Have you just got a new puppy? This is the behavior you want to train first, according to an expert

 Litter of Siberian Husky puppies.
Credit: Getty Images

Getting a new puppy is always exciting and full of fun, but there’s a lot to think about at the same time.

There are lots of things to buy (including some of the best dog treats, of course!) as well as things to consider when it comes to training your new arrival. But, what sort of things should you focus on first when you get your new pup?

Well, in a recent Instagram post, the expert trainers at Happy Dogs Training – led by founder and owner Piper M Novick – have offered some valuable advice.

According to the trainers, the first things that you should teach your pup are confidence and courage. However, they say, “There’s a formula for this. Only put your puppy in situations that will promote them feeling happy and secure.”

They advise exploring the world slowly – it’s fine to move at a pace your pup is comfortable with! “Your puppy doesn’t need to meet everyone and see everything,” they say, “Follow their lead and design their experiences to be peaceful.”

They continue, “Let them accomplishable hard things, and celebrate those wins! Don’t rush your puppy to grow up! They’re a baby, go slow.”

You can help boost your puppy’s confidence while you go about your day. Take walks, for example. Make walks more interesting by setting your dog simple challenges like climbing on rocks or short walls to make them more confident and test them both physically and mentally.

And remember, you don’t need to dominate your new puppy or ‘show them who’s boss’. This mindset is outdated, and won’t help your dog develop that valuable confidence and courage that’ll make them a happier canine. Instead, give them plenty of rewards and use positive reinforcement wherever possible – remember, training dogs with treats can be really fruitful.

You can still put gentle boundaries in place, but being too harsh is counter-productive. Here’s the science behind positive reinforcement for dogs.

You can introduce them to a variety of settings, too, even before they’re fully vaccinated. You can always carry or drive them to different places! And, ensure that your puppy has the choice of whether to investigate new things or meet new people or not.

If you’re also looking for advice on socializing your puppy, you might find the following article insightful: I'm a dog behaviorist and these are my six tips for socializing a puppy.

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