Too Much Freedom Too Fast
Often times when people get a new puppy or even an adult dog, the first mistake made is giving them too much freedom in the home before they're ready. Puppies need to have a very strict routine in the beginning if you want to breeze through potty training and crate training. Otherwise, potty training becomes a big problem very fast. The reason for this is that your puppy doesn't come to you knowing where to go potty and where not to. We have to teach them which areas are off limits and which are ideal spots to relieve themselves. It's typical for puppies to relieve themselves as soon as they feel the urge to go before they understand potty training. Using schedule set up with timers on your phone or utilizing a white board to keep track of what's happening when is going to be the best way to set yourself up for success.
The other huge downfall of giving your puppy too much freedom before they're ready is the risk of them developing bad habits. For instance, chewing on furniture, destroying charging cords, or eating shoes. To a puppy with freedom and access to all these objects, means that they are free game. Especially if you're not supervising all of their free times out and about in the house. The way we fix this problem is not allowing the puppy access to any items that could encourage bad habits. The puppy is only ever is a "puppy-proofed" pen, closed off area, a crate, or whenever they are not being directly supervised. If the puppy is still potty training then they should be in the crate the majority of the time in the beginning. This is how they'll learn how to not go potty inside and help speed along your potty training experience.
Not Sticking to a Routine
It's crucial to have a set in stone schedule especially in the beginning because puppies, just like children, are much easier to handle when they can get used to a routine. It makes potty training, crate training, meal times, playtime, and everything else your puppy does easier to manage. The main reason you'll have more success in the potty training area with a routine is because you can start to keep track of when you feed them and how long afterwards they needed to go to the bathroom. Or when you gave them 30 minutes of play time how long after they needed a potty break. What goes in, must come out, and typically you can begin to see a pattern of when these systems will correspond with each other. The same idea works with playtime or walks and nap times. You'll begin to be able to calculate that for example after a 30 minute walk, your puppy napped for an hour. This is one of the keys to dog training.
Rushing Experiences for The Puppy
A huge mistake we see without professional dog training involved, is rushing experiences with the new puppy. It's important to find a good balance between socialization and not overwhelming your puppy with too many things too fast. The act of overwhelming your puppy with experiences before they're ready is called "flooding." It's been shown to contribute to anxiety and aggression in puppies and dogs which is why it's so important to make sure you're not going too fast with socialization, but that you're exposing your puppy to the right experiences when they're ready. Socialization encompasses much more than just meeting new dogs and people. It also incudes introducing your puppy to new sounds and objects like the vacuum or large hats. These things, are enough to startle some puppies and have the potential of developing into bigger behavior issues down the road. This is why we want to expose them to novel things, but we have to always be weighing the mentality of the puppy in mind so that we don't end up rushing these experiences and creating anxiety or aggression issues. For example, sometimes it's ok to let your puppy skip meeting a new dog or new person on the street. The best way to tell if they're ready to handle the new experience is by looking at their body language and gauging the level of intensity of the experience from there. In our obedience training we go over in detail who to determine your dog's state of mind based solely on their body language. Sometimes actions as subtle as a yawn can mean your dog is actually stressed and it's important to know how your dog's feeling at all times during new experiences. As always, HAPPY PAWS - PetCare is here to help with all your dog training needs in Denver.