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    Adopting a new furry friend can be exciting — but in the case of young puppies, it can also be quite frustrating.

    The chewing, the whining, and the accidents on your floor can all be enough to make you question your decision. Did you make a huge mistake?

    Fortunately, poor puppy behavior isn’t uncommon — and with a few training tools, you can get Rover (and your household) right back on track. Here’s what you need to know:

    Puppy Training 101

    Start training your puppy as soon as you bring them home. The earlier you start and the more consistent you are, the better — and faster — results you’ll see.

    From the beginning, establish yourself as the alpha dog. Interact with your dog confidently, and don’t let them run the show. The second they think they’re in charge, that’s when bad behavior starts.

    Have a designated potty spot. 

    Pick a place in the yard where your pup can relieve herself and make it a point to take her out at the same general times each day — especially in the morning. Reward any outdoor pottying with calm praise (“good dog!”), and avoid punishing the pup if they have an accident indoors. Simply move the puppy (and their waste, if possible) to the designated potty spot. Most puppies pick up housebreaking pretty naturally once they’re a few months old.

    Take the lead during walks.

    Don’t let your pup drag you around on the leash. When they’re in the lead, that signals that they’re the pack leader — and it can lead to poor behavior.  Make it a point to walk slightly in front of your animal, and be sure you’re always the first one out the door, too. In the early days, this might require using a short leash, so there’s less slack with the animal to work with.

    Give her some personal space.

    Dogs are den animals, and they’re naturally inclined to protect their dens, sleep in them, and keep them clean. Designating a home base or “den” for your animal can offer a sense of peace and calm to your pup, while also discouraging potty accidents in the area. A spacious kennel is a good option (just put down a dog bed inside or a blanket), or you can even set up her space in the corner of a room or closet.

    Drive home simple, basic commands early.

    There’s no pup too young to start learning basic commands. Start with the most necessary to daily life — things like “in,” for when you want them to head into their kennel for the night; “down,” when they have the urge to jump on people/things; and “sit” and “heel.” Small treats can be a good way to drive home these commands. Just show your pup the food, give the command, and use the treat to signal the action you want your dog to take (hold it in her kennel for “in,” lay it on the ground for “lay,” etc.) Don’t forget to reward your furry friend with some calm praise and a nice pet.

    Commit to it.

    Consistency is key in puppy training, so set aside some time each day to the task. Do it a few minutes before your morning walk, and then again when you get home from work. Keep the training sessions to 5-10 minutes each, as puppies have pretty short attention spans. 

    Don’t forget to socialize your pup.

    Dogs are social animals, and you’ll want to socialize them — both with people and other animals — early on. Walks and dog parks are a great way to do this, though having a friend over or just taking them to a family member’s are good strategies, too. They need to interact with others, as well as explore new environments, so get creative here (even a car ride with the windows down can be a learning experience for a pup). 

    Puppy Training Resources

    If you need more help training your animal, the resources abound. On YouTube, there are countless trainers you can look to, including Zak George, Robert Cabral, and McCann Dog Training

    Other resources include:

    Of course, you don’t have to train your dog solo. There are loads of training programs you can utilize, both in-person and online. Most major pet supply stores (Petco and Petsmart, for example) offer some type of training class, and there are probably quite a few local pet trainers, too. Do a quick Google search or ask your veterinarian for recommendations if this is a route you’re considering.

    Need More Help?

    If you’re having trouble footing the bill for training (or even just puppy-proofing your property) a cash-out refinance may be able to help. Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans expert today to talk through your options.

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