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‘Puppy Love’ Anyone…..???
There are countless books/experts and blogs out there covering the subject of ‘puppy training’. Here I’ll try to get the basics down in 800 words or less…
SHOCKING FACT – Anyone can make or break a new arrival (pup) within the first week (either way, the legacy will remain…).
AMAZING FACT – ‘Tough love’ early days – WORKS…!!!
SAD FACT – More dogs end up at rescue/rehoming centers because – ‘he’s an absolute nightmare’. People say, ‘he won’t do as he’s told’, ‘he’s wrecking the house’, ‘he won’t come back when I call’ etc. (please also apply ‘she’ to all the above) – The list of ‘excuses’ is endless…
Puppy Training Is Not Going To Be Easy
Most pups are ready to leave mother and go to their forever home around the age of 8-12 weeks – FACT – NO!!!
Your pup would quite happily spend the rest of its life with Mumma. After all, she’s shown care, protection, warmth, guidance, and food. Similar to today’s teenagers! Who would ever want to leave that environment! You are about to become their responsible grown-up.
Daunting isn’t it…??? FACT – NO…!!!
It honestly doesn’t have to be that difficult if we adhere to just a few simple rules and principles.
Remember Your Dog Is A Dog
Firstly, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that, despite decades of domestication, our newly prized pooch is still a ‘pack animal’. What does a pack animal need? – A LEADER….
Tempering your role as LEADER (for ‘Leader’ read ‘ALPHA’), is, however, somewhat trickier than the above-mentioned Mumma.
This poor, lonely pup, without Mumma is looking for someone to take Mumma’s place…
That’s ok, you’re here new Mumma, what could possibly go wrong…???
Spoiling Your Dog Will Spoil Their Future
FACT – Overindulgence. Giving that new fur baby every bit of your attention to the exclusion of everything else. You didn’t do it before, why do it now…???
Gorgeous new pup howling through the night? Sorry, but this is where ‘tough love’ comes in. IGNORE….!!! (honestly, that furbag will eventually settle).
Following morning – sorry but we’re back to ‘tough love’ . Go into the kitchen, or wherever furbag is contained, (PLEEEEEASE not the bedroom). Take a breath, pop kettle on and – IGNORE….!!!! (obviously, take out for that all-important wee, etc).
Break any of the above rules and you’re making a rod for your own back. ‘Separation Anxiety’ for that pup will only ever be caused by YOU. Early days, the more you give, the more young pup will expect. ‘Ahhhhh, you’re responding to my howling, whining and jumping up’. How do I get the same response again…???? By doing the same behavior may be…???
(Need to temper this here as – the love, affection, devotion, and obedience will all come later believe me).
If you’ve got kids, what could possibly be better than them rushing home from school to see that adorable new fur bag – Nothing whatsoever for the kids – however…
Poochy views it differently ‘Ahhhhh, at last, they’re back, I get cuddles, treats, and attention!’, ‘In fact, next time I see them coming home, I’ll whine, shout, jump up and generally go mad as they are my new best friends’…
See the theme that’s going on here – SEPARATION ANXIETY…
Simple Tip For A New Puppy Owner
A simple tip that has worked for countless pups I’ve had, and harsh as it sounds – IGNORE… Yep, you read that right – IGNORE…!!!!
As far as pup knows, you’ve all been out on a hunt, and to them, that might’ve been 3mins or 3hrs (remember you’re the ALPHA), so they feel duty-bound to anticipate and rejoice at your return – IF THEY’RE ALLOWED…
Biscuit The Border Terrier Learn’t This Way
Here is what the Palmer-Snellins found worked so well. With our last (current!!), most adorable pup, Biscuit the Border Terrier, we had a family ‘coming home from school’ rule. Similarly, it applied to anyone returning to our home for that matter. In other words friends, neighbours (and especially Grandparents…!!!).
Yes, Biscuit was absolutely overjoyed at our arrival back (he assumed we had been out hunting for food to provide for the pack), however, being the ALPHA’s, we had other ideas…
Enter the house, DO NOT respond or even acknowledge that pup’s attention. I seriously mean don’t look down, speak or acknowledge that he’s even there. (if you do, he/she has got your attention – ‘how do I get your attention again???’ etc. etc. as above).
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Instead – go to the kitchen, count every item in the fruit bowl at least 6 times, add, subtract and divide the different fruits, etc. (adults potentially make a cup of tea/respond to emails etc…). All the time totally ignoring the aforementioned pup.
After that bend down, give said pup the tiniest little pat, say ‘Hi Biscuit’ and walk away… (yep – ‘tough love’)
In conclusion: You could almost hear Biscuit say – ‘oh, I guess you’re back then’ – no dramas, no howling or jumping up.
Minutes later he’d be sound asleep again, curled up at our feet. ‘MY ALPHA’S ARE HOME’.
Get Great Puppy Training Advice by Johne Snellin, Director of Staglers