Friday, January 27, 2012

Surviving the Puppy Years - Destruction

I have heard so many stories about people's puppies eating their shoes, destroying the drywall around the house and it makes me wonder; where were the humans when this was happening? Do they let the puppy go wherever she wants? Is the puppy not in a crate when they go to work? How come they aren't seeing this destruction happening?
Since getting a puppy I am a firm believer in limiting their freedom in the house and back yard. This wasn't always the case. I once saw a neighbour with a puppy on leash in her backyard. Where I live we have huge backyards and my first thought was how cruel to have a puppy on a leash when the yard is so big. Now that I have a puppy I understand perfectly. She was probably training her puppy to go to the bathroom in a particular place. Or preventing her puppy from destroying her garden, etc. by teaching her where she can or can't go. If you’ve never had a puppy, that might be difficult to understand. It’s now crystal clear to me.

Puppies are very curious and therefore want to explore everything. A problem for us humans is that the way they explore is with their mouth. That is ok when they are exploring their chew toys, but not so great when it’s time to learn about your furniture. And until your puppy learns the rules, she is going to think anything is acceptable.

My puppy is very rarely out of my sight, especially inside the house. I am reluctant to let her go wherever she wants because I know what can happen. Don't feel bad if you have to leash your puppy inside the house. You are teaching her rules, boundaries and patience. You can either tether a leash to a table, couch or anything that can withstand her weight. You can have a bed set up with a toy for her, that's what I do. Or you can attach the leash to yourself. I personally find that my puppy calms right down when put on a leash inside the house. Of course if you haven't exercised your puppy enough, you may find her not responding the same way.

Of course the goal is to have her free in the house just like my other dogs. I adopted them both when they were 8 years old so this was never an issue. They were both calm and never once did anything to make me even consider confining them. So I know there's a light at the end of this tunnel. And the constant supervision is all for the best.

Our first puppy training class is starting tomorrow. I am excited to learn someone else’s training methods and introducing my puppy to another new experience. I am always happy to learn new things about dogs since I love them so much.

Happy puppy training.



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