When you bring a puppy or new dog into your home, it is a kindness to make your family rules as easy to understand as possible. What are some of your family rules? A few are pretty common to all homes: Do your ‘business’ outside, sleep quietly overnight, don’t bite people. After that, rules can really vary. For example: no pets on the furniture, no pets in the kitchen, pets sleep with their people at night, pets should finish all their food at meal time, pets can graze at their food all day, pets go outside on schedule or pets can ring a bell to request outside. There is really no limit. Imagine if you arrived at your workplace and the options for getting things wrong were so varied! It causes stress, anxiety, hyperactivity and lots of acting out.
This is why managing your puppy or new dog’s environment is so important. You can’t say to them, “please use the back part of the garden behind the cedar hedge as your toilet area”. We have to help them understand that this is where they need to toilet. On top of that, we are building a lifelong relationship of trust, so we need to help them understand rather then get annoyed when they may make the wrong (in our mind) choice.
How do you help your new puppy or dog make the ‘right’ choices for your family home? Using appropriate management techniques suitable to their age and ability. You also capitalize on their natural desire to keep their home clean and develop a bond with you.
Check out the My Puppy Tracker detailed schedule for housetraining. It gives an hour by hour breakdown.
Use confinement like crates and pens and long lines (under supervision) to help your puppy make the correct choice. You don’t want your puppy on the sofa? Have your puppy drag a long line around for a few days. Whenever he waddles over to the couch, quietly step on the line to prevent him from jumping on it. When the line limits his forward progress, he will look back at you. You can sweet talk him and encourage him back to you, building relationship. No need to frantically shoo him off the furniture and then get into a battle and have him slink away not understanding what all the fuss is about!
Management is about preventing misunderstandings. If you help your puppy understand your family house rules in a kind, consistent, and compassionate way, you will alleviate the need for confinement and constant supervision. New puppies/dogs, may require even less time in crates or pens. In my classes, I ask people to let me know if more than 50% of their time is spent in negative interactions with their dogs. If that’s true, then we need to look at improving communication by using proper management techniques. Do you have any questions about management? Have you found a plan that works well for your family and you may like to share it?