Earning your puppy’s trust and respect will help you create a lasting, lifelong bond. The trust-building process starts from the first day you bring your puppy home and continues throughout your dog’s life. The more time, energy and love you bring to the relationship, the more you will get back from your puppy.
Establish yourself as pack leader by taking command of every situation with your dog. Your puppy needs to understand that while you love him, you mean business, and what you say goes. Don't let your pup get away with ignoring your commands. For example, if you tell him to "sit" and he runs around, put him back in the sit position and repeat the command until he does what you tell him, then lavish him with praise. If you let your puppy do whatever he wants whenever he wants, he'll begin to think of himself as pack leader and training will become more challenging.
Train your puppy from day one. This will help him recognize and understand his boundaries as well as your expectations. Your puppy wants to please you, and he will respect your commands once he comprehends them. Use positive reinforcement to teach him basic commands.
Be consistent in everything you do. This is especially important in training. For example, don’t let your puppy on your bed one day, then yell at him to get down the next. Inconsistency can confuse a puppy and make it harder for him to understand what you want from him.
Be kind and gentle, yet firm. If you harshly reprimand your dog, yell at him or hit him, he will become fearful of you and lose respect for your authority.
Make him a member of your family. A puppy loves his human pack and wants to be part of everyday life. Include your pup whenever and wherever you can, and encourage family members to be consistent with him as well.
Play with him. Puppies need lots of exercise, and playing is a way for your pup to interact with and get to know you and your family while seeing you in the role of pack leader.
Provide care. You pup counts on you for everything from food and shelter to love, attention and care. When you bring your puppy home, you make a commitment to providing for him throughout his life. A puppy who knows he can count on you will respect you in your position of top dog.
Don’t play favorites. Just like kids, every puppy and dog is different. If you have other dogs or pets in your home, give them equal attention so none feel left out.
Don’t interfere. Even though you should be viewed as the authority, dogs will establish levels of dominance between themselves, and this process should not be tampered with.
Be fair. While you can challenge your pup to try new things and to push himself, never overwork him, push him beyond his limits, or ask him to perform difficult or dangerous tasks.
Keep him safe. A pup will follow your commands, even ones that put him in danger. Looking out for your pup in all ways will build trust and earn respect.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.