So You Think You Want a Puppy?
Everyone has the same image in their head- a bundle of roly-poly fur squished in an embrace of love. It's the puppy food commercials that make us idealize puppyhood and who can resist. They are so darn cute. This is true. But getting a puppy because they are so darned cute is like deciding to have children because babies are so darn cute. That stage is cute as well as lots of other uncute things, but is also over in a blink of the eye. Then you will have a bigger dog who still needs your attention, your training, and your love. Puppies are a blank slate within the parameters of their breed. They don't arrive already knowing where to potty, how to walk on a leash, how to sleep on their own, or the command for "come". They look to you for comfort, stability, and a sense of their pack. They are needy, they are messy, they require attention, and they need you in order to develop into a stable, reliable friend. A puppy that does not get its basic needs met will become anxious, agitated, and neurotic for life. If you are willing to give him that then you will be delighted by a playfulness you did not imagine, a warm bundle curled at your feet, a dog ready to be trained for your specific requirements, and a friend for life.
Explore the following sections for an in-depth overview of raising a puppy.
Puppies are babies and they are also adjusting to a new environment they have not known before. Knowing their sleeping habits, crate training techniques and providing them with enough interaction can take you a long way.
So you have some food and a leash. What else could a puppy need? The right food, supervision, and space.
Use positive re-enforcement techniques. Never hit your puppy! I recommend a clicker style approach to training for easy and quick training that is positive. Keep your puppy safe from other dogs, from an older family dog, and from adult livestock.
Consider herding as an advanced training level. All herd dogs MUST master the basics I have covered in the training section before moving on to herding actual animals. A herd dog's whole training is based upon his need to exert self control over himself and to listen to his trainer immediately.