Benefits of Early Puppy Training
A puppy begins learning from you the first day you bring her home. It’s important that what they learn from you are the things you want them to learn, rather than inadvertently teaching them behaviors that will become problems when they grow up.
Left to their own devices, puppies will entertain themselves in perfectly acceptable puppy manners, but in ways that humans don’t always agree with. For instance, puppies love to chew, dig, bark, and follow their noses to wherever it may lead them. Your puppy doesn’t know the difference between her chew bone and the leg to your antique table.
As far as your puppy is concerned, human adults, children, and even babies are perfect littermates to roll around and wrestle with. She thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore you if something more exciting comes along. This is not behavior that your puppy will outgrow. Without the intervention of early training, many of these normal puppy behaviors can evolve into problems that are more difficult to resolve than to prevent.
Early training will be valuable in other ways, too. It can help your new puppy get used to her leash and collar. A puppy who knows how to walk nicely on a leash is much more likely to go on walks than one who acts like a mustang. You will learn how to teach her basic behaviors such as “sit,” “down,” “stay,” and “come.” You will also benefit from the knowledge of the instructor, and the experiences of all the other members of your class. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone in the trials of raising your new puppy to be “man’s best friend” instead of your furry monster.
Puppy classes are designed under the premise that it is easier to prevent bad habits in the first place than it is to correct them later. You will learn how to redirect bad behaviors like inappropriate chewing and jumping. Puppies are wonderful learners, so they will quickly figure out that the good manners like sitting nicely at your feet is much more beneficial to them than jumping up and nipping your sleeves. Social puppies make for well balanced adults. Another benefit of attending puppy classes is that your puppy will be exposed to all different kinds of people and dogs in this critical period of her learning life. Puppies who are properly socialized between 7 and 14 weeks of age learn to more easily tolerate situations that may otherwise be stressful later on in life.
For instance, a puppy that has grown up in a family without children may become overly excited when she sees neighborhood children playing near her yard. Even if she is friendly to them, without proper socialization, she may jump on them and injure someone accidentally. If the children are frightening to her, she may feel like she needs to protect herself and nip. Being in a puppy class where she saw and was handled by many different people and learned good canine manners could make a difference in this incidence.
As an unsocialized or untrained dog becomes older and larger, her actions will become more and more annoying, sometimes resulting in banishment from the house to the back yard. Then, out of frustration at the situation, many dogs begin barking or digging to relieve their stress and occupy their time. This certainly does little to improve the dog’s relationship with their owner. It is at this point that many dogs have and will lose their home altogether.
Aside from preventing predictable problems, training also helps to establish a special relationship between you and your dog. Training is a way of effectively communicating with your puppy, and is a great way for you to have fun together. As you teach your puppy basic manners, and maybe a few tricks and games, you will help him to become the family member you had imagined when you first brought her home.