Do you want to know one of the biggest secrets for surviving the puppy months?
Management is where we arrange our dog’s environment so they don’t practice unwanted behaviours.
With puppies, so much of their problem behaviours are just normal for animals of their developmental stage. They put everything in their mouth, including your baseboards. They don’t know how to hold their bladder. They bite!
Setting our puppies up for success by using management gives us more opportunities to reinforce wanted behaviours, and prevents behaviours we don’t want from becoming habits.
An 8 week old puppy is a baby animal, and just like we wouldn’t leave a toddler loose and unsupervised, we shouldn’t leave a puppy. Using baby gates and playpens will prevent puppy from getting into all kinds of unsafe shenanigans.
Puppies frequently have only two modes: asleep and turbo. Keep that energy from being taken out on your furniture, shoes and decor by providing a variety of activities for your puppy. Rotate toys every day or so to keep the novelty intact, and use food enrichment as much as possible. Pick up and put away shoes, books, human toys and all other puppy-enticing objects to prevent destruction.b
Your puppy won’t know how to hold their bladder, or that they should relieve themselves outdoors. It’s much easier to just go whenever, and honestly if you were given the choice between outside or inside, which would you pick? Preventing our puppies from making mistakes is essential to house training. If you can’t be directly supervising the puppy, put them in a crate or pen to avoid accidents.
When puppy’s environments are set up to prevent mistakes, we have so many more opportunities to reinforce good behaviour. Puppies can learn that chewing on their rope toy gets them kibbles and a game, and that pottying outside earns tasty chicken. When we build strong habits with great history of reinforcement, we avoid many unfortunate training pitfalls.