Fifi was everything you’d expect from a 4-month old Shih Tzu-mix puppy—super cute, energetic, nippy…and a “bit of a wild child” according to her mom. So where do you begin with training a super-charged puppy that bites everything that moves, pulls on a lead, and goes potty everywhere but outside?
“It felt like Fifi was a bit unmanageable for me. I felt a bit overwhelmed looking for a training program until I spoke with Holiday House Pet Resort trainer Sierra who helped me understand life from Fifi’s perspective,” said Roberta Patton.
Free Puppy Social Hour sessions at the resort helped Fifi with the beginning steps of socializing around other dogs. Despite her usual puppy ways, she was shy at first but quickly learned to leave her mom’s side and play with the other puppies.
“I loved the feedback from the trainers during those sessions which helped me realized how well Fifi was doing,” added Patton.
Puppies become better behaved when they are given clear rules and boundaries, and when they receive positive reinforcement for good behavior.
Training a Puppy: Fifi’s Story
Fifi was then enrolled in the 15-day Stay & Learn training program with the Get Busy potty-training option. Stay & Learn is the most popular training program offered at Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center. The program combines multiple daily training sessions with different trainers with the activities and amenities of a lodging stay. A training program is customized based on an evaluation of the unique needs of the dog as well as behaviors and skills the pet parent would like addressed.
“Fifi’s behaviors were the usual puppy antics with no serious issues. From a training perspective, she was a blank slate. Teaching commands provides a language, and Fifi needed a foundation for communication,” said senior trainer Jess Philp.
Clear communication fosters confidence and creates a positive relationship. Teaching basic obedience establishes a language your dog can understand and sets expectations for good behavior.
Since Fifi was small puppy that also needed potty training, paying attention to her schedule was most important. Consistency with potty training is key, and crate training is important for potty training little dogs. Fifi learned from six different trainers and also worked with additional staff for her potty training.
“All of Fifi’s physical and mental stimulation needs were met with plenty of play time and training before providing her with the needed quiet time and rest in her crate,” said Philp.
At the end of her Stay & Learn training program, Fifi knew the commands needed to continue learning with her mom at home. Fifi is still playful and curious, but professional training has helped her be more attentive. Professional training also helped Fifi learn how to properly walk on a lead. Although she still has a tendency to pull ahead when excited, Fifi walks confidently by her mom’s side.
“I learned four things from Fifi’s training at Holiday House Pet Resort,” said Patton, “how to communicate with Fifi, how to better understand the behavior of puppies, how to set more reasonable expectations of Fifi, and how to be more patient with her.”
Learning does not end when the training program at the resort is completed, especially with a puppy. A final lesson is scheduled with the pet parent before the dog completes the training program. Together the pet parent and dog work with the trainer to be comfortable with the new language and expectations. Practice, persistence and patience at home are important for long-term success.
“Everyone adored Fifi,” said Philp adding, “Her training was successful because the parent was involved by implementing all the training recommendations at home.”
A Lifetime of Learning
Fifi and her mom joined the new group training class, Recap & Refresh, for graduates of the Stay & Learn or Play & Learn programs. The training team is committed to the long-term success and growth of their students, so Recap & Refresh was designed to help refine skills, and to provide guidance and feedback to the pet parent.