Play and learn

I can’t believe we’re starting the last week with Sky’s puppies. I think it seemed to come up fast because we kept Glory’s pups a bit longer because of the holidays and they just went home.

We are having fun playing, of course.

And working on crate time during meals. Since there are only four pups we put two to a crate at first. Then we’ll move them to one per crate so they get used to eating on their own. It’s not always easy at first. And they do like to vocalize their displeasure at this new routine. I just wait until they are quiet and then open the door. We obviously don’t want them to stress themselves out, but a little crying is not going to hurt. And the second they settle and stop, I open the door.

When you get your puppy home I can’t stress enough how they need to have their own “bedroom” (Iris or exercise pen). As much as you want to be with your puppy all the time, there’s no way anybody can watch a puppy every minute of the night and day. They need a safe place to be contained when you can’t watch them. But when you first put them in the pen and walk away they are going to let you know how unhappy they are!

The problem is you cannot give in to the cries and give them the attention they are demanding. If you do the puppy is doing a great job of training you! 😉  (“If I whine and fuss, my owner will give me attention”).

When I have a single puppy that I’m training I set up an Iris pen under the kitchen bar area (it’s the only place downstairs) so it’s in the “thick” of things and where we’re at most of the time. The puppy can see us coming and going as we work and come in and out of the house.

When they’re first introduced to this pen as a single puppy they fuss, whine, cry and just plain complain. Sometimes adding a blanket over the front of the pen helps to settle them as they can’t see you but they can hear you still moving around. Playing a radio softly and giving them something like a *Snuggle puppy to cuddle with is also sometimes helpful.

Just realize it’s always an adjustment (with noise) until they learn the new routine. Some puppies catch on right away and some will carry on for days. As soon as they learn they are okay, you’re not leaving them forever and they won’t get attention by crying, they’ll figure it out and settle down.

It’s important with a new puppy as you are setting boundaries and teaching them your (and their new routine) that you ignore the behavior you don’t want to reinforce and reward the behavior you want see/teach. So if puppy is carrying on in that pen/crate or wherever you have put them, and settle down, that you reward them with some love and attention.

As another example, tonight the puppies ate in separate crates and they weren’t super happy about being “alone” (they were lined up next to each other). Some ate and were fairly quiet and some ate and cried at the door. I just sat on the floor by the crates and watched them and kept them company. As soon as a puppy settled and stopped fussing, I rewarded them by opening the crate door and letting them come out if they choose to. The behavior I wanted to see was a quiet, calm puppy. If I had opened the door when the puppy was crying, it would’ve probably cried louder the next time because it knew the fussing “worked” and it would be rewarded with me opening the door (what the puppy wanted).

Training a new puppy is a time-consuming process. But if you are consistent, set boundaries and a routine, you’re puppy will be trained much faster and easier. And your puppy and the whole household will be much happier and know what to expect.

Today I practiced hanging out in the room doing some laundry while the puppies were separated from me by the exercise pen. They could see me and complained a bit, but I just ignored them and kept working and they settled down.

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8 Responses to Play and learn

  1. Marilyn Pyles says:

    Wow!! That is so helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sue Johnson says:

    The puppies are adorable, and it must be hard to resist they crying, but I can see the logic in your training. Do you ever have a puppy who won’t settle down?

  3. Claudia Knauss says:

    Such a smart teacher, and such clear instruction. Very valuable! It!

  4. Manu says:

    Thanks for great tips, Jennifer!

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