THOUGHTS ON PUPPIES...

I got myself a new puppy just before Christmas.  She isn't my first, but already I am learning ANEW about puppies, and I hope I'm learning more with this one!

Here are some random thoughts on puppies - things I hope will help you out too!

basics...

DON'T spend too much time saying "NO"!! Puppies don't know ANYTHING about being human! REDIRECT AND PRAISE for appropriate behavior.

The most impressionable time for a puppy is between the 7th and 16th week. This is the time you need to expose your puppy to as much as possible: noises, people (men, women, children, even different races, men with beards or hats, etc.), other animals and dogs, cars and car rides (and NOT just to the vet!!). This is also the BEST time to get a puppy into a puppy class.

A cheap leash attached to your puppy's collar enables you to catch your puppy when she is running through the house. This must only be attached when you can watch your puppy 100% of the time; she can easily become tangled!

If you aren't able to closely supervise your puppy, then she must be in a crate!

The safest way to travel with your puppy is in a crate. This keeps her from getting underfoot or getting into stuff while you can't reach her. It will also contain vomit or poops and pees if she gets carsick (I like the plastic enclosed carriers for this).

Baby gates are invaluable for keeping puppy in a smaller area (where you are), so you can keep your eyes on her!

potty time...

If your puppy cries or whines in the crate, assume she has to go potty! If you take care of that and she still whines, then quiet her or ignore her.

Stop water intake about 7PM - this will help the puppy sleep through the night without waking you up to go outside.

ALL ACTIVITIES MUST START WITH A PEE OR POO - OR BOTH!

ANYTIME OUTSIDE (even if you have a fenced-in yard) TO GO POTTY, YOUR PUPPY MUST BE ON A LEASH! (yeah, I know it's cold out - or rainy - or windy - I don't care! The most reliable housebreaking happens when you can praise EVERY TIME - WHEN IT IS HAPPENING!)

ALL inside free time activities must start with a pee and/or poo outside FIRST!

ALL changes in activities must be accompanied by a pee/poo!

Teach your puppy WORDS for elimination. It makes it so much faster (can you tell I'm housebreaking a puppy in the winter?!) "Go potty", "Go poop" (or "hurry up", "do your business", etc.).

playtime...

An exercised puppy is a tired puppy - and a well-behaved puppy!

Give your puppy new toys to try - different textures to mouth and play with. Try different chews (provided rawhide, or any type of chew that can be eaten up is ALWAYS supervised and never left to lay around), assorted squeakies, etc.

Play games like retrieve, rather than tug or hand games that encourage your puppy to mouth.

Too much unsupervised time, either outside or inside, encourages your puppy to invent new and wonderful things to do - and I guarantee you WON'T like them.

training...

Training can start the minute you get the puppy. Start with a new collar, then add a leash. "SIT" is easy - my puppy learned she has to sit before the leash goes on and before she goes outside! (more about the importance of "SIT")

EVERY day should contain a short (10 minutes maximum) training session. This should be fun and easy for a young puppy. The time and difficulty increase as the puppy gets older.

Take your puppy to different places to train. Many owners complain that their puppies are "fine at home" but not anywhere else!

summing it up...

Puppies, until they are well over a year old, are VERY labor intensive and require CLOSE supervision.  Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Pam Young, LVT CDBC CPDT  
Dog Gone Good LLC
Dog Behavior Consultant
Personal Dog Trainer