Puppy 101
Let's give them life skills!

With their sweet eyes, fluffy soft fur, and deliciously awkward movements, how can you not love puppies? But underneath all that cuteness is a thinking and feeling being who needs guidance to learn to live happily and politely in our human world.

 

At The Learned Dog, our aim is to help you teach your dog to feel joyful and confident, while learning where to go to the bathroom and where not, what’s okay to chew and what’s not, and how to be gentle with his or her mouth. Of course, we also teach important obedience and impulse-control skills such as “sit,” “down,” “leave it,” and “coming when called”.

Teaching puppies that the world is safe

When dogs are scared, they can become aggressive and bite. So, it’s in everyone’s best interest that we teach our pups to feel safe. Our best chance at doing so occurs when puppies are in their “socialization period,” which occurs between the ages of 3-weeks and 12-18-weeks old. The lessons they learn during this time can last them their entire lives.

 

A puppy who only goes to the vet for painful procedures can (understandably) become afraid of the vet, people approaching, body handling, and even the car that takes him to each appointment. A puppy who goes to the vet a bunch of times and gets chicken when he steps on the scale or sees a stethoscope for the first time, or even gets cuddles from the veterinarian and technicians, will feel far more comfortable and might possibly even enjoy visits to the vet.

 

We teach our clients exactly how to set their dogs up for success emotionally by creating positive associations in their new world.

Teaching puppies to bite gently

When puppies play with their littermates, any time they hurt someone else with their teeth, the other dog usually stops playing. If that happens enough times, the pup doing the hurting figures out that the only way he can keep playing is if he is gentler with his mouth.

 

This is a vitally important skill for puppies to learn because if they don’t learn to hold back their jaw strength by the time they become adults, they likely won’t ever learn to do so.

 

Happily, we two-legged family members can teach our puppies to soften up their bites, just as their littermates would do. At The Learned Dog, we teach all of our puppy clients how to do this extremely important skill.

Housetraining and chewtraining

Most people understand the need to housetrain their dogs, but many do not realize the importance of “chewtraining” as well. At The Learned Dog, we combine both in our puppy program to set you up for success, so that your dog learns the right place to go to the bathroom, and also the right stuff to chew — “legal” chew toys, rather than chair legs, shoes, pillows, or wall moldings.

 

Dogs love to chew — as much as we love books, TV, and movies. So, we have to give them outlets to do so. Puppies are also exploring their surroundings with their mouths, and they are teething, so chewing become extra important to them.

Obedience training

Sit, down, stay, leave it, recall (AKA “coming when called”), and loose-leash walking — these are the foundational skills that teach your dog to be polite. They also serve as the basis for solving many behavioral problems, for example:

  • Sit and sit-stay are the tools for teaching dogs who jump on people to stop doing it.

  • Down and down-stay can be used to quiet dogs who bark when the doorbell rings or to keep dogs off of couches when company is over.

  • Leave it is the go-to skill for dogs who enjoy eating scraps of food lying around.

  • Recall is a lifesaver (often literally) when a dog dashes out the front door. It can also be used to help dogs who have difficulty playing well with others.

  • Loose-leash walking? Well, that goes without saying, but we will add here that dogs who are given the opportunity to sniff when they are out on walks are happier and calmer than if they are jerked back any time they venture onto the grass to smell a tree trunk or a fire hydrant.

 

We’d love to help you give your puppy the best chance for a happy and fulfilling life with you. Contact us now!

Claudine Prud'homme, CTC, CSAT, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

claudine@thelearneddog.com

Montréal, Québec

Crédits photos : Chantal Lévesque Photo

Tous droits réservés, The Learned Dog, 2017