Welcome to this post on puppy training. In Philadelphia, lots of people are looking for great ways to help their puppies grow up into well trained, well adjusted dogs. So here are my top 3 tips for helping your puppy become a productive member of society!
1. Join a puppy training class
No matter how much you know about dog training, there is nothing as good for your puppy as joining a puppy training class. Make sure you find one that allows plenty of time for play and socialization! Dogs that do not learn good social skills while they’re young may have a very hard time adjusting when they’re older. They will learn from each other appropriate body language for greeting each other, inviting play, asking for space, and everything else a dog needs to be able to communicate. Once a week is nice, but more often is better. Even if the classes are all train and no play, it’s a great way to meet other local puppers in need of playmates. See if you can find a playmate for your little fluff so they can continue to practice their social skills all week long. Added bonus, puppies playing are freaking adorable. My favorite local studios with puppy classes is Opportunity Barks.
2. Crate training
Crate training has gone a bit out of fashion these days with dog owners feeling bad about “jailing” their dog. Personally, I know of no better tool for a puppy than having a crate they feel comfortable in. Their crate should not be a place of punishment or seclusion, but a den where they feel safe. Start by having training sessions where they are rewarded for quiet, calm behavior in their crate. Make sure that there is always something fun to do in there, whether it be a favorite toy or some peanut butter smeared on the side. Line it with something comfy, like a bed or a blanket (but make sure it’s well ventilated!). You may hear some whining the first few nights, but your pup is just adjusting to being in a different place and without his littermates. Have some patience and maybe invest in earplugs. After he gets comfortable and makes it his own, the crate will be your best friend for potty training, chewing, stress, and every other puppy problem under the sun.
When dogs are young, they are more open to new experiences. If you get them used to novelty while they’re still hard wired to be bold and unafraid, you will end up with a much more confident adult. Take them to new places as often as possible, and have them meet new people. Feed them on a variety of bowls and trays and ask them to sit in as many weird places as you can think of. Having them meet a lot of people is also key in puppy training. Philly has a lot of great dog-friendly bars and restaurants, take your little nugget out and let everyone fawn over them!