Potty training can either be a breeze or can be a frustrating endeavor depending on your puppy. The most important thing is to stay consistent with your training.
During the first few months take your puppy outside often so they learn the routine of going potty outside. Give them lots of praise and reward them with a treat if they do go to the bathroom outside. While they are going potty saying something like “go potty” will help them learn to go to the bathroom outside and on command.
Accidents inside the home can be very frustrating, but never scold your puppy for having an accident inside. If you catch your puppy going inside say “outside” and immediately take them outside to finish so they begin to understand they are supposed to eliminate outside and not indoors.
THE RIGHT DOG FOOD
OUR FAVORITE BRANDS:
Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Orijen, Wellness Core, Fromm, FreshPet, and Kirkland Brand
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Lots of protein listed at top of ingredient list. A named animal protein (i.e. chicken, beef, etc). Whole veggies or fruits.
Meat by-products. Filler (corn, wheat, soy). Added sweetener. Generic “fat” source. Artificial flavors or coloring.
COLLAR VS. HARNESS
There are several types of collars including Martingale collar, prong collar, and choke collar.
If you choose to have a collar, then we recommend the Martingale collar. It does not choke your puppy, but it does tighten around them when they pull so it’s very difficult for your puppy to wiggle out of the collar. It is more secure than a regular collar, but less severe than a prong or choke collar.
We do not recommend collars for puppies who pull on leash because a collar may cause injuries to a puppy’s neck or spine if there is a sudden jerk or if there’s constant tension on the leash.
Collars can also increase pressure on a puppy’s eyes if they are constantly pulling which can lead to glaucoma or other issues down the road.
Harnesses can be a great tool for those puppies that pull or are stubborn on the walks. We also recommend them over collars because of the danger of causing harm to a dog’s neck if the dog pulls with a collar on.
Our favorite harness is the Easy Walk harness that attaches the leash to the front of the dog’s chest. Having a front-attaching harness aids in stopping a puppy from pulling because it tightens around their legs when they pull which can be uncomfortable.
A harness where the leash attaches to the back of your puppy can be great for smaller dogs, but we do not recommend for dogs that pull because it will allow them more strength to actually pull more. Puppia is a great company with many options of harnesses designed for smaller dogs.
Learning basic commands such as “Sit, Stay, Off, Come” and working to walk properly on-leash are a great beginning to your new puppy’s training. The most crucial aspect of training is to stay consistent. Keep your commands and your rules as consistent as you can as to not confuse your puppy. We also believe teaching these commands as early as possible in your pup’s life will make things easier on you. Using treats such as Bil-Jac or Zuke’s Minis are helpful in the training process if your puppy is food motivated.
Puppy classes! We recommend getting your puppy into a puppy class as soon as your vet says your puppy is ready. Getting your puppy around other dogs is a great way for them to learn manners around other dogs, and it also helps them learn how to just be a dog. Our absolute favorite training company in Chicago is Anything is Pawzible. They are great!
Mental and physical exercise are both very important for your puppy. Being able to get out of the home and out on walks or play time is just as important for your pets as it is for you. Even if you have a backyard, taking your pets for walks is important because it is in their nature to walk. Dogs get that same type of restlessness you get when you haven’t been outside in a while, so it’s important they get quality time outside.
Mental exercises such as training your pet new tricks or using puzzles designed for dogs are also great for your puppy. These mental exercises can be just as challenging and as tiring as physical activity.
Well-exercised dogs are happier, have less anxiety, and are less prone to causing destruction in your home. Remember: a tired puppy is always a happy puppy!
It is very normal for your new puppy to whine for up to 15 minutes when being left alone. Most new puppies will learn quickly that being along for periods of time is okay, and they will show no signs of stress when alone. There are some puppies who will show signs of separation anxiety when left alone however. Some signs of separation anxiety are howling, urinating and defecating in their crate, chewing, digging/scratching, trying to escape, and general anxiety when you leave or arrive back home.
If your puppy is showing signs of separation anxiety, then there are some things you can do to help your puppy learn that it’s okay being left alone. First, make your departure and your arrival back home as low-key as you can. When leaving say your goodbye’s 10 minutes before you actually leave the home, and then when it’s time to leave don’t say anything at all. Just leave. When arriving home do not act overly excited about seeing your puppy. This excitement can lead your puppy to believe that being away from you is a bad thing. Keep your arrival as low-key as possible, even acting like you’re the cool kid in school and ignoring your puppy for a few minutes before giving them attention.
Give your puppy something to do when they are alone. A great option is filling a Kong toy with peanut butter and then putting the Kong in the freezer for a while. You can then give this frozen treat to your puppy before leaving. It will give them something to snack on that will take more than a few minutes to finish. There are also puzzles specifically made for dogs that you can put treats in that will take your puppy a little while to figure out. If your puppy is a big chewer, then things likes NylaBones or deer/elk antlers are a great option to leave with your puppy. It will allow your puppy to get out that nervous energy by chewing on something that is not destructive.
WE RECOMMEND NOT LEAVING ANY BEDDING OR BLANKETS IN A CRATE IF A PUPPY IS A CHEWER OR TENDS TO DEFECATE IN THEIR CRATE. IT NEVER TURNS OUT WELL. It may sound harsh not leaving bedding, but it will be better for you in the long run. There can be vet visits needed if a puppy chewed and swallowed bedding/blankets, or there can be lots of laundry if your puppy is defecating often on their bedding. Leaving on a television, radio, or white noise machine when you leave can also help a sensitive puppy to be calmer while alone.
If your puppy has a more moderate or extreme case of separation anxiety, then desensitization might be necessary. A lot of puppies with separation anxiety have cues they pick up on when you’re getting ready to leave that cause them to become anxious. Picking up your car keys, putting on your jacket, or putting on your shoes are examples. If your puppy starts showing anxiety from some of these cues, then it’s best to start doing these anxiety-causing habits more often when you’re not actually planning on leaving your home. Pick up your keys randomly throughout the day without leaving, put on your jacket and take it back off immediately, or put your shoes on and go watch TV. It may take a while, but your puppy will stop associating these behaviors with your departure.
Work up to leaving your puppy for longer periods of time. Start with getting ready to leave and then sitting down without actually leaving. Then work up to opening the front door to leave, then closing the door and sitting back down. Then leave the house for a minute and return immediately. You can continue to work up to longer and longer periods of time away without causing your puppy too much anxiety while you’re gone. It is a long process, but it does work!