A handful of puppy training tips..

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A handful of puppy training tips..

New dog owners often have the same response after the first few weeks of intermittent sleep and random deposits on their floors when they get a new puppy:  “It’s like having a baby.”  In actuality, it’s like having a baby that can run.

Raising a puppy is not easy, particularly if it’s your first. And while I’m certainly no Cesar Millan (I whisper to no animal), I presently cohabitate with an extremely well adjusted, fun-loving 10 month old puppy, who loves every dog, person, and letter carrier she meets, and hasn’t relieved herself inside since she was 12 weeks old.

A handful of puppy training tips:

  • Always walk out the door, or down steps first. This can be tough with a puppy that is excited to meet the world, but I’ve found an enormous difference in the success or failure of our walks when I do this simple task. It tells her I’m in charge, not her, which allows her to just be a puppy and have fun.
  • Take a puppy class RIGHT AWAY. I know many people who feel puppies should roam free like buffalo or hippies, but I took my puppy when she was 9-10 weeks old and at two and a half months she could sit, stay, come on command, and gave the vague impression of heeling. The classes also help you be around and handle a wide variety of dogs.
  • Visit as many different places as you can – parks, beaches, urban centers, forest trails. Get your puppy used to as many different environments as early on as possible. Particularly, anything on wheels: bicycles, roller blades and the like.
  • If your puppy pees in the house don’t stop them. You heard me, let them finish. Once they are done, remove them immediately to a separate room for a few minutes so they know you are unhappy with their behavior.
  • • Dogs are pack animals and the worst punishment they can receive is to be separated from their pack. Also, they should never see you clean up after them. This is obviously only successful if you see them doing it. Should you come home to find little treasures, scolding the puppy will only confuse them. They have an extremely short-term memory and will not connect your discipline with their bathroom etiquette.
  • Be committed. Raising a puppy is like being an actor: the more committed you are to your part, the more the audience believes you. When I’m confident my puppy follows me anywhere gladly. If my energy is unfocused, so is she.
  • Two words: Japanese anchovies. At our puppy classes I noticed the trainer using these frozen little fish as treats, which she would break off into tiny bits to reward the puppies. The dogs would do ANYTHING FOR THEM. The trainer could have asked the puppies to retrieve all our wallets and they would have sold us out without thinking twice.
  • Too often people think of puppies as an aside, an add-on in life. they represent the final brushstroke of the family canvas: house, kids, car…and dog. Within this hierarchy, it isn’t surprising that so many dogs turn out as neurotic barkers, or impossible terrors.
  • Expect more from your puppy, they can handle it. They want to be part of a pack, not its leader. In time, you will have an affectionate, well-balanced companion, whose only interest in life is discovering the world from your pant leg.




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