I am about to share with you, gentle readers, Andrea’s Fail-Proof Puppy Tips, totally free of charge. You can thank me later.
1) Having a puppy around makes you almost as concerned about quantity, timing, and quality of “output” as having a new baby. Except with new infants, you generally do not throw them a minor party in the yard every time they poop or pee there. It is vital to the housetraining effort that you throw this party, so that the dog learns to believe that pottying in the yard is the Best Thing Ever.
2) Puzzle toys will save your sanity. As I write this (a day ahead of time as usual when I’m on the ball) Sid is working an Everlasting Treat Ball into which I stuffed a portion of his breakfast kibble. He is happy, he is learning to problem solve, and he is learning to amuse himself without direct human interaction. He is learning that his crate is Happy Fun Place where you get fun toys that give you food.
3) Crates will save your sanity, too, and also your puppy’s life, because without a crate at some point the puppy will do something that will cause you to want to choke him. Or her. Tink is only alive today for two reasons: she was damn cute when she was asleep, and I crate-trained her at a young age. Done right, crate training is not a punishment all you need to get is to find the correct way of crate training a puppy with some resources online. The important part is to make sure only wonderful things happen to crated dogs.
That last one is sometimes hard to accomplish in this house, where cats have been known to randomly swipe at crated dogs through the bars of the crate, but I do try to prevent that as much as possible. Braxton in particular is kind of a sadistic bugger, but Roo has also been known to box the ears of a dog who is trying to relax.
It’s funny, I haven’t had puppies for a long time now (depending on when you think puppyhood is over), but it all comes back to me pretty quick. The potty parties in the yard, the strategic stuffing of the puzzle toy, how to lure a sit or a down, all that good stuff.