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Unleashing Wisdom in Puppy Training


Feel like you’re getting too much sleep or things are a little too lazy around the house?  It might be a sign that you need a brand new 10+ year commitment more commonly known as a puppy!  Bringing home a puppy can be an amazing experience and fun for the whole family but it can also bring gray hairs along with it if you’re not fully prepared.  Here are a few of the things that can help make that transition a fun experience rather than a stressful one.  


Potty Training

Be prepared to go outside at odd hours with treats and stand in the middle of some grass.  Potty training takes time and consistency and the easiest way to train your dog to go outside is by being out there cheering and rewarding them (with a high value treat).  Weather should not be a factor in this, it’s important to teach them that you will go outside with them and be with them until they use the bathroom appropriately.  


Puppy mouthing

Bite inhibition and appropriate play are incredibly important to teach every puppy. This helps them learn what they’re allowed to bite and can therefore successfully find relief for their growing teeth while not destroying anything we love or more importantly bite any members of their family.  The easiest way to achieve this is to ensure that you only have a couple of toys out at a time to keep them exciting.  The more important part is that you play the game that makes it fun for your dog.  This can be tug of war (and letting them win), fetch or chase (including chasing them), or other way that makes playtime fun for them.  Chasing them will not teach them to run away and letting them win tug won’t teach them to guard their toys.  These are common misconceptions that lead to us ruining the dog’s fun time and encouraging them to find some other trouble to get into.  We can gradually add more rules and boundaries to playtime but in the beginning it’s imperative that you play how they want to when they’re biting an appropriate toy.


Leash Training 

Learning how to walk politely on a leash is another critical skill you and your pup will learn together.  The easiest way to incorporate the leash in a fun, positive manner is to buy a cheap leash (or rope) and have your dog drag it around the house while they are out with you.  This will help desensitize your dog to the leash so that they won't be scared when they feel the leash pressure.  In conjunction with them dragging it, it’s always a good idea to carry some puppy food with you to be able to reward them for following the leash pressure or to reward them if they accidentally step on the leash and get confused or discouraged.  This can start wherever your dog is able to focus clearly on the reward. It may be in a room inside your house or it could even be outside with other distractions present if your dog is highly food motivated.  The critical part of this exercise is to have a marker word they recognize that signals your dog they made the correct choice by turning and looking at you, taking the first step towards you, or making any other good choice.  


Socialization

Socialization will cover everything from your dog being able to attend dog friendly events or stores, not being overwhelmed by thunderstorms or fireworks, getting along well with other dogs, among other things! This will not include going to the dog park and hoping for the best or taking your dog everywhere and not letting them touch the ground.  A social dog is one that is comfortable and confident in any situation.  To achieve this, it will take rewarding your dog whenever they encounter something new/dramatic (a loud sound, amazon delivery, seeing strangers or other dogs, etc.) to create a positive association for them for the next time they encounter the distraction.  When you curate an optimistic outlook with your dog utilizing positive reinforcement, it will be hard to find anything that shakes your dog’s nerves or causes them to bark uncontrollably and in turn will make walks, adventures, and anything else easier since they won’t be as stimulated or aroused when they’ve been taught that checking in with you will lead to all the best rewards.   Subscribe to our email list to make sure you don’t miss out on our blog breaking this down in more detail! 


Teaching the “Yes” 

All of the above items are contained within the concept of teaching your dog how to succeed.  This includes teaching your dog where to potty, how to walk well on a leash, what they’re allowed to chew and bite on, and how to react around distractions.  Rather than focusing on how to correct any negative behavior, ask yourself how you can set them up to succeed.  When you teach your dog how to succeed, they will continue to learn clear boundaries and expectations while having fun the whole time.  Listening should always be fun for you and your dog and it can still have clear rules and boundaries while enjoying it.  In the beginning it often comes down to having your puppy on a leash so that you can guide them away from trouble clearly and reward them for making good choices. Be prepared to carry around their puppy food in the beginning.



Dogs may just be a small part of our overall lives, but to them we are their whole life. Be sure you’re prepared to embark on the incredible journey that is dog ownership.  There will be times at 3 am when you’re out in the rain waiting for your dog to pee, scrambling out of bed because you hear your dog about to throw up on the covers, and other moments of panic but those will all be washed away with the most unconditional love you’ve ever felt.  Our dogs become our best friends whose main goal is making us happy.  We can easily implement these simple steps to make sure they understand clearly how to best fit into our lives and make dog ownership as stress free as pawsible! 

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