Setting your puppy up for success
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Setting your puppy up for success

Despite what your parents, significant other or your roommates said, you went out and rescued that cute, fuzzy, little puppy from the shelter. Good for you. Puppies are fun and a dog will become your favorite part of coming home, as long as you know how to train him or her not to destroy your house while you’re away. The time to do that training starts the day your puppy comes home. By setting him or her up for success, you’ll both be happier.

So here are the basics:

If it’s not a toy, pick it up
Move anything and everything that is not a toy from the floor. Those shoes you just kick off when you come in the door now need to be stowed away. To a puppy everything within chomping distance is a chew toy, and those sharp little teeth can shred a pair of leather loafers. By keeping an eye on your puppy you can teach it what is a toy and what is not. Choose one command, such as “leave it,” for when you don’t want it to have something.

Crate training
When you can’t watch your puppy’s every move, it should be crated. Crate training is one of the best ways to house train your puppy, and dogs actually have a desire for a den. Remember, your little puppy has a little bladder and might need to be taken out to “potty” every three to four hours, and yes, that means even at night.

Since this is a new environment and the first time he or she is away from the rest of the litter, your puppy may cry. It’s important not to respond immediately by letting it out because you will teach your puppy crying is how they get to potty. Leave a television on with low volume and leave the pup with a worn undershirt or sweatshirt. Your scent will be comforting, and you’ll likely find them snuggled up to the clothing when you come to check on them.

Furniture and beds
Remember that the things your puppy does now are the same things it will expect to be allowed to do later. Your 10 pound puppy might be cute in your lap when it’s only eight weeks old, but in eight months when it is 60 pounds, are you really going to want it rolling around on the couch with you while you’re watching a “Real Housewives of Atlanta” marathon? Probably not. Furthermore, your friends are probably not going to want this beast rolling on them when the come to visit. This also goes for the bed – if you don’t want to sleep with a full grown dog, don’t sleep with the puppy.

Be consistent
Whether you’re teaching tricks or potty training, the most important thing required for a puppy to learn is your dedication and consistency. If you’re tough one moment and a pushover the next then all you have is a confused puppy. Yes, your puppy will cry and undoubtedly he or she is going to go number two on your carpet. Relax, be patient and keep with it. You’re training what will certainly become one of your most trustworthy friends.

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