Managing your new puppy or new older dog is one of the most important aspects of training the dog. We must provide the structure required to prevent the dog from learning behaviors that we will not like. One of my main goals when working with a new puppy is to keep everything positive.
If I don’t manage my new puppy correctly and it is free to roam around unsupervised and learns that eating the furniture is a rewarding behavior, I’ve got a Big Problem! It’s really hard for me to be positive when the dog is eating my furniture!
Ava, my personal dog did not have the run of the house until she was 18 months old. At 18 months, I felt confidant that Ava could handle being unsupervised without developing problems. Up to that point, if I couldn’t supervise her she was either on Place, in her crate or tethered to me. I use this same method for every dog I train and suggest that you do as well.
Make the crate a fun place for your dog. Reward your dog when it goes into the crate and periodically while it’s in the crate. Reward calm quiet behavior.
Use a properly sized crate. This is especially important for young puppies who are learning the appropriate places to eliminate. You can find crates that have dividers which can be removed or repositioned as the dog grows.
When letting the dog out of the crate, always take the dog directly outside. There are occasions when the dog only spends a few minutes in the crate and this may not be required.
Control and monitor the dogs access to food and water. Try to keep food and water on a regular schedule when possible. Every dog has it’s own schedule when it comes to the need to go out. Learn your dogs schedule.
From the very beginning every time the dog goes to the bathroom, I say “Better Hurry”. Start that conditioning early and down the road a bit you’ll have a dog that goes on command. That is very useful public access skill for a dog that is with someone 24/7.
Also from the very beginning I work hard not to let the dog develop a habit of pulling on the lead. This can be a behavior that is very hard to change. Each time I feel pressure on the lead, I stop and hold the lead right next to my body. The dog must focus on me and release the pressure on the lead before we continue. I want the dog to learn that pulling on the lead will never work.