Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or a new pup parent, adding a dog to your family is a big decision and responsibility. While this is often an exciting time, it’s essential to consider the commitment to training, nurturing, and guiding a young puppy through their life. We’ve gathered our best tips to help you along in this journey.

1. Start Socialization Early

Getting started with training and socializing early in your pup’s life is crucial to them developing a friendly nature. Don’t be afraid to take them with you wherever they are welcome.

Puppy Tip #1

Once your dog is up to date on proper vaccines, usually around 6-14 weeks, start socializing them. During this socialization stage of life, you can make a big difference in your pet’s behavior. Exposure to new situations, sounds, people, and other pets helps them build trust with you and gain confidence in their place in the world.

2. Positive Pet Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the idea that when your dog does something correctly or a behavior you want to acknowledge, you reward them to encourage them to repeat it. To make this training tactic work, you must be clear on the behaviors you want to reinforce, give them immediate satisfaction after performing the action, and practice in small increments.

Puppy Tip #2

If possible, spend time daily with your dog practicing positive reinforcement. The reward can be treats, petting, verbal praise, or playtime with their favorite toy.

Puppy Tip #3

Avoid Negative reinforcement. This would be rewarding bad behavior with attention or punishments. This will create fear and doubt in your dog and will only hinder them from having positive experiences in the socialization process.

3. Gradual Puppy Socialization

Gradually expose your pup to new environments. We recommend starting slow and not overwhelming your pet too soon. They’re new to the world, so depending on their personality, going straight into a busy atmosphere could overwhelm your dog and scare them into regressing on your socialization journey. Ensure you watch their reactions as you move them into more challenging environments to ensure they have the support they need to stay comfortable.

Puppy Tip #4

At first, start socializing at friends’ or families’ homes that are free from other animals. Then, spend time with people who have friendly dogs or cats. As both of you gain confidence, get creative with where you take your new best friend!

4. Grooming Your Puppy

Whether your dog has long, fluffy, or short, wiry hair, you, as their pet parent, will need to groom your furry friend. Now, the choice is yours whether you want to be the one to physically groom your dog yourself or find a trusted dog groomer in your area, but there are things you can do to help your dog adjust to the grooming process.

Puppy Tip #5:

Brushing your dog in the early puppy stages will only set you and any future groomers up for success. This gets them used to the sensation of using tools on their fur and people touching them. Gently handling your dog’s paws, ears, and tail is another critical step, as these are often sensitive areas for a dog without proper socialization. This reduces the chance of aggression and resistance when you or anyone else needs to care for your pet.

5. Puppy Classes

Puppy Training is one of the best techniques for socializing your pup in a controlled setting. Puppy training is typically completed within the first six months of a pup’s life, but as we mentioned, the earlier you can enroll them during that socialization stage, the better! These classes help train that little puppy brain and give your dog a chance to meet friends their age!

6. Expose Your Puppy to New Environments & Stimuli

Like people, every pet has a unique personality, so it’s hard to anticipate their fears and anxieties about the world. Exposing your dog to different types of stimuli will help them work through their fears and become confident, brave, and trustworthy companions.

Puppy Tip #6

Using discretion, gradually expose your pet to new sounds, sensations, locations, and textures. This could include walking them by a loud construction site and having them experience grass, sand, hardwood floors, or any other common surface you may come across. Other examples could include riding a bike while taking them on their nightly stroll, bringing them hiking, or letting them play in a sprinkler. The goal here is to expose them to the variety life has to offer!

7. Socializing with People

Giving your pet the chance to encounter different types of people is like exposing them to other environments. It allows them to experience young kids, people with disabilities, and men and women. This allows them to be social with people who look different or have different mannerisms.

Puppy Tip #7

Take your pup into public settings! This will give you the most variation in environments and people they may encounter.

8. Socializing with Dogs

Puppy socialization is only complete with the joy of spending time with other dogs. Your dog can learn so much from interactions with its own kind. They learn proper social cues and how to play, which provides them with some mental exercise and helps reduce the stress of new environments.

Puppy Tip #8

When the time is right, hit those dog parks! They’re made specifically for you and your pet friend in mind! Or let your pup enjoy the occasional doggy daycare stay.

9. Consistency and Patience

Socialization takes time for your dog to learn. Some puppies take longer if they are more naturally timid, but the time is worth it. Your job as a pet parent is to make their life as exciting as they make yours! So, remind yourself to be patient with them and stay consistent in your practice. If you find that training and socializing take up more time than you can commit, we have ways to help!

Puppy Tip #9

Take a look at our training services below! We aim to have various affordable options to help as many pet owners as possible!

What Services Does Marcum K9 Obedience Offer?

Here at Marcum K9, we offer several training options, including individual and group settings. We also provide puppy preschool programs for young pups, board-and-train options, service dog training, and aggressive behavior correction training. If you’re interested in any of our training options, please get in touch with us at (614) 546-5969.

Puppy Training

This is the introductory obedience class to start your dog on the road to becoming a well-behaved pooch. It will lay the foundation for your pet to learn how to listen to your instructions and harness their attention in real-life situations. Your dog will learn common commands like sit, stay, and come, along with proper leash etiquette.

Train & Board

Training and boarding may be a better option if your pet is beyond their puppy years. After a consultation to understand your needs and interact with your dog, we will devise a plan together for maximum results.

Your dog will be boarded at our facility, where they will work every day with our skilled trainers. The reason why our board and training services work so well is because of our process. We understand it takes anywhere from 25 to 50 for a dog to learn a single command and base our instruction on that concept. This method also allows us to increase or decrease typical distractions your pet would likely face. This strengthens the imprint of our training in the animal’s minds.

Aggression Training

If your dog shows signs of aggression or reactivity to specific situations, the earlier you address the issues, the better the outcome is for you both. While we can’t guarantee we can help with every situation, we have had success in helping dogs conquer their aggression toward humans and dogs, separation issues, food guarding, leash reactivity, and severe anxiety.

Our key to this type of training is to expand our view to find the root cause of your dog’s behavior. We look at the relationship between you, your pet, and the environment where it all takes place. This broader spectrum approach clarifies the root causes of your dog’s unwanted behavior, making correction much more effective than addressing behavior without understanding what’s fueling it.

Service Dog Training

Dogs are not only great companions but can also be beautiful assets to individuals who need assistance. Training your pet to help with physical abilities could look like teaching them to retrieve certain items for you, pick up items that have dropped, or touch buttons to open a door. Additionally, we can train your dog to decipher physical signs from their owner’s body to warn or protect them of a medical condition. We have the capability to do this type of training in our facility or your home, depending on your family’s unique circumstances.