Your Puppy: Teaching Confidence, Respect and Trust

You’ve brought a new puppy into your home. He’s cute and cuddly. His huge beautiful eyes melt your heart each time he looks at you.

It’s nice to know that your care so much about your puppy and that he seems to adore you. He needs a lot of TLC to grow, both physically and mentally. Play with him, cuddle him and love him. Show him lots of affection. However, be cautious. Affection must be tempered with respect.

Don’t let those beautiful brown eyes (or blue, green or gold) con you into giving in to your puppy’s every whim. If you let him away with too much, he will not learn discipline and self-control, nor will he learn to respect you. He will be out of control and you will have big trouble on your hands. Remember, he is not always going to be a puppy.

Your puppy needs to know his place in the pecking order of the pack. In your family, your puppy should be at the bottom of the pecking order. You and other adults should be the leaders of the pack. Children should come next, and at the bottom are your puppy and any other animals that live in your home. If you don’t take the role of leader, your puppy will. This will cause him to grow into a disobedient and aggressive dog.

Most dogs who are given their own way when they are puppies end up living along tied to a chain in the backyard. This makes them more aggressive and they will probably end up being put down, or being handed over to the local animal shelter. No one wants a disobedient and aggressive dog, so the animal shelter will eventually be forced to euthanize him. If you don’t want this type of unhappy ending to be a part of your puppy’s life, take the initiative and control your puppy now.

Taking control of your puppy doesn’t mean mistreating him. Give him lots of affection, play with him and bond with him. Also be consistent and make him obey simple commands.

Never bully or terrorize your puppy into submitting to your demands. This will backfire and you will find that your adorable puppy has grown into a full size aggressive monster that no one can control. A puppy that is treated this way will bite; and he will bite you or anyone else that crosses him.

If you respect and love your puppy, he will learn to love and respect you in return. Respect is won, not demanded, and your puppy will not respect you until he learns you are to be trusted.

Be consistent. If you set down rules for your puppy, never change them. Never yell or shout at him. If he disobeys or displays inappropriate behavior, give him a firm, “No!” and correct him. Continue training until your puppy understands exactly what is expected of him. When he obeys, pet him, give him a small treat and praise him verbally. Something as simple as “good boy,” gets the message across.

If you spend time training your puppy every day and give him firm and gentle coaching, it will build his trust. Following directly behind will be love, confidence and respect. This will bring about a firm bond that will ensure a wonderful relationship with your puppy into adulthood and beyond. 

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