Puppy Training

Tips

I do not claim to be a professional dog trainer. Many of you are very experienced and others of you are novices. These are just tips I like to share in case you find them helpful.

Things that scare your puppy. This may be my most important tip.
We try hard to expose the pups to many things on our property such as: kids, dogs, bikes, basketballs, minibikes, lawnmowers, horses, crates, and car rides. Nevertheless, your pup is facing innumerable new sights and smells when he leaves with you. Some of these may scare him a bit at first. My most important tip is that you let him explore every new thing on his own four feet on the floor. Do not pick him up if he is frightened or you will confirm in his mind that he was right to be scared. For example, if he is in your home for the first time and your cat walks around the corner, he may duck tail and run a few feet. Don’t pick him up. Leave him alone and he will figure out that the cat is OK. Pick him up, and he thinks he was rightfully scared and you are his protector. You want him to be a bit protective of you, not the other way around. This applies to his first exposure to the vacuum, the neighbor’s dog, the door bell, anything that startles him. Make him learn about them as a dog – with four on the floor.

Introducing Your Pup to Children
If you have children, make sure they stay calm on the first meeting with the pup. I always recommend that parents dress young children in long pants and shoes with closed toes so that the first moments are not filled with drama caused by the puppy’s little toe nails or teeth. If your preschooler gives the impression that he is afraid of the pup in the first moments, the pup will remember that.

It is very important that the pup meets children. If you do not have kids, go to the park sometimes while your pup is young. The pups are well exposed to kids at my house.

Crate Training
I recommend crate training for at least the first year or so. It is not a punishment, but a safe retreat spot for your pup. We start them on crate exposure here before they leave.

Two tricks to crate training. First – the crate needs to be small so that the pup does not have room to pee in one corner and sleep in the rest. You only need room for the pup to curl up.

Second – once the pup goes in, you control when he comes out. During training, if you put him in for two hours, he stays until you let him out, no matter how much he cries about it. My basic approach follows: Get pup up and take him out for immediate pottying, play time (and feed time depending on schedule), potty again, crate. No more interaction until the next scheduled potty time. If he cries, cover the crate with a towel.

Housebreaking
I have purchased many pups over the years and I find it very irritating when a breeder allows the litter to pee all over in the puppy room. To me that just teaches the pups that they can pee on the floor.

My pups are either on wood chips when inside or they are in the outside pen. This way they do not actually get on the linoleum or carpet until they are old enough to begin toilet training. I recommend that you fence off a small area in your home to begin this process rather than letting the pup have full run of the house.

Only have your pup out when you are monitoring and interacting with him. Do not leave him unattended to pee where you don’t see it. I tell people that the pup is like a toy. Get him out, potty, play, potty, then put him away until next time. He will get the routine and eventually be free in the house.

I strongly advice against potty pads. You want him to go outside so take him there. My experience with potty pads is that after you remove the potty pads, the pup thinks that small rugs are for pottying on.

Control food and water. You may want to free feed eventually but feeding on a schedule at first helps with potty training. Remove all food three hours before bedtime. Remove all water two hours before bedtime while training.

Bedtime
Your pup should be able to make it 7 hours through the night right away (if you remove the food and water in advance and put him in a small crate). You want to stretch that a little bit each day until he stays dry 8-9 hrs in the night.

I strongly advice against getting up with the pup in the middle of the night. That is a habit that is very hard to break. Just put him in his crate and leave him. Worst case, he will pee in the crate for a couple of nights while getting the hang of it. It is much easier to just clean up the crate for those few nights than to spend months breaking the habit of taking him out in the middle of the night.

Indoor play
Many people think it is fun to watch their pup romp clumsily through the house – until he is about 40 lbs. and is bowling over children and lamps! Then the fun is over and they complain about their dog being high wired. That is not fair. The pup was programed that romping indoors is fine. If you do not want your teenage dog romping inside, don’t romp with him when he is a pup. Don’t roll the ball down the hall if you do not want to play that way when he is adult. Calm indoors -rowdy outdoors.

Grooming
You have purchased a non-shedding pup which means he is going to need to have his hair cut periodically. While he is young, get him used to being brushed all over. Many people love the scruffy look and want to leave their pup uncut for a year or so. That’s fine, but brush him out periodically or your groomer will have to shave him nearly bald at the first hair cut just to get the mats out. That is definitely not a cute look.

I hope there are some helpful tips for you here. Use the ideas you like and disregard the ones you don’t like.