How to build a puppies confidence
Building your puppies confidence is an important part of their youth and should begin from the day they arrive home. Confidence will help prevent any phobias occurring later in life and will help you train your dog. During your puppies few months with you, you should look to introduce them to as many of the following as possible as each situation will help them gain confidence and eradicate any fear they may have. The following processes will help gain your puppies trust and prepare them for dog training which also helps ensure your dog doesn’t become anxious or fearful.
1. Visitors – when you get a puppy you will no doubt get many people who want to come and visit you. Allow as many visitors around as this will help your dog get used to strangers. Ask your visitors to play with your dog and make a fuss of them so they realise that strangers are not a risk to them and they should feel at ease around others.
2. Children – it is very important you allow your dog to meet children. Dogs seem to love children as they are playful and more their own size! Even if you don’t have any children yourself it is important for them to meet children as they will usually come into contact with them during walks or days out.
3. Other pets and animals – even if you don’t have other pets such as cats and dogs it is important your puppy makes contact with them early on so they don’t see them as a threat. A great way for your dog to socialise with other dogs is attending puppy training.
4. Car journeys – make older dogs get travel sickness which can prevent families have days out with their dog and also make appointments and trips very difficult. Introduce your dog to car journeys as early as possible keeping them brief and gradually getting longer. Use a dog booster seats so that they are secure and they can also see what is going on outside, putting them at ease and making them feel safe.
5. Grooming – grooming your dog from puppy age will make this process seem normal to your puppy so they will not get anxious or struggle in future. Start by brushing them daily for a few minutes and check their ears and feet regularly so they get used to having them touched.
6. Being alone – whilst your puppy will need lots of love and attention they will also need to learn from the beginning that they cannot be around you every hour or the day. Even if you have no plans, be sure to leave your puppy at home alone at least once a day even if it’s only whilst you go to the shop. This will prevent separation anxiety occurring in their adult life.
7. Lead training – use a puppy collar and lead and practice walking in your garden for a few minutes every day. Once they are old enough to go outside they will be ready for training.
Whilst it is important to do all of these things as early on as possible, don’t overload your puppy by doing them all at once on the same day. Try to do each on a separate day at first so that your puppy enjoys learning each thing. If your puppy ever appears to be anxious then stop what you are doing and play with your puppy so that they are happy and relaxed again.