7 Things "I think" are MUST do’s with your new Pup [Back to Training Tips]
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Many of you just got a new pup, and some of you may be patiently waiting for that adorable little ball of fur to be ready to come home. If this is your first pup, this article is for you! If it's not your first pup, I still hope you still find this information helpful!
To be honest, I have been a bit compelled to write this as I just took possession of a nice little 7-month-old pup that I don’t think got quite the right attention he should have, and now there is ground lost that I may not be able to make up. I once heard “Give your dog 15 minutes a day and you will get the dog you deserve. Don’t give your dog 15 minutes a day and you will get the dog you deserve!” So that is #1, in my mind. The next six are all equally important.
2) Take the pup everywhere. You have a short window where folks will readily accept your new baby. Take pup with you as much as possible to get new experiences and meet new people. If someone says, “Can I pet your puppy?" Don’t just say yes, hand the pup over!
Let as many folks as possible hold and play with your pup. Socialization makes for a dog that is calm and happy around folks when they get older. (Cautionary Note: Don’t take pup to 4th of July fireworks or you may end up with a pet that needs meds on the fourth every year and hiding in the closet, no not kidding).
3. You just got an awesome pup, CONGRATS! Pup comes with a software package that is absolutely critical to have downloaded in the first 4 to 6 weeks you take possession. Installation is relatively easy and does not take customer support. Pup comes with Retriever v.1. To install get a ball and sit in the hallway each day and have pup chase and pick-up the ball. In the hallway, there is nowhere to go, eventually, the pup will bring it back. Once the pup has a solid grasp on bringing the ball back, installation is complete!
4. Your pup has a memory, but like some of us old guys, it’s short! I am absolutely convinced that doing memory retrieves, as early as possible, makes for a great retriever. In fact, at some point early on I would say, dial the retrieving back and do more memories. Find a fence or wood line and work on getting pup stretched out. Be sure to keep it fun and end on a good note!
5. Pup is going to get into trouble. How that trouble is handled may be important to your future pup’s success. Pup is investigating the world with those sharp little teeth. Mama just got new shoes. The response might be to yell or something worse. The whole family needs to keep calm in those first days. We don't want to yell at the pup for carrying anything around, or even worse, chase them around. Just calmly call them to you and take it from them. Then, you may need to go straight to Shoe Dazzle.Com and order Mama a new pair of shoes!
6. This one sort of ties in with number 5. I want my pup to pick stuff up (just not Mama’s new shoes) Pup gets a dirty sock at my house, I encourage him to carry it as much as possible. When I do retrieves outside, I don’t always take the bumper straight out his mouth every time. Sometimes I call for him to follow me and carry it. There is nothing I hate to see more than a dog that drops the bumper before he gets back to you. Or you put the bumper in his mouth and tell him to sit and he does not think he can do both at the same time. Yes, it’s correctable. But why spend time fixing something that should never have gotten broken?
7. Hmm, that takes me to number 7. Mistakes are going to happen. Almost every bad tendency my dogs get was influenced by yours truly. While correcting one thing, I have introduced something new. Not every day is going to go great. You’re going to get frustrated. When that happens, most of us at some point will turn from trainer to punisher. Should it happen to you and yes, I am guilty of it. You need to step back and learn from it. Getting a heavy hand has never produced the desired outcome for me. It’s one of the reasons I chose to educate myself more on positive training techniques. Getting “no” out of your vocabulary is hard. I still have not mastered it and probably never will. So here is my rule: You may have had a bad day, and pup may have had a bad day, but pup does not have to leave the field thinking that. Give him some fun bumpers, let him run around and in general, just play with him. Now your day has not ended so bad either.
There you go, folks! 7 Tips that help me raise a puppy right! I wish all of you new owners much success with your new family member.
Article written by, Parrish Major of South Carolina
Parrish runs HRC Hunt Tests with his two Black Labs and always enjoys a good duck hunt! I hope you found this article helpful!
If you're in the market for a new pup, be sure to go to loneduckpuppy.com and learn how we pick our next family member and hunting partner! You can also read our quick article, 4 Rules to Picking a Puppy