The Single Tip That Will Help You Prevent 90% Of Puppy Issues
Here's a reality check for you: getting a new dog isn't always sunshine and rainbows!
While successfully raising a dog is arguably one of the most fulfilling events in the life of an animal lover, it can also be a nightmare if you don't know what you're doing.
That's where I come in :)
One of the most common cries for help that I get are puppy owners who come to me saying that they are encountering issues with their puppy having accidents in the house or chewing on the furniture/household items.
My first question to these dog owners always is: Did you catch your dog in the act?
Often times, the owner will say that they did NOT see the puppy in the act and that the puppy did it when they were in another room.
And I always tell these owners that this is the mistake…
You have to be watching a puppy at ALL times early on in order to teach the puppy what is right and what is wrong.
A puppy does not remember what he did a few minutes ago, so you HAVE to catch him in the act to correct a behavior.
If your puppy chews up your socks, and then you try to correct him 20 minutes later after you discover the socks, then your pup isn't going to make the connection when you redirect him to the appropriate chewing object.
While I don't expect you (or anyone) to constantly monitor your dog 24/7, like an overbearing parent tracking their child's every move, there needs to be a clear understanding of what is and isn't appropriate behavior from the start.
This is why instead of giving your pup complete free roam immediately, I recommend that you use a few important training tools to ease into giving them more of your trust to explore on their own.
Whether it takes two days or two weeks to gain this trust, it all starts with conscious awareness of where your puppy is located, and what they are doing at all times.
With all of this in mind, one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to new puppy owners is:
You must have your eyes on your puppy AT ALL TIMES.
If you can’t have both eyes on your pup, your pup needs to be in an enclosed place such as their crate or a gated off room.
Many puppy owners “feel bad” for putting their pup in an enclosed space and thus, allow their puppy to have way too much freedom around the house.
What's wrong with allowing my pup to have free roam?
Well, when you allow your puppy to roam around everywhere, the puppy has no limits, and will take full advantage of this freedom. With an untrained puppy, that is simply a recipe for disaster. How so?
Well think of it like this, would you let your baby crawl around the house without watching them? I hope you answered no... a considerable number of negative outcomes immediately come to mind!
It’s no different with your puppy, as letting your puppy have too much free roam encourages your curious little fluff ball to explore their new world without boundaries, which often leads to naughty actions such as destroying objects in the house and/or having accidents.
This is NOT the way to establish yourself as their pack leader.
What should I do if I can't monitor my puppy at all times?
If you are in a situation where you are not able to have both eyes on your pup, this doesn't mean that you should let them do as he pleases!
Instead, your pup must be placed in a restricted area where he will not be able to get into anything.
Having this small, enclosed area of their own is actually very beneficial for dogs and helps immensely in the training process.
Associate the enclosed area with positivity by feeding your pup, giving him or her treats, chewing objects, and anything else your puppy loves while your pup is in his or her “den”.
This area is amazing for your puppy to have a break with his or her favorite things, it will help with training, AND you can actually take a break from worrying about something getting destroyed or your pup having an accident! It is a total win-win :)
If you’re reading this after you’re already encountering issues with your dog, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered:
If you’re already having a lot of trouble with your puppy chewing on things while roaming around the house, here’s a detailed article on 3 simple steps that will help you correct this behavior.
And for issues with potty training and accidents, here’s a blog on how to respond to your dog’s accident.
With that being said, you can possess all the tools and training knowledge in the world, but if you aren’t constantly monitoring your puppy so that you can catch him in the act, then you’ll miss the opportunity to turn a frustrating situation into a valuable learning experience for your pup.
Remember to keep your eyes on the prize!