Having your arm pulled out of its socket during walks is no fun. Even if your puppy stays small forever, all dogs need to know leash manners. The traditional meaning of the word heel is to have the dog walk close to your left side, but you can pick the side that feels most comfortable.
Your puppy’s first lesson in heeling should happen during your first walk together. Start by positioning them so they’re standing by your side facing forward. Use their favorite squeaky toy or a tasty treat in your opposite hand and hold it out in front of them. As you step forward and say the word “heel,” you want your puppy to follow the prize and step forward with you. If they get distracted, squeak the toy or call their name. For the first several tries, reward your pup after a few steps. As they get better, try keeping their focus for longer. Once they get the hang of heeling, drop the toy and rely on the verbal cue alone.
9. Go To Your Place
When your dog is overenthusiastic about greeting visitors, excited for their impending dinner time, or they’re about to do something mischievous, you’ll wish they knew a “place” command. It’s all about redirecting your dog’s energy toward a learned behavior that keeps them out of trouble and also satisfies their need to do something—even if that something is waiting patiently.
The first thing you’ll need to teach your new puppy “place” is an area that belongs 100% to your dog—a dog bed, mat, or crate are the best options. Your goal is to teach your dog the “place” command so no matter what’s going on around them, they’ll know the best things happen when they’re in their place. To do this trick correctly, your pup will also need to know the cues for “sit” or “down” and “stay.” Best Friends Animal Society suggests introducing the trick this way:
“With the arm that is closest to the mat, toss a treat onto it. As soon as the dog steps onto the mat, use a clicker or say your marker word (e.g., “yes”). Once the dog has eaten the treat, get his attention, say your release word (e.g., “free”) and toss another treat, this time off the mat.”
After several repetitions, try doing it by pointing to the place, and only toss the treat after your puppy is in the right position.
10. How to be Alone
Dogs with separation anxiety howl for hours, destroy furniture, go to the bathroom inside, and hurt themselves trying to escape. It’s a serious behavioral issue, and it’s your job to do everything you can to ensure it doesn’t affect your dog. You’ll be tempted to smother your new puppy with all your love and attention during the first weeks they’re home, but you’ll have to teach your new puppy how to be apart.
Crate training is an excellent way to train a dog to be alone, but whether you crate train or not, the key is to introduce the concept of being alone gradually. Start with five minutes, and if that goes well, increase the time to 10, 15, 30, and then a full 60 minutes. Don’t forget about your pup’s potty schedule, but leaving them during the day is something they need to get used to. The sooner they learn that lesson, the less likely they are to develop separation anxiety.
Sources: Best Friends Animal Society, American Kennel Club, Mercola Healthy Pets
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