¨… So suddenly I hear a very weird noise, like a tornado galloping on four legs in my living room. I walk in and ¨Simba¨ is going crazy. She is running like a maniac and possessed like a poltergeist. What’s going on?! At first I thought my puppy was going crazy and I didn´t know what to do. She was going to destroy my house and probably injured herself. As soon as I could I put the leash on her to manage her behavior … but then she started bitting and chewing the leash and even jumping and going after me!. Gabriel I need help!¨
This is a story that I get quite often. And no, don´t worry your puppy is not crazy or possessed . It´s just pent up energy that your pup needs to release. By the way, cats do it too! Just in case you have a kitty and you´re wondering.
In any case, there are different ways to deal with this behavior. One of them is using a leash, but not if you haven’t introduced the leash to your puppy first. This blog is about how to do this.
If you wait to put a leash on your pup until he or she misbehaves or goes crazy, good chances are that you are either going to dial Pawmos 911 for help or start singing the Hakuna Matata while your pup is driving you nuts. Btw, Hakuna Matata works, I sing it all the time, and it´s cheaper than Pawmos 911;)
Anyways, your new puppy has no idea what a leash is. So how you handle the introduction might save you some time and headaches.
There are two ways I recommend on how to introduce the leash to your puppy.
The first is very easy and extremely simple. Wait until your puppy is tired or even half a sleep and put the leash on. While your puppy is still calm take it off. This is a very effective way to tell your little cutie that the leash means absolutely nothing. Do this several times during the day for several days. It’ll take you no more than 1 minute each time.
The second is to put the leash on your puppy when you are going to train him or her. For example: Go and get a treat or a toy. Put the leash on and tell your pup to come to you while holding the leash. Don’t pull the leash or drag him or her around. Just hold the leash ,show the treat and start moving away from him or her. Let your puppy follow you or even chase you a little bit while holding the leash. Give a treat here and there when she or he comes to you.
When you do this kind of training be gentle and don’t put to much excitement. Excitement and Leash are like oil and water. It´s a bad mix! Remember this for the rest of your doggy life:
Take a moment to think about it. It really doesn’t make sense to get your puppy all excited and then restrain him or her with a 3 foot leash. This is like telling a 6 year old kid that he or she is going to Disney World before going to sleep. It´s just bad timing.
This is why you want your pup to associate the leash with calmness and not with excitement right from the beginning.
As your puppy grows bigger and cuter you will want to start learning how to communicate with the leash. To learn more about this click on this link: Leash communication
But for now just make sure you start with the right foot instead of singing the Hakuna Matata later.
© Gabriel Riesco, Fairfield CT, March 5th, 2018
Housetraining is simple, but it is a big commitment for several months. The golden rule is to prevent the pup to make mistakes in the house by following these 3 concepts:
1. Timing. Effective housetraining depends entirely on your ability to predict when your puppy needs to eliminate so you can direct him/her to an appropriate toilet area and reward for doing so.
2. Supervision. The puppy is either going to be in his crate, in a confined area, under constant supervision or out side. In a matter of weeks they will learn how to hold it and they will be on schedule.”
3. Rewards. Every time your pup eliminates in an appropriate area reward by praising or with a treat.
Divided into two stages:
1. At the first stage puppies don’t know how to hold it yet so you need to take them out very frequently until they develop the muscle that holds the bladder.
2. Progressively teach the puppy to hold it for longer periods of time and create a schedule
Both stages involve simple scheduling. Lets start with the first stage.
-Take your pup outside frequently, specially after eating, naps, long confinements, trips, or play sessions. Be observant so you can predict when they are going to go.
-Reward every time he/she goes on the right spot.
-Don’t allow the pup to make mistakes. For this is key use a confined space in the house with baby gates or a crate with stuffed and chew toys. They normally don’t go in the same place where they spend a lot of time.
-Do not let them wonder freely around the house without constant supervision, this is when they make mistakes.
