Puppy Wish List: A Trainers Perspective
By Michele Forto
From a trainers perspective let’s address the wish list piece by piece.
- Crate training: is the most effective humane way to potty and house train a puppy and I highly recommend it. This however does not mean that the puppy should remain in the crate for hours on end. Scheduled feedings and offerings of water help determine and set a timetable for when it’s time to go potty.
- Socialization: proper socializing is of utmost importance and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be aware of your puppies fear periods and socialize appropriately. Socialization is not just getting to play with other dogs; it includes visits with people of all types, car rides, exposure to different surfaces, sounds, and smells. Socialization should include night exposure and training.
- Heel/Loose Leash: this is a life-saving skill to teach to your dog. Dogs that walk properly on a loose leash are at less of a risk to dart out into traffic or lunge toward a dangerous dog. Loose leash also teaches your dog how to have manners while in public.
- Come: another life-saving skill. Teaching a puppy to come at any distance and through any obstacle or distraction is tough, but with repetition and consistency it will be the command you enjoy watching him do the most. Dogs are beautiful when they are running towards you.
- Sit, Down, Come, and Nice: These commands are a great start! Puppies can learn so much more….sit, down, wait, stand, loose leash walking, auto-sit, leave it, nice, drop it, and fetch! Plus much much more. Dogs can learn 20 commands with hand signals by the age of six months.
- Bite Inhibition: bite inhibition is taught to puppies at 12 weeks of age and is worked on for several weeks. Bite Inhibition teaches a puppy that biting hurts and is unwanted behavior. This is taught by hand feeding semi-soft treats using the command “nice” or “easy”.
Training a puppy is a huge responsibility and a large undertaking. If you expect the above for your new puppy I encourage you to seek out the help and guidance of a local trainer. Denver has over 200 to choose from so there’s a chance you’ll find one that fits your budget, time, and personality.