This holiday season, many people adopted new canine family members. In order to prevent problems down the road, it’s important that you establish leadership with your new dog or puppy right from the start.
- Create a schedule that includes a daily walk in the morning. This is critical for your dog’s health, both physical and mental. If you have a puppy, talk to your veterinarian about the risk of long-term bone development problems, parvovirus, and other health issues before implementing an exercise routine.
- Set aside time every day to provide mental exercise by maintaining rules, boundaries, and limitations. When these needs are met, the affection you give to your dog will be channeled as a reward.
- Always walk out the door ahead of your dog when leaving the house. This will show your dog who is in the leadership role.
- On walks, make sure that your dog is not in front of you, pulling you down the street. Instead, keep your dog to your side or behind you. This will also demonstrate to your dog that you are the alpha figure.
- Give your dog something to do before you share food, water, toys, or affection. This way the dog earns his treat. For example, have her perform the Sit or Down command.
- At bedtime, if your puppy tries to leave her bed, begins to whine, or tries to use chewing as a way to cope with the anxiety of being alone, give her gentle but firm corrections. The puppy’s mother set very strict rules for behavior, so she should need very little correction in order to get the point.
- Create a budget for unexpected circumstances, like medical bills and training classes. A healthy, well-trained dog makes a wonderful pet.
This February, join Cesar in celebrating Puppy Love! Help the non-profit Cesar and Illusion Millan Foundation spread the love for pups in rescues and shelters to commemorate their third year anniversary.
For more tips on how to prevent problem behaviors before they start, grab a copy of Cesar’s newest DVD, Raising the Perfect Puppy; or check out his book, How to Raise the Perfect Dog Through Puppyhood and Beyond – both available from CesarsWay above.