Keeping your Christmas puppy on a leash

by Nikki Ivey

Did you wake up this past Christmas morning to find that Santa brought the family a cute, cuddly puppy? Congratulations if you were one of the lucky ones. Now that you have this cute bundle of joy, it is important you start thinking about the future.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the cuteness and fur of a new puppy. We tend to allow the puppy to get away with things we don’t want them doing when they get older and bigger. When a family brings in a new puppy it is important they sit down and agree on some rules the puppy needs to live by for the duration of his life. These rules need to begin immediately and not when the puppy has already learned some bad habits.

Some of the rules, or real life manners, I like to implement are teaching the puppy we don’t run out doors unless given permission, we don’t jump on people (no matter how small you are), we don’t bark out the window at strangers walking by, we are quiet and calm in our crate, we learn to walk nicely on a leash, we learn to be calm and in control before being fed and we lay down quietly during family dinner time.

Those are just a few real-life manners I find helpful. It is also important you begin teaching these manners now, not when the puppy is six months old or when he begins to show bad manners. He is learning now and it is the family’s responsibility to teach him everything he needs to know.

Group classes are a great way to get some socialization for your new puppy but not so conducive to learning. It is difficult for the owners to concentrate in a group class therefore not setting their dog up for success. In my experience of 12 years, I have found that taking your puppy to the dog park, dog daycare or hosting play dates are a better way to get your dog socialized and having one-on-one private training in your home helps owners and dogs learn much quicker and with less distraction. Start your training now before your new pup has behavior issues and is difficult to deal with.

Nikki Ivey is a Professional Dog Trainer/Behavior Consultant who specializes in behavior issues and teaching owners to teach their dog real life manners. She does private training in owner’s homes as well as seminar on a regular basis. For more information on private classes, give her a call at 615-207-5932 or you can email her at You can also check out her Website at

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