Part 4 - The First Few Days

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Part 4 - The First Few Days

Postby LabRes1 » 14 Sep 2007, 19:51


The first few days.

Now we have our puppy home everything we do is aimed at encouraging the kind of behaviour we want for the future and preventing things which we are going to have to train out later.
The big two problem areas with very young puppies are toilet training and hand biting. Both of these activities are perfectly natural so the puppy can see no reason not to do them. We on the other hand want one done in a particular place and the other not done at all! This time I intend to look at toilet training.
There are no secrets with toilet training, just hard work and vigilance. Decide where abouts you want your puppy to perform and stick to it every time you take your puppy out, rain, shine or snow! Every time you feed puppy, every time puppy has a drink, every time puppy wakes up it’s outside quick. In the early days I carry my puppies out. They are unlikely to want to do anything whilst you are carrying them so all the more chance of success. When you get the chosen place put the puppy down and use your words to tell it what you want. I use the words, “Be Quick” a simple command which I can use anywhere!!! As he starts I say, “Gooood boyyy, be quick! In a happy voice letting him know I’m pleased and also helping to build up the association on the words “Be Quick” with the act of performing. Watch your puppy all the time when indoors, if you see him sniffing of starting to circle the its outside again fast! These are the signs to watch for. I keep an old coat hanging on the door knob so I can grab it in passing if it’s raining. 30 seconds going to get a jacket before taking the puppy out and there is another accident! Another chance to praise the puppy missed! Never just “Put Puppy out” take puppy out so you are there to see what happens and more important, to praise the puppy when it does as wanted.

Accidents happen and with the best will in the world you cannot avoid a few. Dogs are creatures of habit and will go back to the place where they have performed in the past. We use this to get our puppy to use a particular place to go. But the same trait works against us when a puppy goes indoors! Every trace of smell must be removed or puppy will take it as an invitation to use the same spot. There are sprays available to mask the scent and they seemed to do a good job for me! Problems can occur if the urine soaks into woodwork or under kitchen units. I took the plinth off of the kitchen units and varnished the bottom edge to stop anything soaking in. I also sealed them to the floor with acrylic sealer so nothing could penetrate. Little things like this can make the difference.

Unfortunatly training can only be done during the day, at night the puppy is on it's own and mistakes are bound to happen. To the puppy this can easily get to mean that nights don't matter and it's quite ok to mess indoors at night! Last thing at night I take puppy outside for one last time then put newspaper on the floor to soak up anything that happens later. Be prepared to get up during the night! It’s one of the pleasures of puppy ownership! I must say that the summer months do make wandering around the garden in the middle of the night rather more convivial but it also has its down side. Getting light early means the puppy wakes up early! So standing at the bottom of the garden wearing a dressing gown and little else at 4am on a cold January night does have a bright side even if it doesn’t seem to at the time!!!

A couple of minutes thought about the biology of the dog might be helpful to understand what’s going on. Bladder and bowl control is actually achieved by muscles and these muscles need building up just the same as any other muscle. A young puppy in the welping bed has virtually no control. Gradually, by training the muscles improve and the so the control. Your dog is not being naughty, it just cannot physically hold it for long!

One question I’m always being asked is how long does it take to learn? There really is no answer to that. I’ve had puppies virtually clean in two weeks and others which have had just as much care taken over their training who I have started to despair of at six months. It will come but patience is a virtue. One morning you will get up and the floor will be clean! Lots of praise all around and the puppy finally twigs that this is what you have wanted all along!!

Next time it’s the other of the big two, biting

Regards, John
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Postby Glenys » 14 Sep 2007, 20:52

This is excellent information written for our rescue by John Weller to share with people especially if you are looking to own a dog for the first time or to help with any training you may need with an existing dog.

Also do not forget to ask if there are any questions you would like to put to John in particular I am sure he would be able to advise.
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