Adopting a pet means not only taking full responsibility for another life but also welcoming a new family member with full rights. Dogs are even more pretentious to look after because they will require your full attention, commitment, and love as they will accompany your life journey for more than 15 years.
However, the first stages of your doggo’s life are pretty complicated, and you must be sure you have enough spare time to look after your puppy properly. From feeding it special food to training it to go outside and stay away from those yummy leather shoes, your pet could certainly prove a handful. Nevertheless, it will show you unconditional love and devotion.
In our opinion, one of the most difficult tasks of adopting and raising a puppy is to know how to effectively communicate with it and teach it the basics of life. If you’re having trouble learning the body language of your pawed friend, perhaps our following tips and tricks will help you.
Common puppy mistakes
Sometimes, we interpret some of our pet’s gestures for something they are not, which will further lead to miscommunication. It is essential to understand exactly what your puppy is trying to show you so you can enjoy a healthy and strong relationship with it, as well as facilitate training.
For instance, hugging. Much to your surprise, a hugging dog is not displaying its affection, but quite the contrary. Dogs use hugging for a series of reasons, including to show dominance, during mating or when wrestling with other pets or humans. Keep that in mind next time you see your puppy doing that in order to avoid frustration and miscommunication.
Another gesture that we wrongly interpret is kissing. You may see your puppy licking you all day long, but for dogs, this is not meant to be entirely affectionate. On the other hand, dogs use licking as a sign of respect, a way of showing they are not a threat. You may spot similar behavior in relation to other dogs too.
We suggest you avoid kissing your dog near its mouth as this could show that you are submissive to him, which could lead to it trying to bite you or mark his territory.
Avoid staring in the eyes directly
Another way to avoid sending the wrong signals to your pup is to avoid direct eye contact when it’s not necessary. Staring into your doggo’s eyes may have two effects, both unwanted – either you cannot resist and give in to anything your pet desires or, on the contrary, become intimidating.
Pets can see intimidation as a form of aggression which could determine them to become defensive. This could also lead to a submissive character but only by showing clearly that you dominate your dog. Either way, this type of behavior is not beneficial in the long term.
We don’t recommend avoiding eye contact completely either. On the contrary, you should look into your puppy’s eyes to express your affection, love, and interest.
Use calming signals
If you’re ready to start training your pet, you need to know which type of vocabulary and voice to use. A voice that is too deep or dominating might scare off shy pups, while one that is too low may not get their full attention.
Therefore, the tone you use is highly important. It should be firm but not brutal, strong but not intimidating. Try to use your regular voice, without yelling or shouting. Dogs hear better than humans, so there is no need for you to raise your voice.
When it comes to the actual training, make sure always to use the exact words when teaching a new command. Dogs don’t come with their own manual of understanding words, so they cannot possibly know that various phrases like “Stay here” or “Don’t move” have the same meaning.
Using different words and phrases to describe the same command will only confuse your pup, which could later lead to frustration as he or she doesn’t know what you want. Most recent studies in canine psychology show that, in fact, dogs cannot understand the actual meaning of a word but will recognize its sound.
Therefore, it is mandatory to maintain the same voice level each time you try to teach your pet a new command. And what better way to do it if not with the most delicious and organic puppy training treats?
Keep the tummy satisfied
Speaking of treats, food is an essential aspect you need to take into account when dealing with puppies. A healthy and balanced diet will keep your dog full of energy and ready to learn more. We suggest combining regular dry puppy kibble with wet food, such as delicious meat-based recipes of canned puppy food.
To support your dog’s immune system and stimulate the brain, make sure the food contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as a premium source of proteins.
Feeding your dog at regular hours is an important part of establishing his or her routine and keeping the pet focused and disciplined. So, instead of providing just one meal a day, stick to three main meals served at the same hours. This will also avoid overeating and prevent health issues like poor digestion, constipation or obesity.
Meals can be followed by one-two snacks a day, as long as they are healthy, organic, and low in calories. Forget about processed foods or sweets and stick to crunchy veggies such as carrots or cooked sweet potatoes.
We do not encourage you to feed your puppy snacks all the time as it will be harder to use them as a rewarding system for training.
And, no matter what those puppy eyes say, you shouldn’t feed him or her the same food you eat. Pizza, snacks, hot dogs, ice cream, and chocolate are strictly forbidden as they contain many harmful chemicals, as well as high amounts of processed sugar and salt.