If you want to raise a puppy properly, it’s a lot of work. Potty training, chew training, exercising, playing, socializing, potty training (yes they do potty a LOT)-just to name a few. But having the right tools can help you get through it with your sanity in tact. Here’s just a few products and tips to get you started, and free up some time and energy for that all important socialization!
Crates. These are a must. This is where puppy will sleep at night in your room, and when you have to leave puppy home alone. If appropriately sized it will promote sleep instead of play and encourage the puppy to not potty while crated. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to take your puppy out to potty overnight, but it will minimize the number of potty breaks and lengthen the time your puppy can hold it. Crates are a huge help in preventing potty accidents in the house. If your puppy is going potty in their crate, you should contact your Certified Professional Dog Trainer for help.
Play Pens. They’re not just for your toddler. They make great confinement spaces for puppies as well. Get a puppy pen tall enough that your puppy can’t jump out, and make it just large enough for: bed, water (spill proof bowl, small amounts of water), chews, toys. I prefer the ones with a door that swings open as well, as opposed to no door or the flap style. With puppy in the pen, you can get the house clean without having a little ball of fur barking and biting at the vacuum. You also don’t have to worry about them wandering off into another room and turning your dining room chairs into a large chew toy. Now you’ll have time for your morning prayers for peace and patience. This can also teach your puppy that they can entertain themselves, a very useful behavior as they grow up.
Bully Sticks, Puppy Nylabone, Benebones. This is what you put in the play pen or give your puppy right before they reach for the coffee table legs. The right chew will satisfy their jaws so you don’t have to sacrifice your furniture. These are a few of our go to’s, in order of preference. You should have several appropriately sized options and will need to supervise the first few times to make sure the puppy isn’t able to break off large pieces. I don’t want my puppy to become a hard chewer, so I start out with softer chews. Bully sticks can also be pushed through a hole in a rubber toy (such as a Bully Loader) to slow down the chewer and prevent them from swallowing a large piece.
Honest Kitchen Beams (or the like). These dried fish skin sticks are the perfect chewy for those weekend mornings where you need a break, but your puppy is raring to go. Take them out at their normal morning potty time, make sure they potty. Play with them for 5 minutes. Then put them in their crate with a fish stick and hop back in the bed to catch a few more zzzz’s. If your puppy is still in the super mouthy stage, these make a good replacement for your hand.
Slow Feed Bowls. Because you should be able to sit down and eat your meal in peace. Make sure it takes your pup more than 30 seconds to eat theirs. These are not your puppy’s grandparents slow feed bowls, they’re lots more entertainment and come in fun colors and shapes. We personally prefer to feed almost all our pups food through training and rewarding good behavior. These bowls are the next best thing.
Kongs. Get one. No, get two, maybe three. Smear some peanut butter or can food inside and you’ll quickly know why. You can also freeze them so that it will take your puppy longer to finish licking them clean. Best times to use: when leaving in crate, puppy pen, tethered on their bed while you eat dinner, talk on the phone, read Foothills Canine’s blogs, etc. You get the idea.
I hope these tips allow you to be able to enjoy raising your puppy, because it won’t be long before that cute little guy is fully grown. Getting your puppy off to a good start is the greatest gift you can give yourself. In fact, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, throughout your dogs long life. Remember that socialization is necessary to have a dog that’s free from fear or anxiety, but it has to be done correctly. If you need help with any puppy problems, get help sooner rather than later. Be sure to look for a trainer that uses reward training only, and no scare tactics or painful punishment measures. Your best bet is to find a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA).
Allison Andrews is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA offering in home training and board and train programs in Greenville, SC.