Puppies Are Wonderful…Until They Are Not

Most people love the cuteness of a new puppy and are enamored with their antics. As a new puppy owner you have big hopes and dreams of the amazing dog your puppy will turn into. And you are determined to do your best!

Typically between 8 and 24 weeks things with your puppy go great… if you are putting in the time and effort of establishing a positive relationship, maintaining boundaries and structure, providing enrichment and biological fulfillment.

Your puppy learns quickly, wants to be with you and does what is asked. But then…it all seems to fall apart.

Guess what? This is very normal! They are entering an adolescent phase and they start pushing boundaries, testing limits, wanting to interact more with things in the world than with you. (If you have a teenager, you probably know what this is like.)

Barking, nipping, chewing expensive things, chasing the cat/birds/squirrels, not wanting to go in their crate, not coming when called…a bit of a nightmare or rollercoaster at times.

Don’t worry, not all is lost so don’t give up just yet! Take a few steps backwards temporarily and focus on relationship and engagement with you, make sure you are keeping the structure and boundaries you had set early on. Be patient and understand that your puppy has a lot of hormonal changes that are happening.

Building a strong positive and purposeful relationship with your puppy (and dog) is the cornerstone of good training and it takes time and quality craftsmanship to build. Think about your most cherished relationships with other people, they did not happen overnight and you both likely put in effort to build what you have today.

As you are aware (I assume that is why you are here) building a relationship with a dog is a bit different than building a relationship with another person.

Here are some general puppy training categories to focus on:

  • Conditioning markers for reinforcement and clear communication
  • Positive conditioning to various loud noises (vacuum cleaner, blender, gun fire, etc.)
  • Crate/kennel training in various environments
  • Introduction to loose leash walking on a flat collar (other equipment at owner’s request)
  • Grooming/body handling (nails, ears, eye check, teeth check, etc.)
  • Happy practice vet visits
  • Positive environmental exposure to various people, other dogs, and livestock
  • Visiting various dog friendly businesses and locations
  • Strong recall!
  • Functional obedience
  • Walking/playing on various surfaces
  • Body and hind limb awareness (critical for working dogs)
  • Appropriate toy play skills

You may need a little extra coaching and support to make sure you and your puppy get to the other side of this with a strong or stronger relationship. Let me help coach and guide you through building a solid, positive and productive relationship with your dog so that you get the most out of your training together!

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