“You’re not done training the dog, until you can trust him at liberty.” – Chad Mackin
Got a new dog? Living in the city? And now you have a brand new excitable puppy in your apartment and feel a bit anxious about handling it? Here are a few tips that you can take to welcome your new addition stress-free.
- Start house training your pup the moment it enters your apartment. Note the surface that the pup already identifies as the surface to pee/poop and have it present as your pup arrives. You can get this information from your breeder as well. First thing that you put the pup on after it has travelled to you is on that surface. From then on, put the pup on the surface when you think it needs to pee/poop.
A good rule of thumb is every 45m to an hour for a 2-month-old pup. Add another 45m for every month there.
- Don’t open your entire apartment to the pup just yet. Open up your home one room at a time once it learns where & what surface it needs to pee/poop. Smaller the pup, smaller the space it should have to navigate whilst you teach it the house rules. Larger the space, the more the number of surfaces you provide it to use. If you are training your pup to use the bathroom or the balcony, make sure the pup has access to it 24/7.
- Don’t shy away from crate training. A crate is nothing but a private bedroom for your pup and a positive introduction to it provides your dog a place to rest and self play. This will later save you behaviour issues like separation anxiety, fear-based aggression and attention seeking.
- Provide at least 10-15 different textures of things/toys for your pup to help with its teething. Your hand should be off-limits. The teeth of a puppy are twice as big as a human’s. Often when the milk teeth are set in approximately 2 months of age, and once when they are replaced by new teeth in the 4th month. Teething can be very distressing for your pup, so providing cold things helps as do giving them things to chew that have a bite to it. Stay away from really hard things as they can cause tooth damage.
- Redirection is the best way to teach your pup that if it chooses to chew on the toy given rather than your flesh that you will be happy. Redirection means you encourage your dog to make alternate choices and as it does, you should mark it with a reward.
6. Do not train your pup only with food. You can teach it new things using food treats. However, if you don’t quickly change to using other rewards, your pup will only follow through if you have food on you. Your smile and words are your best reward, even better than food.
7. Don’t focus on saying no to your pup. Instead, guide it to the behaviour you want and strategies. No matter the size of the apartment, set your pup up for success by puppy proofing the home.
8. And no matter the size or location of the apartment, have a list of socialisation topics that you would want your pup to know. Don’t have any road traffic in front of your apartment. Try taking your dog close to a busy road in your arms (if not vaccinated) or the car and let it experience the sounds in a positive way. Be respectful of the puppies’ fear and go slow.
9. Don’t leave your puppy in the apartment all by itself for long hours and not without mentally exhausting it (nothing more than 2 hours is advised for pups younger than a year). Till you successfully crate train, do ignore the pup now and then while at home to teach self independence and to understand that your absence necessarily doesn’t mean a scary thing.
10. If you need to step out, hire a pet sitter. Always do a few trials before the real thing. Planning ahead is the key for a smooth experience for both you and your puppy.
11. And finally bond with your puppy first before you socialise it with other humans and other species. Your pup should prefer you over everything else. This will be the key tool through which you will train your dog to successfully navigate the world.
““… and he follows obedience with commitment.” – Jay Jack
About Author: Leena Ukil, a Canine Behaviourist and Aggression consultant, is the founder of The FamiLee Dog and has been practicing professionally in the world of dogs for the past 8 years. She holds a PhD in Genetics and applies her years of research experience to dog training as well. Observational learning and trying to decipher the dog’s body language thereby understanding its behaviour from the dog’s point of view is what she aims to teach dog owners. In the process, of making the dogs the perfect addition to their family is the added benefit.*