Having a puppy can fulfil and enrich your life in so many ways. It is often said that a house is not a home without a dog. Albeit, a house is definitely less chaotic without a puppy! However, house training a puppy can be quite the task. There are endless amounts of different ways of training your puppy in order to set some ground rules and protect that much loved carpet of yours. Here are a few which you may find beneficial to begin with.
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Offer regular toilet breaks
A puppy is often used to doing its business wherever it likes, and your new rug won’t be an exception! It is important to allow your puppy to have regular visits to the garden in order to go for their number ones and two’s. Take plenty of treats with you; as when they do toilet outside, they need to be aware that this is an event to be celebrated! Lots of love and affection is needed, along with plenty of treats and praise. It is without a doubt that accidents will happen within the house. But through repetition, praise and continuity of letting your puppy outside, they will eventually learn that the garden is the place to relieve themselves! Once a toileting routine has been established, you can breathe a sigh of relief that your rugs are safe. For now, at least…
Allow plenty of stimulation
A bored puppy is not a happy puppy. Often the more bored they are, the more destruction they may cause in the home. There are a variety of toys and puzzles that can be used to keep them entertained, whether it’s a teddy that they can carry around with them or a durable chew toy that can be filled with tasty treats to keep them occupied. Stimulation allows the puppy to use their brains and enrich their senses.
Even if your puppy hasn’t been fully vaccinated, so cannot go out on walks, it may be beneficial to take your puppy to a busy area and keep them in your arms. This allows the puppy to take in the world and make use of their senses. It also allows for desensitisation to loud noises, vehicles and other people. Without stimulation, your puppy may be more inclined to take out their boredom by chewing furniture or other possessions!
Teach basic commands
Training your puppy to do tricks is a brilliant way to bond together. Not only does this provide them with mental stimulation, it also ensures that they listen and understand what is expected of them. Valuable commands include ‘sit’, ‘wait’ and ‘come’. These are especially useful in instances where you really need control over your puppy in the future, such as out on a walk. Plenty of treats and repetition is needed in order to set in these commands. It is ideal to keep sessions short and sweet to avoid the puppy becoming bored. It may be particularly useful to teach the ‘drop’ command if your puppy shows an interest in stealing your possessions. Once these have been established, the more fun tricks can be learnt such as ‘roll over’, ‘spin’ and ‘play dead’! There are plenty of online videos of how to teach a variety of tricks.
Provide a safe space
It may be beneficial to crate train your puppy. Or provide them with a restricted area for night time or when they need to be left alone. This space should be comfortable, quiet and safe for the puppy as well as being protected from heat or cold drafts. Not only does having this space offer you peace of mind when you need to leave them alone, but it allows the puppy a place to feel safe and secure if they ever feel overwhelmed from all of those cuddles they’re receiving. It may be that as they get older, the crate or safe space is no longer used or needed. Crates and safe spaces allow boundaries to be set so that the puppy understands that they can sleep on their own, unless you’re willing to share your bed with them for the foreseeable.
Gently introduce alone time
At some point you will have to leave your puppy alone and believe that they will be a big brave pup! Your puppy needs to understand that even though they are left alone, they will soon be reunited with their owner. Alone time can be slowly introduced as a form of training. Leave the puppy alone in a room for 30 seconds to begin with. If no crying or barking is heard, then enter the room and reward the puppy. You should not re enter the room if barking or crying is heard, as the puppy will associate this behaviour with getting your attention.
Over time, the 30 seconds can be increased to minutes and hours. It may be beneficial to leave the puppy with a strong and sturdy puzzle toy, or leave the TV or radio playing so that there is some background noise. Classic music is often a good choice (unless your puppy shows a particular interest in disco and 80’s hits!).
There may be times where you wonder why you have introduced a small demon into your life and you may be pulling your hair out at the never ending training cycle. It is important to remain positive and understand that this is a learning curve for both you and the puppy. Reflect on how much your puppy has learnt since you first bought them home and set small, realistic targets. Most importantly, enjoy every moment of them being a puppy, as they grow up far too quickly!