Setting your dog up for success

Puppies explore new behaviors as they explore the world. As their caregivers and guides, we want to ensure that we set our puppy up to repeat the behaviors that makes them excellent companions. How do we do this? We use structure, supervision, and management.

Structure: Your puppy should have a routine every day. Every dog has different needs, and if your dog is still a growing puppy, their needs will shift as they continue to mature. Keep a log of your dog’s behavior to understand what works best for them. Most puppies’ days should be a rotation of rest time, nap time, walks/exercise, play time, and training time. Most puppies enjoy structured “chew time” with something like a bully stick, as well.

In order to be more in control of when “rest/nap time” happens, crate and/or barrier training is recommended. This is a great way to avoid or stop undesirable behavior due to over-tiredness.

Supervision: The majority of puppies will develop undesirable habits if they are allowed to roam freely in the home with minimal or no supervision. Many habits are self-reinforcing, meaning they are likely to quickly become strong habits, if allowed to develop. When a puppy cannot be directly supervised, they should we crated or confined in a way that allows them to only practice desirable behavior.

Management: When you cannot directly train and supervise your puppy, set them up for success by manipulating their environment to only allow them to make good decisions. Utilizing management tools like crates, x-pens, baby gates, and tethers will be a huge asset to you as you teach your puppy the do’s and don’ts of living with humans.

Another helpful way to manage a puppy’s behavior is by puppy-proofing the areas of your home in which your puppy has access. (For example, your pup can’t destroy your computer if your computer is kept in a different room or is out of reach.) Off-leash time in the house should be introduced in very tiny increments and with 100% supervision. More freedom should only be given if your pup reliably rehearses desirable behavior and is not practicing undesirable behavior. If your pup begins to exhibit undesirable behavior, they are not ready to be unsupervised! A puppy is naturally curious and needs to chew — if they destroy something that was left on the floor, this is due to parent error, and not puppy error. Many trainers recommend not allowing your dog free range of your home until they are over one year old; some recommend waiting even longer.

Note: If your pup is enrolled in our Puppy Nanny Program, they will be fully supervised at all times. Practicing with crates/tethers/x-pens etc. will only be done if it is in support of the pup’s previously established routine, as instituted by the pup’s parents. If your pup is uncomfortable with confinement, we highly recommend pairing our Puppy Nanny Program with our Day Training Program, in which your puppy will additionally work with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for one hour every day.