For me and Matilda, puppyhood was bittersweet.
She was at her tiniest, and arguably her most adorable with those indecisively flip-floppy ears – but she was also incredibly skittish, and took forever to potty-train. On the other hand (paw?) she was eager to learn, from the first time I used her kibble meals to teach “sit,” “stay” and “come.”
When I found out that Robin Bennett had created on online puppy course, Raising Your Puppy, I wished I had it when Matilda was a pup.
Whether you’re doing all of your puppy training on your own, or you’re enrolled in a puppy class, the online course gives you guidance on the essentials, week by week, with one of my favorite positive reinforcement based trainers, Robin Bennett. I asked her for some tips for new puppy owners who are overwhelmed with the task of making sure their pup learns the basics during their early learning period.
What’s essential for puppies to learn at 8 weeks to 6 months – and what could be held off until later?
The most critical things for puppies to learn at this age are bite inhibition (learning what they can chew and how hard…and that people’s hands, arms and feet are not chew toys), and they should learn all about the world by being properly socialized in a positive and slow manner to the world around them. It’s easiest to teach a puppy to enjoy the crate and become potty trained during this age as well. I tend to teach puppies lots of household manners and young puppies are like little sponges so training them is never easier than when they are puppies!
How can puppy owners find patience when they’re frustrated with their puppy?
“I like to remember that they are just babies learning about their world. Frustration often happens when our expectations are too high, so it’s good to remember that your dog is young and still learning. It also helps to remember that the more consistent we can be, the more consistent our dog will be. When the puppy seems frustrated, check his body language to notice if perhaps he is upset and frustrated too, especially if we get mad at him. But it can be chaotic at times when you raise your puppy so teaching them to love their crate and providing lots of long-lasting food dispensing toys can be a great way for both of you to get a break from one another.”
- Avoiding eye contact, walking away from you
- Refusing to take treats
- Mouthing at nearby toys, clothing or other items
- Seeming like they’re not listening
- Licking their lips
How does the “Raising Your Puppy” course help puppy parents who already feel like they’re burned out and short on time?
The course is completely designed for the chaos of life! I’ve made the videos super short…most of them are 3 minutes or less! So you can watch the video and start applying the skills to your puppy training right away. The training is also designed to be done as part of your daily living with your dog so hopefully you can put the material to use as soon as you see the video. There is no homework, nothing expected for you to show me, just get online, watch a short video and go! To help families stay on track, I also provided a weekly checklist so you know exactly what to do each week.