What you should never do with a new puppy
You should never allow your puppy to be more determined than you. In other words, you should not allow your puppy to take the leadership role in your family. Puppies need structure. Puppies need clear boundaries around what you will not tolerate. Yes, you need to be kind in how you express your leadership. But you also need to be strong enough to say no, and then allow your puppy the space they need to work through any frustration that is triggered by you saying no.
You have to be more determined than your puppy, especially when it comes to respect for your personal space. You should be able to ask your pup to stay out of your personal bubble. That doesn’t mean you can’t have HEAPS of cuddles, but it is very important to be able to have a conversation about your personal space, and sometimes ask your puppy to stay out.
In my practice as a Holistic Vet, I find that most humans treat their puppy like a human infant even as they grow into adult dogs. They never say no. There are no boundaries. The dog is essentially in charge of the home, and gets whatever she wants whenever she wants it. This is a spoiled dog, rather than a well- loved dog. A well-loved dog is cared for, nurtured, cuddled, well fed, all their needs are met, BUT they are not indulged with too much food, allowed to behave poorly (e.g. jumping all over people, no respect for personal space).
The happiest dogs I see in my work are those dogs with humans who are strong, benevolent leaders. People who train their dogs in how to behave as good canine citizens, with good puppy manners. People who teach their dogs to accept being touched and handled all over their body. People who are willing to let their dogs be hungry rather than fat and chubby, even when there are sad puppy dog faces!
If you want your pup to be happy, you should never abdicate the role of a benevolent leader in your home. This is often not easy, as dogs are highly intelligent, extremely determined beings!
Dr Edward Bassingthwaighte BVSc (Hons) is a Holistic Veterinarian and founder of the Whole Energy Body Balance Method – a healing bodywork modality for pets that all pet parents can learn.