Getting a new puppy is a fun and interesting time. You probably went to a breeder or pet store or maybe just saw an ad on the Internet or the newspaper, for puppies, and decided just to check it out. Before you knew it those little eyes and fluffy puppy fur had your heart melting and you were headed home with him or her in your arms. If you are like most new pet owners you had visions of playing fetch with your dog, of watching him frolic at the lake, and of cuddling up on cold nights.
However, you probably failed to realize that the behaviors you dream of in a dog do not come naturally. In fact, the more natural behaviors for most puppies include lovely little things like chewing up your favorite shoes, barking every second of the day, and peeing wherever they are when the mood strikes them. These behaviors might seem cute at first, or even manageable but, if left unchecked they can lead to a very bad adult dog.
The problem with puppies that are not trained is that they grow into untrained dogs. An untrained dog can be a nuisance. All of that cute little yipping can quickly become loud barking that keeps you and your neighbors up for nights on end. The little teeth marks in your shoes can turn into destroyed furniture and a destroyed home before you know it. Likewise, those cute little puppy poops are not so cute when the dog is 75 pounds and has the excrement to match.
Untrained dogs can also be very dangerous. All dogs can bite. It is in their nature to defend with everything they have, including their teeth. You have to teach your dog not to use their teeth so that no one winds up hurt, at least not when they are playing with them. While we all expect our dog to protect us in a worst-case scenario situation, you should train your dog to be non-confrontational. Dogs that pose a danger to the community are at risk of being put down.
In addition dogs that are problematic for any of the reasons listed above often wind up homeless. People grow tired of dogs that never grow up, and then they take those dogs to the shelter. We all know how sad life can be for a shelter dog and the end that many of those dogs meet. If you really love your new puppy and intent to have a long and happy life with it, train her. By training your dog you teach her how to live in your world and increase the likelihood that your life together will be long and happy for the both of you.
Dogs have been domesticated around the world for more the 15,000 years. Because of this long term of human companionship the puppy that you adopt today needs you. Dogs are not truly able to live by themselves in the wild. They are not adapted to living outside and foraging for food. Indeed the dog you adopt today needs you and years to please you. That desire to please their master is the reason that dogs are so easily trainable.
The dogs that we have as pets have what is called social intelligence. This enables them to read your visual and verbal cues and adapt their behavior to it. While each dog will train at a different pace and through different ways, nearly all domestic dogs are trainable.
Just like humans, dogs go through a series of cognitive development. Puppies, like babies, learn to interact with the world around them at around eight weeks of age. They will also mimic behaviors early in life, so if you have one well behaved dog your puppy can learn from it.
If this is your only canine do not worry, they will also learn by watching you. Just like parenting, dog training is something that often happens while you are paying attention to other things. So, those first few months that you have a puppy are an incredibly important time to really focus on training your dog. It can be a lot of work but in the end both you and your dog will be happier.