How to Have a Happy Puppy: Tips & Tricks for Training, Health, and Bonding
How to Have a Happy Puppy: Tips & Tricks for Training, Health, and Bonding with Your Pup
Perhaps you’ve recently gotten a puppy, or maybe you’re thinking about getting one. Not sure how to prepare for a pup, though? It’s okay! Having a puppy can be a time-consuming and even exhausting task to take on, but is there anything better than those puppy kisses?
Puppies make everything better. Now you just need to know what steps to take to ensure your puppy gets the best overall care, training, and love. Check out these tips for how to have a happy pup!
- Start Training Early
As soon as you bring your puppy home, start training on Day 1. Some people might be under the impression that training a dog so young won’t be beneficial seeing as they can’t understand just yet, much like a baby can’t say their ABC’s at just a few months old.
Advanced training for a puppy is out of the question, but simple training at an early age helps their awareness, their obedience, and their stability. Many people make the mistake of waiting too long before trying to show their dog simple training, and this is why many dogs struggle to be obedient later on. As an owner, you must establish early on what the rules of the house are. Only then will your pup have healthy boundaries.
Begin with getting your puppy used to responding to their name. The best way to do this is by saying their name and rewarding them with a treat every time they look at you.
For example, say your puppy’s name is Max. Speak his name and when he looks at you, say “Yes,” and give him a treat. Do this several times a day for about 3 to 5 minutes. Use this practice also as a mealtime since he will receive a lot of treats. This simple exercise will condition your puppy to have a positive association with their name. So, every time you say their name, your pup will want to pay attention to you.
For more in-depth training, see our Puppy Classes and Training courses for dogs.
- Play With Your Pup
Playtime is everything to a puppy. That’s how they grow muscles and explore the world. Playing with your puppy is also one of the best ways to bond with them. They will associate playtime with getting your attention, which is important for their development and for strengthening your relationship with your dog.
Try out different games and toys to help stimulate your pup’s mind. Keep in mind that every breed is different, so the games they enjoy the most might also depend on what kind of dog they are.
Want to know one of the best secrets about playtime, though? It’s one of the best ways to train your dog!
Sometimes, we tend to separate playtime from training time because in the human world, we have ‘work’ and ‘play.’ In the dog world, work is their play. If you want your dog to enjoy their training, make it fun!
Treats, toys, and time with you are all great incentives for puppies to enjoy training. You give them something fun to do, and they will be training without even realizing it.
Playing also helps get energy out. If you don’t help them release all the built-up energy, they’ll find ways to do it themselves. This is one reason why brain and physical stimulation is so important. Wear them out—puppies need it!
- Start Grooming Early
Typically speaking, puppies won’t need to be groomed until a few months old, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an early start by helping them get accustomed to grooming.
Give your pup frequent baths, even if they’re not that dirty. Why? They need the experience. Many dogs don’t experience much about grooming until their first trip to the groomer’s, which by then, they might be several months old.
As soon as you get your puppy home, you need to expose them to new things such as baths, the hair drier, combs and brushes, etc. This even goes for other regular household things such as the TV, washer and dryer, vacuum, and the car. Don’t try to “shield” your pup from these things because you’re afraid your puppy might be scared. A general rule of thumb is: if they aren’t exposed to it early, it will scare them.
Therefore, start introducing your puppy to the grooming process as soon as possible. Just a bath, blow-dry, and a quick brushing will do wonders for preparing your pup for a professional groom later. This will help your pup not be so nervous around a groomer or around items they’ve never seen before. A well-rounded pup is a happy pup!
- Give Your Pup Plenty of Love
The most important thing to do for your puppy is to give affection. Training and playing with your dog are great ways for them to bond with you, but perhaps the most important of all is to show affection. Dogs are social creatures, so they need plenty of attention from you.
When you first get your puppy, be sure that you spend a lot of time petting them. Gives them tickles, belly rubs, cuddles—whatever you can so that they get used to your smell and touch. We even suggest giving them a blanket to lay on that smells like you so that they associate your scent with comfort.
Just like our loved ones give us a feeling of home, our pups need that sense as well when they’re around us. Give them love and devotion, and they will give it right back.
Happy Pups are the Best Pups
Every dog owner wants their pup to be happy, and if you follow these steps, you are sure to have a well-adjected puppy that’s cared for physically, mentally, and emotionally. These areas of health are all important for humans to be healthy, and the same goes for our fur babies.
Caring for a puppy can be hard work, but the rewards are well worth the labor of love. Have fun with the process, be patient with your growing puppy, and you’ll be happy, too!
- Kirsten Starling