You’ve just brought home a new puppy. You and your family are so excited! However, when puppy needs out at 3 AM, needs feeding, makes a mess that needs cleaning up, or destroys someone's shoes, suddenly the new puppy is your puppy. Everyone else seems to get to have all the fun, play and cuddles while you get all the work. That’s OK though, right? The new puppy will recognize this and like you best.
Well... sometimes it works this way, sometimes not! Everyone thinks that puppies automatically bond with their primary caregivers, but this is not always the case Sometimes it takes time and sometimes it takes a change in the way you interact with your puppy to get your new addition to like you. It is also important to recognize how a dog does and does not express "like". While it may seem that your new puppy likes other family members best, he may just seek them out because they play with him and never correct him. You need to train your puppy what is expected around the house and provide for his needs, and may not have as much time for fun activities. This does not mean the puppy doesn't like you. Just wait and see who he runs to during the first thunderstorm!
The most important thing you can give your dog is your time--well, besides food that is! Make sure you have lots of time to spend with your new puppy, playing, exercising, and showing affection. You will need to make sure your new puppy understands that you are the provider of all good things. This means food, toys, walks, and adventures! Don’t forget correction and socialization though, as these are important for puppies too.
i need my dog to be a little less timid around me and I would also like my dog to like me more
Hello Serina, At this age I suggest using your puppy's meal kibble as a reward for tolerating you if she will take food around you. Whenever you enter a room, toss her a treat before she runs away, barks or growls (you don't want to reward bad behavior but reward calmness, tolerance, friendliness, and good courage). Whenever she chooses to get closer to you, toss another piece of food (don't reach toward her quickly at first, just gently toss it at her paws). You should be tossing a lot of pieces of food for every little good reaction she has toward you, until she eats almost all of her meal kibble for the day - stick anything leftover in a hollow chew toy, bowl, or around something else she needs to get used to - you can even just sit still and sprinkle it around yourself while pretending to ignore her. When she is comfortable being around you in general, then get her used to being touched. Use the food to help with this too. Gently touch her somewhere that's not too intimidating like her side while at the same time feeding her a treat from your other hand. As soon as the treat is gone, stop touching her. Practice this with different areas of her body, starting with less scary areas first and moving onto other areas as she gets more comfortable. You can feed her all of her daily food this way and not even use a bowl. Practice touching things like shoulder, chest, back, ears, collar, paws, belly, and tail. Once she is comfortable being touched and being near you, work on teaching obedience using lure reward training. Obedience is one of the best ways to form a bond and build trust and respect - which can help a dog feel more secure around you. Finally, enroll in a puppy kindergarten that has time for supervised off-leash play and practices getting puppies used to being handled with treats by other owners too. Take her a lot of places and give rewards for good responses to things to help socialize. If she has a tendency to be timid, then as soon as she is more comfortable around you she needs to be super well socialized around others too to avoid becoming fearful later. You can carry her places before she has all her shots to keep her well, and you can choose a puppy kindergarten class that requires up to date vaccination, cleans their floors with something that kills parvo and distemper right before class, and keeps all non-class participants out of the puppy area once it has been cleaned to ensure a safer environment for really young puppies. There is a key socialization window that closes between 12-16 weeks so don't wait too long to start socializing - it will get harder the longer you wait. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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