– The puppy is either going to be in his crate, in a confined area or under constant supervision.
– Follow a consistent schedule. (Puppies usually get fed three times a day).
-If you take the pup outside and he/she doesn’t go, take him/her back to the crate or sit him/her on your lap for a while. Wait and try later. Repeat this until they go outside.
-If you catch your puppy making a mistake for the first week or so don’t say or do anything. Make sure he /she is comfortable peeing or pooping in front of you.
Once he /she is comfortable you can clap your hands and pick him/her up. Usually they stop. Take him/her out to finish the job. Then reward. If you stay passive the pup might learn that it’s OK to make a mistake. So it’s important that they know that you disagree and that you are not happy about it. Do not yell at them or get angry, is not a crime is just an accident.
-Punishment or yelling is not a good idea, by doing this there are good chances that your pup will understand that he/she is not suppose to do it in front of you, they will hide and probably will refuse to pee in front of you. So stay calm and be patient. Disagreeing with something is different than getting angry or yelling. The difference is teaching versus punishing.
-Always clean up accidents with an odor neutralizer if they do occur. This extremely important
-You can use the cue ¨go pee ¨ or ¨go potty¨ every time he/she does it where they are supposed to and reward by praising or with a treat. This will help you with the schedule.
-If you say the cue once or twice and the pup doesn’t go, means that he/she doesn’t know the cue or doesn’t need to go. DON´T repeat it. Wait and say the cue while they are doing it until they learn the cue.
-To teach them to hold it is essential to use a crate or a confined area where they are not going to go.
– Puppies, especially when they are 3 to 8 months old, usually do not go to the bathroom where they sleep, where they eat or spend a lot of time.
– Using the crate as the place where they sleep is a good way to associate the crate with relaxation, comfort and security. You can use it during the day as a tool to teach the pup to hold it.
-Do not use the crate for more than 3 hours at a time, during the day.
– If you don’t have a crate, a kitchen with baby gates is a good place for them to spend time without supervision. Make sure the kitchen is puppy proofed!
-Set up a schedule where they can go three or four times a day always at the same time windows.
© Gabriel Riesco, NYC 2017
1. Difference between training/conditioning and bonding communicating. Knowing when and how to use this two different approaches is key in order to create and to maintain a harmonious relationship with your puppy. Applying this two concepts correctly will allow you to teach your puppy what he/she can do and what he/she can´t do.
2. Socialization with people.
Your puppy needs to meet as many people as possible and get used and confortable with all kinds of humans: men, women and children in different environments:.
3. Your puppy is been removed from his littermates. Playing with other puppies is simply natural to them. They exercise, learn social skills, boundaries, bite inhibition and a whole lot of other things that we don’t even know. Make sure you provide that puppy playtime.
4. Your puppy is been removed from his/her mother. This makes you his/her new parent. Good parenting simply does not exist without boundaries, structure and play time.
5. House training: House training relies on mastering this 3 simple concepts:
- Timing. Your ability to predict when your puppy needs to eliminate
- Supervision. The puppy is either going to be in his crate, in a confined area, under constant supervision or out side.
3. Rewards. Every time your pup eliminates in an appropriate area reward
6. Long term confinement area (Penn) and short term confinement area (Crate).
Using a confinement area wether is a penn or crate will teach your puppy to want to chew on appropriate toys, enjoy it’s own company and will prepare him/her for those times when he/she will be left alone.
7. Biting or mouthing. Biting and mouthing is completely normal behavior in a puppy. Knowing when to ignore, when to address and how to teach them bite inhibition is vital in order to prevent future problems.
8. Feeding. Food aggression is something that you can easily prevent if you do the right things from the beginning. Hand feeding and teaching your puppy how to eat in a calm sate of mind will prevent future problems
9. Leash. How you present a leash to a puppy for the first few times is going to make a lasting impact on your puppy. Creating a good and calm association with the leash will prevent biting, pulling and fighting against it.
© Gabriel Riesco, NYC 2017