Eight Quick Tips on Raising a Puppy
Tip #1: Potty Training
Potty training requires careful management and frequent supervised trips outside, where you are able to immediately reinforce your puppy for peeing or pooing in a desired area. see article about house training - http://www.legendsdogtraining.com/training-blog/house-training-101)
Tip #2: Separation Training
Teach puppy to feel comfortable spending time in a crate or behind a baby gate. When done correctly this will become a "safe place" that will help your puppy cope with separation from family members, and reduce likelihood that your pup will develop separation anxiety as an adult. Teaching puppies to feel content inside of an exercise pen or crate will also facilitate potty training and minimize destructive tendencies.
Tip #3: Training Games
Structured games of tug or retrieve are a positive outlet for your puppy's energy. When you play it right, these games will teach impulse control, play inhibition and build a stronger more meaningful relationship with your puppy. Early on we recommend that you avoid games that encourage jumping, mouthing, pawing, barking or running away from people. Wait until your puppy is an adult to teach tricks like "speak," "dance," "shake," or "high five" or you may inadvertently teach your dog to paw, jump and/or bark when he wants something.
Tip #4: Build Value for Calm Behavior
Sit down with your puppy for 5 minutes each day with a treat pouch, and some nutritious and delicious food, and reinforce your puppy while they sit or lie down in front of you. Train silently if you want to teach your puppy to offer these behaviors as a default, without always having to hear a verbal cue like "sit" or "down." Verbal cues can be learned later. Puppies receive a lot of attention when they are jumping, barking, whining or chewing on things they're not supposed to chew on, it's a really smart idea to create a strong reinforcement history for the behavior that you find most desirable.
Tip #5: Socialization
Learn how to appropriately expose your puppy to "new stuff" given their individual temperament. If they are shy or timid, be patient and go slow, never force interaction that clearly scares your puppy. Here are a few things that you will want to expose your puppy to during their critical socialization period (8 weeks - 16 weeks):
Tip #6: Handling
Teaching puppies to enjoy handling. Learn how to read and respond to your dog's body language and behavior in order to raise a puppy that is very comfortable with being pet, restrained, and examined.
Tip #7: Chew Toys
Teach your puppy to chew on appropriate items by building value for nyla bones or other hard rubber items, limit exposure to "off-limit" items (ie table legs and sneakers). Don't confuse the puppy by allowing puppy to chew on old shoes, puppies can't distinguish between an old shoe and your brand new pair.
Tip #8: House Rules
We recommend that people avoid having puppies and young adult dogs on couches and beds. Most puppies will still have the occasional accident, and it's better to have those accidents happen on the floor than on furniture. Most puppies will also have a natural tendency to use couches and beds as jungle gyms, and while it may seem cute early on, most people find the behavior less endearing once their dog grows up. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This article was written by Alyssa Lapinel, a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, based in San Diego, California. Alyssa has two (incredible) dogs, Fritz, a lab and basset mix, and Beatrix, a jack russell terrier mix. Alyssa is the founder and head trainer of Legends Dog Training. Legends Dog Training offers skype consultations, online training programs, private in-home lessons in central San Diego and group classes.
Alyssa Rose, CPDT-KA
Certified by the Council for Professional Dog Trainers