Puppy Training: To kick off 2018, we will be doing a series of posts about how to get started with a new puppy. This is the first post in the series.
Is Santa brining your family a new puppy for Christmas? Maybe the new puppy has already arrived? The December holiday time is a very common time for adding a new dog or puppy to your home. While December can be a great time for the new addition because people have time off from work or school, it is also a time wrought with it’s own stresses, let alone the stress of caring for a new pet. We have some puppy training suggestions and ideas to help you help your new dog or puppy settle in with you, adjust to your new home, and make sure you both get off on the right foot.
Puppy Crate Training
First up, invest in a sturdy crate. Your crate should be where your puppy sleeps during the night, naps during the day, and hangs out when you can’t actively supervise him. Active supervision means you are watching the pup – 100% of the time. If you can’t actively supervise him because you are making dinner, doing laundry, helping with homework, or anything else – that’s where the crate comes in.
Your puppy’s crate should be big enough for him to stretch out in, stand up and turn around in, and sit up tall in. It should not be so big that he can poop or pee in one end and still sleep comfortably in the other. You may think a large crate is “nicer” for your puppy. However, for a puppy learning where to go potty, a large crate is confusing and leaves too much room – literally – for mistakes to happen.
Your pup may need help to learn how to love his crate. He may be used to beign surrounded by his littermates, so being alone can be scary at first. To help your pup be comfortable in his crate, first make sure he is getting lots of exercise – play time with toys, play time with you, chasing balls, and learning new commands with you are all great ways to ensure your pup is good and tired when it is time for some down time in his crate.
Some pups will walk in their crate and lay down without a fuss, some need some encouragement, some need to learn crates are awesome. Playing crate games can be a great way to show your pup that crates are fun. To play, get a handful of your pup’s food and toss 1 piece in at a time. Let your pup go into the crate to eat the food and when he comes back out, toss another piece in. You should soon see that your pup decides to hang out in the crate and wait for the next piece of food – this is what we want to happen! Toss in a few more pieces and then lure your pup out of the crate and start the process over again. After a few rounds of this, toss a small handful of food in the crate and close the door before your pup can go back in. Then, when he looks eager to go in, open the door and say “crate up!” in a happy, excited voice. This is the beginning of teaching your pup to go in his crate on command.
Look for more crating tips and tricks in our next post in a few days. Interested in puppy training classes? Click here to sign up for our next puppy class!