The world is a wonderful place for a puppy. To them everything is novel, new, exciting, and an opportunity to explore and immerse themselves in some mud. From the age of 8-16 weeks puppies are sponges for collecting and organizing information in their rapidly growing brains. As animal professionals we know the critical importance this time plays in your dog’s life.
Every car ride, walk to the park, and holiday celebration needs to be the best experience you can prepare. If it is not, behavior and obedience problems always come full circle. Here are some quick and dirty tips, supplies, games, and ideas to raise the best pup possible.
Things to Bring
- Place a treat pouch on your hip and fill it with low, medium, and high value food. ex: kibble, soft treats, chicken. This allows your dog to learn to ignore the smell of food and helps you build puppy confidence around potentially scary things they may meet. Don’t mix it together. Reserve the chicken for only really amazing performance.
- Shove some toys in that pouch too. While you’re out and about with your pup this will help redirect inappropriate chewing behavior. Great for obedience practice too!
- Bring your hands! And be mindful how you use them around your puppy. Use them for happy clapping and for showing affection.
- Bring a consistent attitude. Make rules for you and strangers your puppy will be meeting. This helps to stop jumping and nipping, as well as teach proper manners. If the strangers cannot listen to you or follow the rules they don’t deserve puppy play. Don’t let them ruin all your hard work!
Things to Do
- Meet 1 new person every day. Inform each person what your puppy’s rules are and have fun teaching them! Show off all the hard work you put in teaching “roll over”.
- Practice your obedience around animals. Prey animals such as ducks, pigeons, squirrels, really anything that looks different, can be CRAZY DISTRACTING and nearly impossible to ignore. Older dogs that have not had practice with obedience around these distractions can become very difficult to handle. Start’em young!
- Discover 1 new item/object a day. And make it rain treats! Bicycles, shopping carts, wheelchairs, cars, trucks, gym equipment, large balls, umbrellas are potentially scary things that your dog needs to learn to love. Start far away at first and creep slowly over while practicing obedience. Never go past their fear threshold as this is opportunity for bad training.
Places to Go
Always call ahead and check the dog policy of where you’re going. Or if you’re like me and prefer to not wait on an employee checking with their boss, do a 3 second google search!
- Visit 2-3 new public places a week and practice obedience in each spot.
- Home Improvement stores.
- Outdoor malls
- Craft supply stores
- Book stores
- Clothing stores
(c) Caitlins Animal Training Services