Frequently Asked Puppy Questions
How soon can I start training my new puppy?
Since all lessons are private, we can start seeing you and your puppy much earlier than before (prior to Covid-19). So long as your pup has had its first set of vaccines, you can start with us at our facility when your puppy is 10 weeks old. We recommend that you check with your vet first if you are unsure.
If you are doing Zoom training, you can start even earlier - as soon as you bring your puppy home. Of course, what is being trained will change as your puppy gets older.
How do I keep my puppy from annoying our older dog or other pets in the house?
We recommend using an exercise pen, a crate, baby gates, and having your puppy on a leash and harness so that it doesn't have free access to your other pets and your entire home. We recommend this protocol regardless of whether you have other pets in your home, or not.
Someone is home all of the time - do I still need to crate train my puppy?
YES! Crate training helps immensely with housebreaking, allows your puppy to get enough sleep, helps keep your puppy safe when you are too busy to watch him or her, and is an essential component in preventing separation anxiety.
My puppy sits down after a few minutes and won't move when we go for a walk. How long can I walk my puppy?
This really depends on how old your puppy is. If it's very young (under 20 weeks) then you really shouldn't be 'going for a walk'.
Depending on the breed, outdoor conditions, and your puppy's age, we advise keeping sustained walks (walking with a purpose without a significant break) short and sweet. There's a general rule of 5 minutes per month of age up to twice a day, but this also varies according to breed.
Large breed dogs need more care taken with them. Their growth plates take longer to close and severe musculoskeletal issues could develop from doing too much too soon! Please check the particulars with your vet and do your own research as well. There should be absolutely no sustained jogging, running beside a bike, etc. with any puppy under a year old, and for larger breeds, you need to wait longer. Your vet should be able to help you with this.
For young puppies (under 16 weeks), you can be outside with your puppy while on leash and harness, let your puppy safely wander around for a few minutes, or sit and watch the world go by. Avoid high traffic dog areas until your puppy has had its final set of vaccines. Never take your puppy (or dog) to a dog park and avoid on leash greetings with random dogs.
In our puppy course, we start transitioning from harness to training collar around 16-18 weeks of age, and, at this point, start teaching puppies how to walk calmly without pulling, etc. on a relaxed leash. These walks are also kept short and you will find that a structured walk tires out puppies (and dogs) much faster than a long trek. This is because they are now exercising their brain!
What exactly is Puppy Socialization?
I think puppy socialization should be renamed 'positive exposure', or 'acclimatization' since the term socialization brings to mind fun, party-like gatherings and this is not what the term means in respect to dogs.
We want to provide young puppies as much positive exposure as possible so that they are neutral - not afraid, nor highly excited, around different sounds, surfaces, people, places, dogs, other animals, different environments, etc...
I say young puppies because, when young, most puppies under 16 weeks of age, are like sponges and accept most things that are presented to them in a calm and positive manner quite readily. At around 16 weeks (this varies) this easy acceptance is replaced with newfound hyper awareness of' "strange things' - a garbage can in a different spot, holiday decorations, someone wearing a large hat, etc...
We teach clients how to work through this with dogs of all ages and it's important for puppy owners to remember that socialization, same as training, doesn't stop - it must be kept up throughout your dog's life.