Yesterday marked puppy M’s one week adopt-a-versary. We are of course still getting to know her, but so far she seems to be a smart, confident little pup. My first training priority is just getting her to like us and to think that interacting with us is the bees knees (grateful for advice about this from books by Denise Fenzi, Kay Laurence, Claudine McAuliffe, Kathy Sdao and Suzanne Clothier). In addition to that, lots of handling—ears, paws, toenails, teeth, tail, etc. And recognizing her name. Pretty standard stuff.
The really big surprise this past week has been Arlo, who turns out to have some excellent puppeh skillz. He has been a huge help socializing her and tiring her out. As some of my FB friends know, we actually had to bench him for a couple days because he played so much that he was limping.
We are starting to see some progress with crate training. After just a couple days of feeding her meals in the crate, she started racing to the crate when it was time to eat. I’m leaving the door open so she can leave when she wants to—which she does. It will take awhile for her to want to stay in there, but right now, she only has to go in at night (because that’s the only time I can’t watch her). Because we’re all in the same room, she doesn’t complain as much. In fact last night she hardly made a peep. A few whines and then she settled down and slept until she heard me get up around 6:15.
I am a huge fan of Kongs for all kinds of dog training tasks, but I have recently added to my list of favs the Toppl by West Paw Design. The Toppl has a bigger opening and consequently is a bit easier for puppies to empty. I am feeding Maria half her food inside her crate in a bowl, and the other frozen in a Toppl or Kong which keeps her busy in the morning while I do other chores (like feed the rest of the animals). I bought one to try and liked it so much I bought two more so that I can always have one ready.
Last, I mentioned earlier this week on FB that a new puppy was an opportunity for some creative problem solving. Turns out it’s also an opportunity for some humility and willingness to practice what you preach. How many times have I said to people, set a timer and take your puppy out every 20 minutes unless she’s sleeping. More than I can count. It took me a few days to follow my own advice, but it is much easier to set the timer than to remember how long it’s been since the last time she went out.
Sources mentioned in this post
Suzanne Clothier, Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening our Relationships with Dogs
Denise Fenzi, Beyond the Back Yard: Train your Dog to Listen Anytime, Anywhere!
Kay Laurence, Every Dog, Every Day
Claudine McAuliffe, Mindful Dog Teaching
Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free