1. Buy a crate for short term confinement which will aid in housetraining and be a safe place when the pup cannot be supervised.
2. Provide a space for long-term confinement which will contain a comfortable bed or crate, water bowl, plenty of chew toys filled with kibble or treats and a doggie toilet. This could be a laundry or utility room, a portion of the kitchen, or an area contained within an X-pen or other gated off area.
3. Purchase a martingale collar (Premier has a good one) and a leash (leather or nylon) Retractable leashes are not recommended until dogs learn not to pull.
4. Locate a training center that uses positive reinforcement methods, including clicker training. Sit in on some classes, puppy and advanced before signing up. Puppy classes should include time for socialization and advanced classes should have well-behaved happy dogs.
5. Locate a pet store that sells high-quality premium dog foods. Learn how to read ingredient labels so you buy the best for the health of your puppy.
6. Socialization should begin immediately and is of the greatest importance:
- Puppy class will help teach bite inhibition and introduce the pup to lots of different breeds.
- Invite all your friends to meet the puppy which will help train and teach it to take food gently. Have plenty of yummy treats available.
- Carry the puppy into large pet stores to meet lots of different people of all ages and sizes.
- Introduce the puppy to your children’s friends and invite neighborhood children over.
- Take the puppy with you to meet lots of people. Drink your coffee outdoors at Starbucks.
7. Read Ian Dunbar’s After You Get Your Puppy for great advice on housetraining, socialization, handling and gentling your puppy and bite inhibition.
8. Purchase a minimum of 6 chew toys to stuff with kibble & healthy treats. (Kong products, biscuit balls/cubes, sterilized long bones) Don’t buy the puppy a food bowl until it is well-socialized, well-trained, and has impeccable household manners. Instead, in the morning measure out the daily ration and feed throughout the day in the chew toys or hand fed during training and socialization.
1. Enroll your puppy in Puppy Classes at 10 wks of age.
2. Teach your puppy that his name means wonderful things will happen.
- Begin by saying its name and giving a treat: Name-Treat (treat should be high value like chicken, beef liver or beef heart cooked and cut into pea sized pieces). Repeat 10 times a session with many sessions in a day.
- When he is in the same room with you but not looking, say his name only once. If he turns to look or comes to you, say Yes and offer a treat. If he doesn’t turn to look at you or come, go back to step 1.
- When step 2 is mastered and the puppy is coming to you every time it hears its name, call the pup’s name when he is in another room. He should come running to you. If not, go back to step 2. Only call his name once.
- Remember never to use your dog’s name for things he does not like, such as toe nail clipping, baths or grooming, medications, etc. Instead, go and get him.
- Do use his name for things he does like, such as coming for dinner, going for a walk, playing a game, going for a car ride).
3. Learn how to teach your pup to sit by luring (taught in puppy class) and practice often every day. He must always sit first before being petted, getting his chew bones or toys, going outside, being fed his meals or anything else he wants. If he doesn’t sit… he doesn’t get it. It should become a default behavior so that every time you walk up to the puppy or he comes up to you, he will sit.
4. Jumping up on you—don’t reward it. NEVER touch him, talk to him, make eye contact or acknowledge his existence in any way if he jumps on you. Look or turn away and turn to stone. Only, when he sits will he be rewarded. YES, good puppy, food reward and treats.
5. Pulling on the leash—never reward a puppy for pulling on the leash by walking forward. If you feel tension on the leash, make like a tree and wait for the puppy to turn toward you, say YES and offer a food reward and wait for the puppy to come to you to get it. Reward often for keeping a loose leash. You can also back up which will bring the puppy around to face you or turn and walk in the opposite direction and reward when the pup catches up. All three methods will teach the puppy that he cannot continue to go in the direction that he wants if he pulls on the leash.
Words of Wisdom
1. NEVER leave a puppy unsupervised. If you are busy doing other things, put the puppy in its crate or tie/tether the puppy to you to keep it close.
2. Pups become destructive when they are bored or lack supervision so provide plenty of chew toys and educational toys to keep him busy and entertained.
3. Providing stuffed chew toys or bones teaches the pup what is okay to chew on, how to settle down, and prevents barking.
4. A word about Alpha Roll-overs—DON’T DO IT!! It will scare the puppy and undermine its trust and respect for you. If the puppy struggles violently when you try to hold it, take its collar in one hand and hold the puppy firmly against your abdomen with your other hand on its tummy and paws facing away from you.
Stroke the ears and occipital bones on the head with the fingers of one hand and stroke the tummy with the fingertips of the other. Talk soothingly to the pup. As soon as the pup calms down, praise him an release him after a few seconds. If you have trouble getting the pup to calm down and enjoy being hugged
after a day or two of practice get help from a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT). This is a Red Flag behavior and you need help.
Contributed by Teri Beeman when Training Chair of NEMDA