2020 has been an unprecedented year. A global pandemic, business and economic shutdowns and toilet paper shortages. Most people are ready for 2020 to end.
On the bright side, many people used the time to add a dog to their family (especially puppies) since they had the time to successfully potty train them while working from home. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many clients and their puppies this summer and fall.
The two recommendations I would give to all puppy owners (current and former) is to take your puppy out and explore the community. Yes, please wait until they have had all of their shots to have them walking on the floor. But you can still visit farm and/or pet stores with your puppy in a cart. Take advantage of seeing people (you are entitled to ask them to look and not touch), sliding entry doors, sounds, smells, other animals (birds, fish, cats, chickens, etc). And puppy classes are beneficial for your puppies to enroll in before the 16-week window ends.
Even riding in the cart is a great socialization opportunity. Please make sure to safely strap them into the cart!
My second recommendation is the most important – teach them how to be independent from you. Help them learn how to self soothe in a crate, tethered while you walk out of the room and to be calm around you without constant petting and affection. It is not easy, and it takes time and dedication, but the rewards are so plentiful! We are here to help you.
I believe this is the most important skill you can teach a puppy. If they can be calm with you at home and when you have guests over, you will have much more success helping them to generalize that skill in public.
8-16 weeks is a critical developmental period for all puppies. Utilize this time to socialize your puppy to sounds, people (even if from a distance), objects, textures, surface, handling and sights. And take the time to document those experiences and enjoy them! Puppies grow quickly so take advantage of those precious growing moments with them.
Build good habits, schedules and lifelong skills that your puppy will need as they grow. If your puppy did develop bad habits (or your older dog has), keep this quote in mind.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” –
This quote is actually by Dan Millman but has been adapted from a quote by Socrates.
We’d love for you to share with us what you are going to do to build new habits for next year!