Five things to implement at once with your new puppy

Author: Bella (proHOUND Co-Founder)

The benefits of crate training a puppy are endless. 
Preventing bad decisions such as chewing something ‘illegal’ or toileting in the house, teaching an off-switch, providing a safe space to sleep and absorb everything they’ve learned about this brand new world… I truly don’t know why you wouldn’t crate train! It doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) used as a prison. Most of the most horrific housetraining cases I’ve had are a result of not utilising the crate when the puppy was very young. Think about it – if the option to shred something in the house is entirely prevented from day 1, the concept won’t exist…


Puppy pads teach your puppy to toilet in the house. It really is as simple as that. Don’t be lazy – take your puppy outside a lot when they are tiny. You can gradually decrease how many toilet breaks they have. If you live in a flat, put your shoes on and go downstairs. If your puppy isn’t vaccinated, just be careful. There’s no need to keep your puppy exclusively in the house until vaccinations (should you choose to give them) have taken place. If they haven’t peed but you know they need to pee, put them in the crate and take them out again shortly. If you’re at work and you can’t let your puppy out as often as they need, find someone who can. There’s no excuse! 


I like to have my puppies off as much as possible from day 1 (pending safety such as nearby cars etc of course) to shape recall. You should take advantage of a puppy’s natural dependency and desire to be with you! Rewarding your puppy for checking in from day one taking genetics into account and becoming the most interesting stimulus on a walk from day 1 will likely lead to lifelong excellent recall. If all they’ve ever known is that you are interesting to be around and that you are worth their time (and will ‘pay’ them for returning), you should only need to proof, but of course don’t be afraid to use a long line if you’re worried! Dogs with no recall should be kept on a long line for a few reasons: his safety, the safety of others around him and to prevent ignoring your call from self-reinforcing (i.e. prevent him from successfully managing to ignore your call and ditch you!) 
Don’t wait until your dog is 6 months or even older to ‘begin recall’ – they’ll have had months or even years of the environment & other dogs being more interesting than you by then! 
Ideally you will not only play with your puppy from day 1 but also hand-feed him from day 1, thereby rewarding desirable behaviour with their meals, making their meals (and, by association, you) more valuable. 


What do we know about socialisation? It’s not interacting with everyone and everything! Your puppy needs to learn body language from suitable adult dogs in order to become a balanced dog themselves of course, but this doesn’t mean lots of on-lead greetings with random dogs on the street or playing with whoever you encounter in the dog park. 
In addition, taking your puppy everywhere (thereby exposing them to the world and its stimuli) will teach them to not be bothered by anything they may encounter in their everyday lives. We’re aiming for neutrality! Use your imagination with where you take them (supermarket car parks are my go-to, among many other everyday places of course), but don’t forget to keep sessions short: the big wide world is overwhelming for a little puppy. In addition, reward desirable behaviour generously and end on a high. 


This is obviously linked to the point about recall (a sure sign of an engaged dog is one with excellent recall) but I can’t not mention the importance of relationship. 
Brilliant relationships with our dogs are built in various ways – play & hand-feeding being the obvious two. There are other factors as well though; factors you may not think to be relevant. 
Neutrality is essential – why would you be the highlight of any walk or training session if your dog values random dogs they encounter?
Structure is important – I’m not saying your dog has to be in a crate every minute they aren’t with you (although do implement this with puppies in order to prevent them from making undesirable decisions) but he will definitely be more motivated for activities with you if he hasn’t been finding his own fun all day. 
Consistency & clarity – you will progress with puppy training much faster if you are consistent with things like marker words from day 1. Your puppy will understand what you want and they will be more motivated to listen. Clarity brings trust which brings new adventures.

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