Training a puppy can be challenging. Some books claim that you must use a certain approach while another will claim the opposite. From how to treat mealtime, sleep time, and training sessions the wide range of opinions can feel overwhelming. Between the Max, Stuart and I we have trained 5 hunting puppies in the last few years. This blog provides 5 mistakes to avoid with your puppy regardless of your training style.
- Failing to Recognize a Hernia
When I took my dog to the vet for the first time, she recognized my dog’s hernia immediately. I might be a little retarded, but I did not know what a hernia looked like on a puppy. I would advise either researching what to look for or bringing a friend who can identify a hernia when picking up your pup. This is especially important if you want to breed your puppy, because hernias link to genetics.
- Limiting Water
Potty training frustrates every dog owner at some point. It’s tempting to limit your pup’s water to reduce accidents. Some dog books suggest only watering your pup around meal times. But limited water can lead to crystals in a pup’s urine, which will cause them to have trouble holding their bladder as they get older. It may be annoying to clean up messes for the first few months. In time you’ll develop a routine, and before too long you will have a house-trained pup.
- Giving Petsmart Your Paycheck
It’s easy to get roped into spending way more than you need to when excited about your new dog. Figure out what your dog likes to chew on before running out to buy one of everything. My dog loves to chew on Mcdonalds coffee lids, metal, and milk jugs. You don’t know what your dog will find appetizing, so don’t buy every toy in the store before trying out some low-cost options.
- Rushing Your Pup
When training a pup, focus on short lessons that positively reinforce good behavior and build your pup’s confidence. Most drills should review past knowledge with an occasional small step forward. Don’t rush ahead and start to “test” instead of “train.” I am guilty of this from time to time. Keep your training in perspective. A good way to do this is to sign up for the AKC Pupdate email. If you register your dog on AKC, they will send you weekly emails based on your dog’s age. My pup just reached 16 weeks, so the articles this week are: Your Older Dog And The New Puppy In The Family and Puppy Socialization: Why, When, And How To Do It Right. The emails help me pace my training to fit my pup.
- Responding to Whines
Get your pup in a crate as soon as possible. The biggest mistake I hear from dog owners since getting Waylon was that they responded to its whines once, and the dog has never stopped whining. Some dogs are more vocal than others, but catering to a crying pup only reinforces bad behavior. A pup that can sleep alone in a crate will have no issues sleeping in your bed later on, but a pup that sleeps well in a bed won’t necessarily sleep in a crate. Even though my dog now sleeps every night in my bed, I’m glad I crate-trained her. When I leave Waylon with my sister for a weekend I don’t have to worry about her barking in her crate all night. Get your pup used to a crate early.
Dog training takes an incredible amount of discipline and patience. The first few months are critical to your pups development. As a first-time pet owner you haven’t developed your training skills and your pup hasn’t developed an attention span. That combination can feel like a recipe for disaster. Just take your time to get it right, keep a positive attitude, and you’ll be amazed where you’re at in 6 months. Good luck!
Harrison and Stuart