This article was Written for The Setember/October Vegas Dog Magazine and the October/November Arizona Dog Magazine 2007
Puppy Training –
Training can begin as soon as your new pup comes home.
By 7 weeks of age, the puppy has a fully developed brain and nervous system. This is the optimum age for a puppy to leave his litter to begin his new relationship with you!
Day one begins with setting boundaries and house rules that will be in place for a lifetime, start with essentials like house breaking.
House training is easy to teach because dogs are clean by nature and don’t want to soil their den. The important issues with potty training (Housetraining) are close supervision and giving the pup the chance to go outside when he has to relieve him/herself. House training fails because owners give the puppy more freedom than he is ready for.
Utilize a crate to replicate the “den” environment that dogs need and feel secure in. If the puppy is given the opportunity to get out of the crate when he needs to go, his natural desire to be clean and not soil the area he sleeps and spends time in will keep him from relieving himself in the crate.
Use the leash
Take your puppy on a leash or long line to the area where he should eliminate every time you take him from his crate. Use a word to associate the action of going to the bathroom every time puppy goes, example :”go potty”. This word association will help when traveling, or out in public to cue your dog to relieve himself quickly. After he goes, praise him and reward with a treat, or toy. Distractions are mighty at this young age, so if he doesn’t go, put him back into his crate. Repeating the process in 15 minuets. Continue this way until you and your dog have a routine going. Success earns the pup freedom and time is gradually extended as he grows older and reliable. Don’t expect a puppy to go more than a few hours without having to eliminate, and don’t expect him to wait once he is out of his crate.
An easy system for house training is to use a crate with a dog door and an enclosed dog run. The dog crate goes up to the dog door making sure the puppy can go through the dog door into a protectively enclosed environment. With the crate-dog door system setup, your puppy will quickly learn to let himself out of his containment area to relieve himself at the same time it will help develop independence.
Dogs are pack animals preferring to be with us rather than alone. Most canine “separation anxiety” would never develop if the dog, as a puppy, had been trained in this puppy management system. The puppy learns early to deal with being alone without the opportunity to dig, chew or destroy things. We want to help the puppy avoid mistakes that could develop bad habits and could easily have been prevented with good management.
When the pup isn’t in his crate, constant supervision must be used to teach what is important. The easiest way to do this is to literally tie or tether the pup to your waist with a leash or line, or tether him to a piece of furniture where he has no more than three feet of freedom in any direction. Watch carefully if the puppy is tied to avoid chewing. These are some of the first essentials for a good start with your new puppy. Enjoy him and give him a good start with safe and secure boundaries in your home!