Every year, December is always the biggest month for newborn puppies to be united with their new, human families. With that said, Robin and I have always been aware that January often turns into the beginning of “Puppy Training Time”. Even though we are less than two weeks into the new year, this January has shown that there are a lot of new puppies and puppy families to be trained.
We truly love the chance to get out there to work with these cuddly puppies and wonderful families in order to get their “puppy-human” relationship off on the right paw. We were in Canton yesterday working with a new Home Dog Training client and her super-cute and precocious eight-week-old Dalmatian puppy named Ariel.
We began the lesson with what is normally the biggest issue most new puppy owners experience, potty training. Since Ariel was going to turn into a very big doggie, this was a critical topic that needed to be thoroughly discussed and implemented. After that, we turned to our client’s ability to gain Ariel’s focus and respect while maintaining proper boundaries. We then moved on to some very rudimentary obedience lessons.
As with any new puppy or dog owner, we were very careful to give her just the basics she needed to “stay the course” and properly build her relationship with Ariel. It is often the case that dog trainers try to impart too much information too quickly. That abundance of information often confuses the dog owner and hampers their chances for success.
We are happy to report that our client was an excellent listener and very good at following our instructions to properly interact with Ariel. Although she understood that her puppy was learning, she was a little frustrated because of the small steps forward and continued need to repeat, repeat, and repeat. Luckily, we were there to guide her through the process.
The excellent thing about puppies is that they are a clean slate and eager to learn. On the other hand, the unfortunate thing about puppies is that we are starting from scratch. It isn’t like third grade math class where we already knew division and the teacher would now teach us “long division”. Everything is “the first time” for our puppy.
Our first step in “the teaching process” is to establish a hierarchy of goals for our puppy. These goals, or targets, must be simple for our puppy to understand, intuitive for us to teach, and easy for him to accomplish.
Just as we started with teaching our client and Ariel proper potty training, I would start with this with any initial puppy training. The ultimate success of this process is our puppy’s understanding that he must always get outside when he feels like he needs to go to the bathroom. Success is also based on our understanding of our puppy’s habits. Our ability to accomplish proper potty training is our understanding of our puppy’s schedule and how our actions can impact and redirect that schedule.
You will notice that I did not put a “deadline” on this lesson. Unlike being a participant in a hundred-yard-dash, winning is not based on time. Successful completion of the potty-training process or any training process relies on our ability to stick to the plan, learn from our mistakes, and improve our process. We focus on our goal (potty outside) and work on our plan (get Ariel out to potty). Our consistency enhances our comprehension of the problem and chance for ultimate success. Sometimes our daily improvement may be minimal, but that is OK. Every step in the right direction gets us closer to ultimate success. As I said earlier, “time” is not important.
Being patient and focused on what we need to accomplish are the most significant factors regarding anything we want to teach our puppy. Lessons such as “Sit” or “Come” are pretty easy to teach our puppy. Lessons including “Stay” or “Off” normally take longer to teach our puppy. When we focus on our “wins”, we will feel confident that our “work in progresses” will succeed too. So, what if some things take a little longer? It doesn’t matter!
If we keep to our plan, working on the “A Priorities” until they are done, the process works. If we are too eager for quick results, we will lose sight of our real goals and will fail. For those of you who remember the old nursery rhyme of the Tortoise and the Hare; be the Tortoise.
Please call or text us at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. You can also email us at [email protected]. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over nineteen years. We have trained over 6,000 wonderful dogs and great families and are ready to help you.