How Much Exercise Should I Do With My Puppy?

How Much Exercise Should I Do With My Puppy?

How much exercise should I do with my puppy?

It’s a common mistake to think that puppies need a lot of exercise or constant attention and entertainment. 

As a matter of fact puppies not only don’t need a lot of exercise, but they need a lot of sleep: 15 – 20 hours a day on average. 

When you exercise or play too long with a puppy, they tend to get more cranky, aggressive and frustrated. Why? Because they are puppies. Their attention spin is very low and they get overtired very fast. 

Keep your play time and training sessions short and sweet. Start teaching patience and self control by adding structure and little rules to every game. Puppies get more tired when you make them wait for things than when you rile them up and play endlessly. 

If you want to play crazy with your puppy because it’s fun, that’s fine, just make sure that when you are done with the play you know how to take the time to slow your puppy down and to finish the craze/game with calmness. Warning: most people have no idea how to do this. They just stop playing  “Cold turkey” and they expect their puppy to do the same. This is usually the case when I get the 911 calls.  There are two very important reasons to do this: 

  1. For you to develop  a way to communicate to your puppy to calm down 
  2. For your puppy to start learning self control and self soothing. 

Generally speaking is better to do more short paly/training sessions throughout the day than fewer and longer. 

Does my puppy need constant attention and supervision?

You should teach your puppy to be left alone and also to be around you without seeking for constant attention.

 Every puppy should have a specific area where they spend time alone, This could be a crate, an ex-pen or a confined area that is puppy proofed. If your puppy is not in a confined area you should be supervising all the time unless he/she is sleeping.

You should also teach your puppy to be with you without having your constant attention. Being present does not mean to cater to their needs or cravings all the time. 

3 Mistakes you must NOT do with your puppy that will get you into a lot of trouble:

 1. Don’t give eye contact or engage when your puppy is in the crate or ex-pen.

 2. Don’t let your puppy invade your space without invitation. You’ll regret it later.

 3. Don’t do long periods of exercise, play or long walks. 

Why Does My Puppy Has The “Zoomies”? Or The “Witch” Hours?

Why Does My Puppy Has The “Zoomies”? Or The “Witch” Hours?

The “Zoomies” is when a puppy hits a time during the day or night and starts running around back and forth like a possessed maniac. 

This is a common puppy behavior. It usually starts as an expression of play and joy. Most often than not, it turns out to be an outlet of pent-up energy that ends up in a completely out of control behavior.

So why do they have the “out of control” “Zoomies”? Should you exercise more your puppy? 

Restless and “out of control” behavior is caused because of the lack of sleep and structure, not because of the lack of exercise. 

It’s a very common mistake to think that unruly behavior, restlessness or the “Zoomies” is because your puppy needs more exercise. As a matter of fact puppies do not need a lot of exercise, but they do need a lot of sleep and structure, just like babies. 

Have in mind that puppies, like babies, are growing and developing. This takes a lot of energy out of them and that’s why they need a lot of sleep and rest. 

Should I let him have the Zoomies? – “He really turns into a little devil.”

Leaving your puppy have the zoomies unchecked can lead into injuries for both humans and puppies. It can also start unwanted behaviors that will carry on as an adult dogs. Examples of these are overexcitement, unruly behavior, excessive barking, anxiety, not listening and sometimes even aggression. 

There are two key elements to manage the “zoomies”

  1. Having a consistent schedule and making sure your puppy gets all the sleep he needs. Having  a “safe area” such as a crate, an ex-pen, or some kind of confined area where they can sleep with no interruptions, is key in order for them to get the rest they need.
  1. Providing structure to a puppy with clarity. 

But what does structure mean? 

Structure means to provide guidance, boundaries and limits during their play time or activities. Just like their mothers do. 

Whats important to understand is that It’s not the endless play or exercise that’s going to tire your puppy out. Quite the opposite, this will make your puppy restless, feisty and cranky. Puppies when they play the reach a point where they start getting feisty and frustrated. They stop listening and they become relentless. This is a red flag. The more you continue this activity, play or exercise the more restless and unruly your puppy will become. 

On the other hand, providing structure by asking your puppy to play-stop- play; teaching your puppy to calm down in the middle of the play; and setting up clear boundaries in a calm and gentle manner will put your puppy at ease. This is precisely the meaning of structure. It’s usually the lack of clarity and consistency that creates anxiety and restlessness in your puppy. 

Try and put a bunch of kids that weren’t tought any boundaries and have no self-control in a basketball court with no rules. Then see what happens. It will not end up well. 

If there’s no rules, there’s no game. If there’s no game, there’s no fun. 

Providing plenty of sleep/down time and providing structure to your puppy, not only will diminish the amount of  “Zoomies”, but it will also keep the “Zoomies” at an intensity level where it’s just a healthy outlet of play and joy, instead of an unhealthy outlet for craziness and chaos. 

                             © Pawmos Dog Training LLC   |   All Rights Reserved  November 2022

How To Introduce The Leash To Your Puppy For The First Time

How To Introduce The Leash To Your Puppy For The First Time

¨… 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

How do I Potty Train My Puppy?

How do I Potty Train My Puppy?

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.

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.

Second Stage.

-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

8 Things You MUST Know For Puppy Training

8 Things You MUST Know For Puppy Training

1.  Difference between training and behavior. 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 

a. Socializing 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:.

b. Socializing with other dogs. 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.

Your puppy is been removed from his/her mother. Getting structure and guidance from the  mother and from adult dogs is very important to learn social cues and boundaries in a very natural way. This also makes you his/her new parent. Good parenting simply does not exist without boundaries, structure and play time.

3. Teach your puppy to be left alone. Dogs are social animals by nature, so it’s not natural for them to be alone. We need to teach them to be left alone if not they can develop separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can turn to be a very serious problem. It can result in non stop barking /whining, destructive behavior and even peeing.

4. House training:  House training relies on mastering this 3 simple concepts:

  1. Timing. Your ability to predict when your puppy needs to eliminate
  2. 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

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Feeding.  Food aggression is something that you can easily prevent if you do the right things from the beginning. Teaching your puppy how to eat in a calm sate of mind and getting use to your presence and  hands will prevent future problems

8. 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. Revised in 2022