Training a puppy starts long before you arrive at an obedience class. Besides potty training and setting boundaries at home, early training should include plenty of socialization and new situations for your puppy to experience around the home and away from home.
The first time your puppy hears a doorbell ring or a loud garbage truck pulling up in front of your house to that first car ride or walk through town, it’s a new—and sometimes unsettling—experience for your puppy. But with positive reinforcement, a comfortable distraction, and some repetition, your puppy will become accustom to the situation and react in a positive way.
Here are ideas for ways your puppy can experience a range of new situations:
- Take your puppy to visit family members
- Set play dates with other puppies and dogs
- Enroll in a puppy socialization or puppy preschool program that offers plenty of time for discovery and free play
Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center in Doylestown, PA hosts a FREE Puppy Social Hour every Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm. The focus is letting the puppies play freely and providing positive reinforcement during this period of socialization. Thursday evenings are designed for puppies 8 weeks to 4 months old. Friday evenings are for puppies between 4 to 6 months old. The classes are for puppies only and are supervised by an expert staff trained in pet behaviors and care. Call 215-345-6960 to register.
Around the Home
- Ring the door bell
- Use the vacuum
- Run appliances such as a garbage disposal and dishwasher
- Walk on different types of flooring: carpeting, rugs, hardwood, ceramic tile
- Introduce stairs with assistance—one or two steps into a family room is a good start
Around the Neighborhood
- Go for a walk in a different neighborhood—which might offer new friends to meet and smells to discover
- Visit the park—a great place to experience bikes, joggers, kids playing and other pets
- Go for rides in the car—the car should be linked to positive experiences, not just for that dreaded ride to the vet
- Walk through town on a busy Saturday—and visit a few pet-friendly businesses
- Sit at an outside café and watch people, pets and cars pass by—honking, loud music, busy sidewalks are many things your puppy should get used to if you like going places together
Did you know that Home Depot and Lowe’s are pet-friendly businesses? These are terrific places to take your pet to experience a little bit of everything! From a busy parking lot to the beeping of a fork lift in motion, any time is the right season to visit these businesses. And your puppy will get to greet lots of people—because who doesn’t like pay special attention to a puppy and chat with you in the middle of the aisle or while waiting to check out?!
- Veterinarian office – Of course your puppy will have plenty of experience with this place early on. Be sure to remain calm and treat it as a fun place. Our pets can read our emotions pretty easily so if you are worried or stressed, your puppy may react accordingly.
- Pet store – Another great place to casually stroll around and meet other pets and pet parents!
- Grooming salon – It’s never too early to introduce your puppy to the grooming experience. An early, positive start is a great foundation for a lifetime of grooming.
Training your puppy starts with providing a variety of people, pets and situations to experience. Let your puppy discover and play and become comfortable in a variety of situations. By spending a lot of time with your puppy, not only do you strengthen the bond and trust with your pet, but you are providing valuable experiences to build a foundation of comfort and life-long learning.
Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center offers two popular professional training programs: Stay & Learn and Play & Learn. Stay & Learn combines individualized training during a luxury lodging stay at the resort. Play & Learn combines individualized training while enrolled in one of our daycare programs. For more information, call 215-345-6960 to speak with our training coordinator.