.

4) Document the journey. Keep records of what you work on and regularly review progress and areas that need more attention.

Yes, it takes time and effort to raise a well-behaved, furry family member. But your little pup wants nothing more than to work and play with you in pursuit of that goal.

Online Puppy Training

Many people adopted a puppy during the pandemic and many were not expecting the amount of time it takes to responsibly raise a “new baby.” Combined with pandemic restrictions and fewer in-person puppy classes, some young dogs missed out on vital training and socialization opportunities.

“Socialization of new puppies is critical to developing any canine as a confident dog,” said Stacey West, a manager with the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Patriotic Puppy Program. “Also, consistency of effort and training techniques is key to developing a great dog, whether it’s a detection dog or a family pet.”

The foundational training program that West uses for her pups is now available to everyone for free through the AKC. The Confident Puppy course was designed for working dogs, but its key training principles offer proven direction to all puppies as they grow and learn.


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