How to train your puppy!

Choosing a puppy to join your family, should be the same as picking a new mate. After all, they’ll be the one who accompanies you during your highs and lows, they’ll be the one whom you’ll share a love-hate relationship with, and they’ll be the one who’ll be there for you till the very end. […]

Choosing a puppy to join your family, should be the same as picking a new mate. After all, they’ll be the one who accompanies you during your highs and lows, they’ll be the one whom you’ll share a love-hate relationship with, and they’ll be the one who’ll be there for you till the very end.

Note: A puppy is not a play thing, and should never be brought home on impulse.

Nevertheless, it’s always wise for one to avoid any mistakes when picking out a new puppy, ensuring that your new best friend will be one that will make you happy, and vice versa. Hey, we’ve all seen those abandoned dogs in Singapore – Shivering, lonely and ridden with fleas. No way, we’re making sure everything goes according to plan.

1. Choosing the wrong breed for your lifestyle

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Aside from adhering to the list of HDB-approved dog breeds (usually small to medium sized dogs), everyone should always carefully consider the breed or type of dog and how they might complement their lifestyle.

Take for example, I would love a fat British Bulldog, complete with the drool and slobber. However, these dogs are not only big and incredibly hard to maintain (due to their insane appetites and allergy-prone skin), but British bulldogs are loud snorers. Loud enough to put an light sleeper like myself into an undying state of never-ending insomnia.

2. Ignoring potty-training

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You’d train your kids, right? I mean, I assume there aren’t any 30-year old humans walking around still in diapers, no? Similarly, potty-training your puppy is a form of conditional training that you can’t avoid. Not only does it reinforce good behaviour, but it reinforces the ‘alpha dog’ of the pack (yourself), and fosters a closer bond between you and your pooch.

Needless to say, both you and your pup could do without the unneeded stress of cleaning up puddles of pee around the house.

3. Isolation

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Just like how all humans were conditioned to be social creatures, dogs were designed that way too. Aside from scheduling play-dates with other pups, taking frequent walks – at least twice a day – would greatly help your pup with his social skills.

Knowing how to act when he meets other dogs, or cats for that matter, fosters a good-natured spirit in him, and teaches him what is safe and enjoyable – as compared to fearful and strange situations that should be avoided.

I mean, ever watch Jurassic World? Having that genetically-spliced dinosaur kept in isolation all its life didn’t end so well for Chris Pratt, now did it?

4. Not spending time with your pup

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This is a no-brainer, but astonishingly, a whopping 77% of dog owners in Singapore are leading such active lifestyles that they have absolutely no time for their dogs!

Take a particular dog that I met whilst on my daily rambles around town. Having interacted with its owners, I realised that this cheery golden retriever spends 80% of his time at a pet boarding house, despite his owner being a local Singaporean. Reason being? His owner’s single, and travels for a living.

A real bummer, right? The days of being a puppy zooms right by in an instance, and while you’re getting so caught up in life, you’re forgetting that his is going by in a flash.

So do me a favour, take your time and go slow. Puppies add so greatly to our lives, that we better slow down and enjoy the moment before its gone. If you doubt anything I’m saying, just ask your mom.

Updated: May 16, 2017.

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