When did he get so big?!
A puppy’s number one priority for the first few months of life is to eat, sleep and be cute. Occasionally they play with a few toys or get the “zoomies” as I call it, but really, they just get carried around a lot and showered with kisses. It’s easy to forget that someday they will grow up and become “real” dogs, and in most cases, become too big to be doted on. In order to make sure become respectable canine citizens, some puppy training is in order!
Try telling this to Capone. Maybe it’s because he lives with a Jack Russell and Mila gets to be carried around whenever she wants or perhaps it’s because my other Dane Hannah is so small she can curl into my lap even at 3 years old. Whatever the reason, Capone didn’t get the memo that he’s going to big. Really, REALLY big! Although he’s growing at a rapid rate he still feels that he should be carried, held and basically under foot at all times. We have a growth chart at the clinic and we weigh him and measure his height once a week so I am well aware of just how much he is continuing to grow. With his new found height and weight comes a whole new set of challenges. How does one puppy proof their house for a dog that is equivalent to a small pony?
K9 Kindergarten: Puppy Training 101
Similar to children, puppies do well with a schedule. You wouldn’t let your children play with a hot stove, just like you shouldn’t let your new puppy jump on Grandma Hattie. By setting up rules and a schedule, you are setting your puppy up for success. When puppy training, having a routine such as, letting them out of their crate straight outside to potty, teaches them control. My crew knows the order of who gets let out of their crate first, and they all line up at the back door to be leashed before going outside. I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement as well however, every action has a reaction. This simply means that I do not give out cookies just because Capone looks cute (if I did, he would weigh more than an elephant by now!) but he gets a reward for good behavior. For example, if I have asked him for a sit, I say it once, if he doesn’t obey I put him into a sit, and then he gets a cookie or vocal praise. Even if you have owned dogs your entire life, I highly recommend seeing a professional trainer when bringing home a new dog. I have worked with dog trainer John McWilliams of Pawsitive Experience Pet Services in Rockaway, New Jersey with many of my personal pets as well as recommending him to all of my clients. With each of my dogs, he has taught me something new and has helped them with any issues they may have had from puppies to adulthood. He has a wonderful puppy class that encourages socialization as well as positive behavior. For more information on training classes from puppies to advance please visit: www.trainadog.com.
-K.L. Mitchell, Animerge Night Supervisor