puppy training

New Puppy Frustrations

Yep, you can do it. Just read this and you’l be ready to go.                                                 Buy this book

Yep, you can do it. Just read this and you’l be ready to go.

Buy this book

Do you have a new puppy? Are you going out of your mind with frustrations? Are you asking yourself “what the heck were we thinking?” Believe me when I say “this is normal and it too shall pass, more than likely.” There are those who completely change their mind once they have a puppy. They either had no idea what they were getting into; forgot what it is like to have a puppy or it may be a very bad match. No matter what the reason, there is a learning curve and hump to get over.

Believe me when I say “even dog trainers get frustrated with new puppies.” Truly. I think the most important advice that I give to new k9 guardians or those with a new puppy is “you can do it.” It is absolutely essential that you think that you can. I can guarantee that if you feel incapable of training, caring and teaching your puppy, you will be.

Having a puppy can be tough if you have no idea how dogs communicate, function or think. But with just a bit of information you can have an “AH HA” moment and be on your way to a wonderful relationship. I cannot tell you how many times my clients have said “Sherri you make it look so easy.” Well, that is because it is for me, it’s what I do. But it can be easy for you too once you understand what you are doing.

Hire a positive trainer, read a positive reinforcement book or new puppy book like the one I wrote (wink wink). Don’t be stubborn. After all we are humans and we barely get by with trying to communicate with each other let alone trying to teach another species. Help is close at hand.

There is a great deal to understand about guiding a puppy through the early years; even before the actual obedience training begins. It is all about understanding each other and yes you can.


A New Puppy

First alone walk on the beach, big time life experience for baby Riggs.

First alone walk on the beach, big time life experience for baby Riggs.

You’ve got a new puppy, where do you begin? What are the first things you need to do? Let’s discuss.

With the addition of a new dog to your home and family, there is much to do. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard from new guardians “I don’t know what to do?” Puppies are a lot of work and there are many important things to teach them before you even get started on the official obedience stuff, that is other than “sit.” “Sit” is so very important to teach right away; it is the beginning of learning about manners.

We have a new puppy and it has been a ton of work; puppies are a substantial amount of work up front. But the pay off for all your hard work is a well mannered k9 member of the family. Like humans, all puppies are different; each comes with it’s own personality and issues. Some require more work than others; there is not a one size fits all when addressing the addition of a k9 to your family.

With Riggs nearing the 5 month mark, we’ve been busy. For the last 5 days my husband and I have been away on a family trip. What this means for us is getting back at it hard and intense. Much of the rules and regulations that I have instilled have gone by the wayside with my absence. So we have started off this day with strict rules and Riggs is remembering easily.

Without even addressing the obedience stuff (other than sit) there is so much to work on. Food guarding, nipping, jumping, house training, crate training, socializing (life experience) and so, so much more.

My book above covers all the things that you need to know when you have a new dog. Without getting into too much official “obedience;” it covers all the essential basics that you can address to avoid problem issues down the road. It is a must read for any k9 lover or guardian (if I do say so myself.) ;)

Our human world is vastly differently than that of the k9. It is our job to assimilate them into our world as best we can. Some have a more difficult time than others but they can all “get it,” with our help. As our dogs age and things start to become easier, we will drop the ball to a degree. This is how we humans work for the most part, myself included. So when we begin a new relationship with a canine we must start off with a bang.

That new little canine brain has got so much to learn in a very short time. And I have to say that I cannot believe what they can learn in a fraction of the time that we learn. They are amazing, truly.

When to start puppy training

Elsa as a baby, ready to learn.  

When do you start puppy training?  Ah, that is the question.  Well, in the olden days, wayyyyy back when I was a young'n; the start date for training was around the six month mark.  Why six month?  Because that is when the trainers thought that a puppy had enough neck muscle to withstand collar corrections.  Ugh, it makes me shudder just writing that statement.  It is sad but true.  

Now that we are into 2015, exactly 40 years from when I started my training, I have an entirely different perspective on it all.  First let's talk about the word "train."  Training is the word we use when talking about educating our canines.  To teach is to train.  To train can mean to practice for a sport as well but when humans use it in regards to dogs it usually means to educate or teach. 

Training should not mean that you are planning to inflict collar corrections.  It should mean that you are going to educate your new little fluff ball on the ins and outs of living in a human world.  After all they are dogs and not humans so living in a human world takes an education to do it well.   

Training a new puppy should begin as soon as you bring your puppy home.  Maybe give your new baby the first day to sleep off the excitement of the big transition but then it's at it.  You may be thinking "really? so young?"  Yep.  But let me say this, learning about the world that your little canine addition lives in requires that we teach them about it.  

Training does not just imply sit, stay and come.  Training means learning about everything.  What to touch, not to touch; where to pee and poop and where not to.  Training means learning to sleep in a crate; how to go up and down the stairs.  It will incorporate bite inhibition; playing and interactions.

Sit is the very first behavior that you can teach.  It is easy and can be taught in a matter of minutes.  Once you have that you can use it for many different things.  Training should be a constant, not a five minute session each morning and afternoon.  There will be times when you teach a new behavior and put it on verbal cue but that is just a fraction of what training incorporates with puppies.  

Life changes drastically when a puppy joins your family.  Their life as they have known it, living as a member of a litter with Mom is gone.  Everything from that removal moment is new.  So when your puppy seems like they are being naughty; just stop and think how new it all is for them.   Just imagine how much they have to learn.  So when someone asks "when do I start training?"  The answer is easy, right now.  You have a big job ahead of you, so get to it.