Bringing home a puppy is the happiest feeling ever known, don’t you think? But it should never be a spontaneous decision. You should always think through before getting a puppy home because it is just like having a baby. So, when you have thought through and do manage to get one home, your responsibility starts right away. Just like humans, a puppy’s early years are their moulding years too. I had a puppy too, and being a first-timer, I’d agree I wasn’t an ideal pet parent when it came to training him. But learning from my past experiences, I now have a better idea about how to ace it. And if you are a first-timer too or just not quite sure how to train your puppy, read on.
I got in touch with Mallika Kamodia, a professional dog trainer and behaviourist in Mumbai, to understand the right way to go about it. If you’ve seen Riteish and Genelia‘s puppy Flash being his absolute best, a big chunk of credit goes to his trainer Mallika! TBH, she was one of the reasons why I started this blog series in the first place. She is the absolute best at her work plus the sweetest soul I’ve ever met. She helped me with a lot of useful tips, do’s and don’ts about it which I have further discussed here in detail.
1. Building Strong Recall
This step is extremely important, but we’ll get into why it is so later. Now, one of the first things that would come to anyone’s mind when they get a puppy home or plan on doing so is naming their little pupper. But it will serve a whole bigger purpose than just giving a name to your pet.
Your puppy should know his/her name as clearly as you do. This habit will help your pupper build strong recall skills. And by doing so, this practice will come in handy during risky situations where your pet could be in potential danger. Mallika pointed out one such instance and it shook me. She said, “If your dog’s leash or collar comes off during a walk on the streets, there is a big risk of them walking or running into the traffic. But if you teach your doggo to respond to her/his name when called, you could save them from what could be a scary accident.” This is just a small example but this practice is extremely important.
2. Basic Disciplines
It is a no brainer that you need to teach basic commands of discipline. But you need to start working on it from day one. Very often when people get a puppy home, they let the puppy get away with anything they do like chewing on the furniture or biting because they look small and cute. But they start having issues when their puppy grows up and continues doing the same things.
You need to understand that a puppy will learn what it is taught in its initial months. On this, Mallika recommended that if it’s your first puppy or pet, always reach out to experts, dog behaviourists, vets or dog trainers to understand the right way of training your pup. Assuming things and trying to figure out your own way into this can make things take a bad turn.
3. Respect Their Traits
Every breed has their set of innate traits which will always stay in them, irrespective of them being trained or not. So, if you think your puppy acts strangely in the company of other dogs or animals, that’s a sign. Don’t push them into doing or liking something that they don’t enjoy and have expressed it to you in some way or the other. Some signs of disapproval could be growling, snapping, weird tail movements, biting, etc. It’s not just a learning period for the puppy, but for you too.
4. Don’t Abuse
Mallika said this one thing about training a puppy which truly resonated with me. She said, “No cruel method of training is ever going to work.” Training a puppy has to have love and compassion, without a doubt. If your puppy has a bad habit that you want them to get rid of, don’t yell or snap at them or don’t hit them. Because that’s clearly not how you’d deal with a bad habit of your child. You don’t have to overlook their mischiefs either, but there is a decent way to make them understand what they are doing is wrong. Instilling fear in your pet during training sessions will only make things worse.
5. Make It Fun
Your puppy should listen to you because he/she wants to, not because he/she has to. The training sessions shouldn’t be all work and no play, because if that can make Jack a dull boy, it can very well make your puppy not like it so much either. Reward them when they do something good, that is how they will know they are doing the right thing. Your puppy should look forward to learning new things with you, not be scared of it. Also, if you see your puppy sleeping or busy doing their own thing—like nibbling on a bone—don’t bother them. They need their space too! You don’t have to train your puppy 24*7.
So, if you are a new ‘puppy parent’ or know someone who just got a puppy home, these tips are something you should always keep in mind during training. Because training is not all about making your puppy obey you at all times, but to make sure you and your puppy live in harmony, understand each other and be the best buddies.
If you have any more questions regarding this, do let us know in the comments below. Or you could also get in touch with Mallika by simply following her Instagram page mallikakamodia for more insights and tips.
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