By Cesar Millan

People often ask me at what age they should start puppy training. The answer is immediately! Here are some quick tips on the steps to training and maintaining an obedient and balanced dog from the start.

New puppy owners often make the mistake of endlessly worrying about finding the right accessories, puppy treats, or bed. They spend little or no time thinking about how or what they will teach their new puppy. Yes, a puppy needs nutritious food and a safe, warm place to live, but another equally powerful and important biological necessity is the need for a strong pack leader.

Be the Pack Leader

Puppies are naturally hard-wired to follow a pack leader. A pack leader is, by definition, strong, stable, and consistent; traits many new puppy owners forget. Many of my clients are strong leaders in their jobs, but when they come home, they turn to mush with their dogs. Then they come to me puzzled as to why their dog won’t behave.

Puppies sense our confidence levels and will take control if they perceive us as weak. When this happens, bad behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing, leash-pulling, or anxiety, will develop.

The most important thing you can do is become your puppy’s pack leader. This role doesn’t begin when your dog is six months old or when he’s bad; it should be maintained throughout the entire dog training experience. For your new puppy to grow into a healthy, balanced dog, you must demonstrate leadership from day one!

Visit to the Veterinarian

One of the cornerstones of good health for your puppy is regular veterinary care. It is crucial that your puppy maintains a nutritional diet and exercise routine to stay healthy and balanced. Plus, your vet can advise on heartworm, and flea and tick preventative care. While a lot goes into keeping your puppy in good health, it all begins with the first visit to the vet.

Housebreaking

All dogs become conditioned never to eliminate in their dens. From two to four months of age, most pups pick up on the concept of housebreaking quite easily since it is part of their natural programming.

In the early days of housebreaking you want to make sure the puppy has a place to relieve herself where she feels safe; a place that seems and smells familiar. First thing every morning, bring your puppy outside to the same general area. It is important to remain consistent throughout the process so your puppy can learn the habit.

Once your new puppy has successfully gone outside, it is important to reward the good behavior. It doesn’t have to be a big, loud celebration, but a simple quiet approval or a treat can get the message across of a job well done.

And be sure not to punish your puppy for an accident or do anything to create a negative association with her bodily functions. Stay calm and assertive and quietly remove the puppy to the place where you want him to go.

Dog Walking

Please find safe ways to exercise your puppy too! As your puppy’s pack leader, you must help to expend their energy in a productive way. For all dogs, this means a daily walk.

Walking in front of your new puppy allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your puppy should be beside or behind you during the walk.

Also talk to your veterinarian about the risk of long-term bone development problems, parvovirus, and other health issues before implementing an exercise routine.

How cute is your puppy? Post a photo of your pooch in the comments.

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