Congratulations! You just adopted a puppy! They are between 8 and 12 weeks old, have the perfect puppy eyes and they are so soft! You’re living the perfect life for a few days and then, oops! The little Tasmanian devil wakes up and steals your socks, destroys your furniture, pees in your child’s room and it’s impossible to put his collar on! You no longer sleep at night and wonder if you made the right choice. Let me reassure you, this is all normal. Even for the most prepared, living with a puppy is always a challenge and you have to put all your energy into it for a few weeks. Here are some tips for getting through this phase brilliantly and for planning his training.
When to Start Training?
First and foremost, your puppy’s education should begin as soon as they arrive home, and even before! It is never too early and it is even recommended to do it fairly early in its development, to get them off to a good start.
Before they arrive, you have to get into their head, that of a little being who wants to explore and take everything in their mouth, a bit like a baby. You should also remember that they are not potty trained and that rugs and fabrics are very tempting. So now is the time to go around the house and make some changes, such as putting the plants up, temporarily removing the rugs, not letting the shoes hang out, and hide the electrical wires. Also, if there are some rooms or furniture that you don’t want the puppy to have access to, now is the time to put up fences or some other physical barrier. Indeed, if a puppy cannot practice a behavior such as nibbling on the sofa, there will be less chance of this happening in the future. On the opposite, if they have the chance to do “bad things” day in and day out, it won’t magically go away. Plus, by managing the environment in this way to prevent unwanted behavior from occurring, you won’t have to reprimand your puppy and your relationship with them will be better! The house thus prepared for the big arrival, it’s now the time to plan on how to put our energies in the right places during the first days.
What Are The Training Priorities?
The “New Dog” training program in the Dogo app is very well designed to help you prepare for your puppy’s education, so this is a good place to start. The priorities are usually potty training, biting, learning to play, crate training, and learning to like the training equipment, as well as basic commands, in addition to self-control. It’s a busy schedule, but you have to remember that all the efforts put in the first few weeks are a good investment for the following months. You will be thankful for working hard when you see the results!
However, you have to be careful not to fall into the trap, because often the behaviors that puppy parents find annoying, are those that are not always a priority. Biting and nibbling is a big irritant for most of us, but it’s a natural behavior for the little explorer puppy as their teeth grow. It is indeed important to teach them to drop it and leave it, but it is all the more important to work on the prevention of behavioral problems which normally occur later and are more difficult to change, such as resource guarding, reactivity, or separation anxiety. So it’s tempting to put all the effort into biting exercises, but don’t forget to also put a lot of energy into prevention, too often overlooked with a puppy, unfortunately.
How Often to Train My Puppy?
Training a puppy is done consistently in the first few weeks until they become more independent and make better decisions on their own. Of course, I’m not talking here about teaching them to sit 24 hours a day and feeding them non-stop with rewards, but rather always keeping an eye on it and guiding them in making good decisions daily.
Regarding the exercises suggested by the Dogo app, you have to do them a few times so that the dog assimilates the exercise well, but you must avoid doing them for too long, otherwise, they may get bored. The best advice I can give you is to keep the sessions fun, frequent, and short. It takes three to five minutes for the puppy to learn and remain interested in the exercise. So one trick is to use mealtime to do these learnings by using the portion of your meal as a reward, so you won’t forget to do them. This way you get at least two training sessions a day and prevent your dog from eating too fast. You will see your relationship solidify, thanks to these special moments that you will spend together.
The Key to Success
The key to success with a puppy is therefore to manage their immediate environment well, to allow them to make good decisions on a daily basis, and to follow a training program to teach them the basics of good cohabitation with humans. To make the magic happen, do short sessions that are fun for both the human and the dog. It is this consistency and daily involvement that will give you results. Some results will not be visible, but rest assured that by the work and the efforts put in, you will prevent several behavioral problems and you will thereby avoid a lot of headaches in the future. So go and get your toys out, your best cookies, and open the Dogo app to start the training! Follow the steps and do several repetitions, you will be rapidly impressed with how your little puppy is doing!