So my question for you today is, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about a lot is…
Do you want to live the next 15 years with an amazing dog? Do you have a puppy now and you want to have an amazing dog?
Because here’s the thing, I’ve been talking to a lot of people, maybe not even just potential clients, but also friends and family who just got a puppy, but they don’t want to do training with their puppy.
They say their puppy is “just a family dog.”Or they’re training, that they’re training their puppy, and sometimes that means that they’ve just read a couple of internet articles, or maybe they taught their puppy to sit and they think that that’s what training is all about.
But, probably the most common thing that I hear is maybe they’ll get around to it later if they need it.
And, you know, I just wanted to do this live today because I think that sometimes when I hear this, I think it’s just sometimes… it’s hard to know where to start.
And, I think that learning new things can be intimidating or overwhelming.
I know we’re all really busy right now, and things are really stressful and crazy.
And, when you get a new puppy, things are even more unpredictable, and you have even more on your plate.
It can feel almost like an “extra” to take on training.
Because here’s the problem when I hear that, when I talk to people and I hear that, my heart just worries for them!
There is no other training that’s as time sensitive as puppy training…
There just isn’t, there’s no other training. I mean, you can teach sit, down, and stand, you can do all of that later on. You can teach obedience to any age dog.
But, when you have a puppy, there are actually certain specific windows of time in puppyhood, where you can train certain things. And if you miss it, that opportunity is gone forever.
So when I hear people say, “well, I’m just going to get around to it if my puppy needs it,” or “my puppy’s biting us,” or “my puppy’s peeing in the house,” or “my puppy can’t be crated,” but it’s okay, “he’s just a puppy, he’ll grow out of it.”
I’m like, oh, that’s not the right way to think! Because it’s just like I know, as a professional trainer, I know what happens…
And you’ve probably seen it, too…
So have you ever been walking down the street and you see a dog who’s barking and lunging at other dogs?
Or maybe there’s a dog in your neighborhood who just runs up and down the fence and barks at everybody who passes?
Or, hopefully not, but maybe you know, a dog who bites other dogs or bites people.
Or, maybe you know a dog who pees on things inside their house.
Or, you know, sometimes dogs have to be given up because they can’t even be left alone without destroying things in the house or hurting themselves. That’s another common one that I see.
So, I want you to imagine all of those dogs that you’ve seen in your life and you’re like I would never own a dog like that.
Those dogs were all once puppies, and they were all brimming with potential.
And, in almost all of those cases…
They probably wouldn’t have ended up that way had their owner started with training from the beginning.
And, I think that that’s the thing that people are missing when they think like that they just have time to train their puppies… Because I almost guarantee you that none of those owners imagined those problem behaviors developing like that when they first got their puppy.
So, I want you to imagine with me for a moment and think back to the time before you got your puppy….
That’s a really fun time for a lot of people, I know I love that time.
And before you get your puppy if you’re like me, you look at a lot of different puppies. You might look at a lot of different breeders, you might be on Petfinder all the time, just like scrolling through and reading about all the different puppies and their different personalities. Maybe you took a breed quiz and you were like, Oh, this is the perfect breed. Now I’m going to look for Border Collies or German Shepherds or whatever it is…
You might have even, if you’re like me, like I love to start Google Docs and Google Sheets and organize all of my plans, because that’s the time where you’re dreaming, right?
And you’re really imagining the potential life that your puppy is going to have. And I think that most of us imagine a puppy who’s going to be happy to see us and who loves us and loves our family.
And if we have kids, we want a puppy who is going to be a playmate and best friend for our kids. I had that growing up. And that’s really important to me for my kids.
And we imagine a puppy who happily and easily walks down to the local park with us on a loose leash a puppy who loves to meet new people and dogs, a puppy who’s well behaved inside our home.
Maybe we imagine the puppy just laying in her dog bed by the fireplace chewing on her bone. And then whenever she has a little spurt of energy, maybe she grabs her toy and bounces around the family room with her toy away.
Or if he likes to travel, maybe you imagine that your puppy could go on adventures with you and accompany you when you travel. So that sounds really great, right? And it sounds so simple. It sounds like that’s just what would happen if you treated your puppy well, and you gave her lots of love.
Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you that it’s just not true.
I think that’s such a common misconception… that if you just love your puppy, your puppy is going to grow up to be fine.
Maybe that was true 30 years ago, when all a dog needed was to be successful in her own home in her backyard.
But if you live in 2020, and you live in an urban or suburban area, the requirements are just through the roof…
Now the requirements are way higher. So, your adult dog will have to be comfortable with:
- All breeds, all shapes, all sizes, all personalities of other dogs
- Being charged by off-leash dogs
- Being run up to by unfamiliar kids being hugged by unfamiliar kids.
- All sorts of traffic, you know, buses, trucks, mail, trucks, motorcycles, helicopters, you’ve got bikes, you’ve got scooters, you’ve got strollers, you’ve got wagons…
- You’ve got the squirrels, you’ve got the bunnies, you’ve got the neighborhood cats,
I mean… there’s just a lot of stuff that we need our dogs to be okay with, they have to really be super dogs now.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should put your dog in those situations, or you should put your puppy in those situations. I’m not saying you should allow off leash dog to charge up to your dog or your puppy. And, I’m not saying to let a kid that you don’t know may run up and hug your dog or puppy.
