Tips for training a new dog

Tips for training a new dog

ARTICLE BY | Meredith Storrs

So. . .you got a new dog or puppy during quarantine!

If you have never owned or raised a dog before, this can all seem very overwhelming! Particularly now, with most people working from home, settling into a routine with a new dog can seem like a challenge. It is extremely important to get our dogs into a consistent daily routine immediately to ensure a seamless transition into our household.

In addition, as we prepare to go back to “normal” in the fall and perhaps return to the office, it is important to get our pups used to being alone. If we do not get our pups used to being alone on a daily basis now, we risk having dogs with severe separation anxiety in the future.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Crate train! Crain training is an extremely important part of dog training. Time in the crate teaches your dog how to self-soothe, helps with potty training, and provides much-needed structured relaxation time. Think of your puppy’s crate as their room within your home: their safe space. Make it a non-negotiable part of their daily routine. Begin crate training while you are home, and then progress to leaving your dog home alone in the crate. In my experience, plastic enclosed crates work better than wire ones.

Household management is key. Utilize baby gates, X pens, and crates to make sure your pup can’t get into too much trouble when you can’t keep your eyes on them. Freedom to roam the house unattended = chewed shoes and accidents!
Oftentimes I work with pet owners who are frustrated because their puppy wandered off unattended to chew their shoes or furniture. In an ideal world, your puppy should not even have that opportunity to chew your furniture because they won’t be left unattended unless in a crate or an X-pen. Remember: household management is key!

Take your pup or new dog to 20 different places in 30 days. Exposing and desensitizing them to different sounds, textures, lighting, and objects ensure that they are environmentally stable. A well thought out environmental exposure plan can help you raise a dog that you can bring anywhere, while poor environmental stability can leave you with a fearful, reactive dog who is nervous being anywhere outside of the home.  My favorites are your local dog-friendly hardware store, the beach, and the car wash.

Learn how to play with your pup! Utilizing tug toys, balls, or Frisbees can be a great way to build your puppy’s engagement with you and have fun. If available near you, also consider a scent work or agility class. All breeds of dogs are cut out for “working” and oftentimes need a biologically appropriate outlet for their energy. A well-trained, mentally stimulated and properly exercised dog is a happy and tired dog.

ABOUT | Meredith

is a Boston-based balanced dog trainer and handler focusing on clear communication and successful relationship-building between humans and their canine companions. She currently operates out of her facility in Cohasset, Massachusetts. You can find her on social media @OffLeashExcursions