It is now the beginning of the year and that means that we are entering the start of “Puppy Time”. Just like any other January for over seventeen years, we are getting a rash of calls asking for help training new puppies. We love getting out there, working with those wonderful little guys, and getting them off on the “right paw”. We were at a new puppy training client in Gainesville yesterday, working with him and his very active German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. We were teaching the “standard new puppy subjects” of potty management, appropriate behavior, respectful focus, boundary control, and “kindergarten” obedience.
There is a lot to cover, so we try to make sure that our client was not overwhelmed with the challenge and appreciated his successes. He was very attentive and meticulously followed our instructions regarding his interactions with Billy (his new puppy). Although he knew that his puppy was at the “beginning stages of learning”, he was challenged because the process required a multitude of small steps to gain success. Everything was based on the need for constant repetition. Although “challenged”, he was ready and willing to step up to the task at hand.
The wonderful thing about puppies is that they are a blank slate, ready for us to guide and nurture. The difficult thing about puppies is that “we have to start at page one” and teach them everything. We must first establish a hierarchy of goals for our puppy. They must be easy for him to understand and things that we can easily achieve. In my opinion, our initial goal should be proper potty training. We will accomplish our goal when our puppy only goes to the bathroom when we take him outside. He will no longer potty in the house. We will realize this goal when we understand the schedule that must be adhered to get him outside. Observation is also key.
The one thing that I did not include in our plan was a definite time frame for success or completion. Success is built on our capability to stick to the plan, learn from our mistakes, and improve our course of action. We focus on our goal (potty outside) and work our plan (get Billy out to potty). Our consistency expands our understanding of the problem. Continual improvement, sometimes ever so slight, builds our assurance that we will be successful. “Time” is not important.
Being persistent and focused on what we want to accomplish is the critical factor in anything we want to teach our puppy. Lessons such as “Come” or “Sit” are usually pretty easy to teach. Other lessons including “Stay” or “Place” often take longer to successfully accomplish. When we concentrate on our “wins”, we will feel assured that our “work in progress” will be successful too. So, what if some things take a little longer? “Longer” is not a measurement. Our confidence that we are on the right path is our key to having a wonderful and well-trained puppy.
When we stick to our plan, focusing on the “A Priorities” until they are done, the process works. If we are too eager for results, we lose sight of our goal and will fail.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over seventeen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.