Top 10 Training Priorities For Trevor

Toilet Training

It’s normal for dogs to toilet indiscriminately and puppies have no concept of ‘holding it’. We can’t just bring him home and hope for the best and then reprimand him when he toilets indoors. Many people refer to a puppy toileting indoors as a ‘mistake’ – while it IS a mistake it’s not Trevor’s mistake, it’s OUR mistake for not having a plan or for failing to stick to the plan! Toilet training takes more than a just few days and we can’t relax until we’ve had a good three months without any indoor toileting.

Separation Training

Trevor has never spent a single moment alone, he has been with his littermates and mother  one hundred percent of the time. For us to dote on him all day long then expect him to sleep alone in a laundry that night is expecting too much! He will be frightened when alone and will naturally call out in distress. Trevor will sleep confined in a crate in our bedroom where he can see us and hear us breathe. He will then be taught to accept being alone gradually. This will include being happy to be in the same house as us but not have access to us (or Stevie).

Handling

As part of caring for Trevor and his well-being he will:

  • be bathed
  • be blow-dried
  • be brushed
  • have his ears cleaned
  • have his nails clipped
  • have his coat clipped
  • be restrained while we check for ticks, fleas etc
  • have tablets administered
  • have ear drops administered
  • have eye drops administered
  • have his temperature taken
  • have his teeth checked/cleaned etc

We need to ensure he is comfortable with being handled from an early age.  If he happily accepts handling then visits to the vet /groomer will not be traumatic for him or the vet/ groomer.

Socialisation

We have a very short period to shape how Trevor will view the world. We know that his survival instincts will begin to kick in at somewhere around 12 weeks of age and will be in full force by 16 weeks of age. This means that by 16 weeks of age he will be wary of (and quite possibly frightened of)  anything new. We will have around 8 weeks to introduce Trevor to, and make him comfortable with new people, animals, things, experiences and places. For this 8 week period all our personal desires will take a backseat unless they fit into Trevor’s socialisation program. It’s only 8 weeks and it will shape the rest of Trevor’s life.

Bite Inhibition

Biting and mouthing are perfectly normal behaviours for puppies. They use their teeth in play and as a means of communication. Trevor needs to learn that when interacting with humans to treat our skin as though it were tissue paper.  This is a systematic process. Often people inadvertently teach their puppy to bite by teasing them with hand and feet. When we (or anyone else!) play with Trevor there will always be toy between him and the human.

No Jumping

There’s nothing that saddens us more than little dogs jumping frantically on humans.  It never ceases to amaze us how many people find this behaviour ‘cute’ and see it as an expression of happiness. I always imagine Paul coming home after a consultation to me jumping frantically all over him. I’m sure that if I did he would send me off  to get some professional help and I’d spend the next two years in therapy working on my anxiety issues. What makes it so different for dogs? Jumping up is often an expression of anxiety in dogs, just as it would be in humans and we would be devastated if our dogs were this anxious to greet us.

Sharing Food Toys etc

It’s normal for dogs to want to keep their resources to themselves. Trevor will be no exception to this.  If Trevor were living in the ‘wild’ guarding precious resources  would help to ensure his survival. Resources are things dogs like such as food, toys, sleeping &resting places and even humans. It’s our job to teach him that sharing resources is not only ok, it’s beneficial. We will teach him to trust us enough so that he happily surrenders resources to us, rather than tolerates us ‘taking’ them off him. Puppies will tolerate you taking things off them but as they grow and become more confident they may not accept it so well.

Crate/Confinement Training

When Trevor is unsupervised, whether indoors or outdoors, it is important that we have somewhere safe to put him. Not only can unattended puppies learn bad habits quickly, the can cause damage to household items easily. Injures and even death can befall unsupervised puppies quickly. Puppies die from chewing on electrical cords, suffocate in plastic bags, drown in pools or ponds, get caught up in curtain cords and strangle to death. Just the other day one of our clients found a huge python eyeing up her Golden Retriever puppy in the backyard! Keeping Trevor safe from harm is one of our responsibilities as puppy parents. We can’t supervise Trevor 100% of the time so we need to train him to be happy to be confined somewhere safe and puppy proofed.

Calm/Settle

This seems to be very low on most puppy parents’ list of priorities but it rates very high on ours. We love a calm dog. A calm dog is a dog that can think and respond. A calm dog isn’t running around wildly reacting to the world and everything in it. A calm dog is a joy to be around. Trevor will be a calm dog.  It’s worth noting that calm is not a position (sit, drop etc), calm is a disposition. Calm dogs get everything in our house, they get treats, they get played with, they get to go for walks, they get to come inside, they get to go outside, they get to come up and snuggle on the bed or couch, they get to say hello to visitors, they get greeted by us , they get dinner – all the good things happen for calm dogs. Dogs that aren’t calm get nothing. It’s quite simple to teach if you’re prepared to wait initially.

Chew Toy Training

Trevor is a dog and we know that dogs like to chew things. Armed with that knowledge and having a house full of ‘things’ we’d be insane to leave him alone anywhere in our house with our things. Astonishingly easy we know, yet so many people have so many things destroyed by puppies and young dogs. Trevor needs to be taught to make good chewing decisions. Until he demonstrates good chewing choices consistently we’d be mad to allow him unsupervised access to anywhere indoors or outdoors that is not puppy-proofed.

Trevor - Photo taken by Zoo Studio - Animal Art Photography

Trevor - Photo taken by Zoo Studio - Animal Art Photography

Leave a Reply