Who’s Your Doggy? Creating puppy power, part two

Last month in part one we talked about creating good feelings and experiences for your puppy so he/she grows into a confident and resilient adult dog who sees the world as a good and safe place. Here are more tips for socializing and training your puppy to live comfortably in the world and behave politely:

· Teach your puppy that being touched and handled is a good thing. Touch all parts of your puppy’s body briefly and then feed a treat. Gradually build up your puppy’s receptivity to the handling and physical contact required to care for him/her throughout their life, including visits to the veterinarian and groomer.

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· Teach your puppy to love his/her mat. Plant tiny treats on your puppy’s mat or bed so that when they return to it, they find treasure. The mat will become a “home away from home” you can take on outings.

· Feed the shoe: A lot of puppies and dogs jump up to greet. To discourage this behaviour, feed your shoe. By placing tiny treats on your shoe you encourage your puppy to look and stay down when greeting a person. This will help to foster a lifelong habit of greeting people politely.

· Name game. Teach your puppy that saying his/her name means something wonderful will happen. Say your puppy’s name and when they look at you, give them a treat. Later, the name game can become the foundation for coming when called.

Remember, your puppy is always learning from the environment and other people and dogs around them, not just when you are socializing or training them. Be your puppy’s advocate and ensure he/she learns to feel safe and comfortable in the world. You and your puppy will reap the benefits for years to come.

Watch for more tips next month.

Sandy Middleton is a dog trainer and behaviour consultant based in Powell River. For more information, go to bestfriendsdogtraining.ca.

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