But I am saying that, in my experience, these are the situations that my clients face and I face every day living in a busy suburban neighborhood.
In my area, if I go in the woods with my dogs, I know that there’s a possibility that an off leash on train dog is going to charge up to us, I just know that’s a possibility.
So, it’s really important that we raise our dogs or puppies to be resilient and to be able to deal with these things. And that’s start through this early puppy training.
The other crazy thing that’s super special right now, because everything happens to be extreme this year, right?
If you’re raising a puppy right now, you’re essentially raising them in a vacuum.
And they’re not getting normal levels and interaction with people or with other dogs, and they are probably getting a way higher percentage of time with you, then maybe they would have had you gotten them free 2020.
Well, the problem with this is when you fast forward to 2021. And the expectations for your puppy who is then going to be a grown dog, they’re going to be totally different, right? It’s not going to be a vacuum anymore.
Your teenage puppy or young adult dog is going to have to be comfortable with maintenance people coming to your house, visitors coming to your house, people stopping to pet your dog kid stopping to pet your dog.
That’s not happening right now, you’re not having to deal with that right now. So your puppy is not getting used to it and acclimated to it, but it’s going to happen.
So it’s really more important than ever to have a really strong training plan. And to be starting right from the beginning.
And this whole thought came up because I’m just it’s just heartbreaking to see these normal puppies who grow up into reactive, which is just like barking or lunging, or anxious, or fearful dogs.
And their perfectly wonderful owners who would have done it had they known but nobody told them. Or worse. You know, I hear stories all the time where the breeder or the vet or the rescue group says wait until your puppy is six months to begin training…
And that’s that’s the worst because that advice is well intentioned. They want to help you, they want to help your puppy, but it’s totally misguided.
So, that advice comes from the time where traditional training was done, where a correction based collar was used like a prong collar, slip lead and at that point you had to wait till your dog was six months, you had to wait for your dog to be physically mature enough to be able to handle that kind of physical correction. Not to mention the mental side effects of that.
But modern training that’s reward based, can be started at any age, I personally have trained puppies as young as four weeks.
And I regularly train puppies starting at eight weeks. So you can definitely train puppies at eight weeks. Actually, there are tons of videos on YouTube about myself training puppies, like very little puppies, you can see them…
And it really works, you can teach them right from the beginning. And you can lay this really, really strong foundation. I will say that if you’re experienced raising puppies, or if you’re just really committed, and you could take the time to do a ton of research or to build the right puppy raising plan. Or maybe you just get a unicorn puppy who has amazing genetics, I hope that for you, regardless of whether or not you do training, or if you just get lucky the DIY approach can totally work. So you can always train your puppy yourself.
But whatever training plan you choose, I want you to commit to a training plan and I want you to start training your puppy as soon as possible.
Now, obviously, I do professional puppy training. And I think that’s just like insurance, right? So you may never get into a car accident, but I’m still going to advise you to put your seatbelt on when you get in the car.
So you may not need the heavy foundation that professional puppy training is going to give you you may never need that if you don’t, but I’m still going to advise you to do it.
Because you might need it, you might get a puppy whose genetics are like a little wonky in this one area. And if we can budge them along the spectrum with training, you can see it’s the difference between living a peaceful life for the next 15+ (hopefully) years with this amazing dog.
Versus, living with a management case for the next 15 years where you’ve got to put the dog away when the visitors come where you got to take the dog to the vet to get it to the house clap because nobody can do it.
Where you don’t even want to walk the dog because it’s embarrassing, and it’s scary. You don’t know if the dog’s going to get away from you. Because every time he sees another dog, or squirrel or stroller, he goes nuts and he’s lunging. And he’s barking… I don’t want that for you.
So that’s why I always recommend professional puppy training just as insurance like I want you to have a training plan, I want you to know very systematically what you’re doing so that you build this dog who can do everything, he can be everything he can be that dream dog for you that you deserve. Everybody deserves that. And the dog deserves that… Your puppy deserves that, your puppy deserves to reach her fullest potential. And you deserve to live with an amazing dog. And it’s totally possible.
But the key is really to start with puppy training and to start as soon as possible.
So had this message out there helps you or somebody that you know, if it did, please give this a like or heart so that I know that you are listening. And regardless of whether you do training with me or somewhere else, or even if you just do a really good job of DIY, please, please please train your puppy start as early as possible, it’s totally worth it, it’s going to make all the difference in the world to you and your family and your puppy there, you’re never going to have to worry that your puppy is going to grow up and have issues unsolvable unresolved issues…
Because I tell you that I I work with a bunch. In many cases, I work with anxiety cases, I work with this on the back end. And it is time consuming.
I don’t care what anybody tells you a lot of times there is no cure. It is just management, it is just trying to make it a little bit better.
But when you have a puppy, it’s… you just have all this, so much potential, so much potential to just get it right and not even go to that place.
Please leave me a comment if any of this resonates with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts!