Arguably one of the most popular questions in dog training is, “When should I begin training my puppy?” The simple answer is NOW. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to do formal obedience sessions, but it does mean begin teaching them the proper way to act and what is expected.
If your puppy is doing something, you need to ask yourself, “Do I want him doing this when he is 5 years old and 80 lbs?” I would venture to say that the reason why a lot of owners give up their dogs to shelters is because they never had forethought that the way their puppy was acting now, is the way they would want them to act as an adult.
It’s cute and fun if your puppy mouths your hand, but people hate it, and some find it scary when their adult dog does it to them. Your family and guests love to encourage your puppy to jump on them when they come over to visit, but they find it rude and annoying when he does it three years from now at 60 lbs. Some think it is ok to have their puppy on their bed or couch, but a lot of people complain that their adult German Shepherd growls at them when a guest tries to push them off the furniture.
When raising a puppy, it is important to make sure that you are not encouraging/reinforcing a behavior that you would not want them to display as adults. The dog will not, and cannot, decipher that it was ok as a puppy to do, but not as an adult. It is unfair to expect them to do that. You as the responsible owner and guardian must think critically for him.
If you’re reading this, and you have the adult dog who is displaying undesirable behaviors that he learned as a puppy, don’t feel like your circumstance is hopeless, improvements can certainly be made. We just need to address them now, instead of letting them become more ingrained. See my article entitled: Your Present Circumstances...
To all you puppy owners out there, please take advantage of these formative years with your puppy. They are great learning and training times. The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true. Quite honestly, an ounce of prevention with a puppy, just might be the cure that keeps an adult dog out of the pound. Let’s set our dogs up for success from a puppy, so we can “Change the World” for dogs.