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Fundog Gundog Puppy Training: January Pupdate!

Updated: Jan 5

So, the festivities are over, mince pies have been eaten and it's time to focus on training your dog again, especially if you have been lucky enough to welcome a puppy into your home in the last few weeks and months! Here's some tips to integrating your new pup into your household, and to understand what is going on with them too.

The energy cycle!

Puppies often seem to have boundless energy but, in fact, sleep is massively important to your puppy's growth and wellbeing. Just like human babies and toddlers get cranky when they are tired (but still refuse to go to sleep!), we need to recognise the signs and support good sleeping habits from the start.

When your puppy wakes up, they will be full of beans, probably unable to focus and more than likely need a bit of time before they are able to train with you. You can expect to see excited biting and nipping, maybe some jumping, barking or digging. These behaviours are also signs - after an hour or more of being awake- that your puppy is over-stimulated and tired, and time for a nap!


Training

For training purposes, it's best to try and sneak in some training in the middle of the cycle above- when your pup's energy is at a middle point. This is where you will get the best focus. However, just like little humans, don't expect long bouts of focus, or they will get bored and frustrated. Aim for 5 minute sessions scattered throughout the day.


Good Habits

I like to create a basic routine throughout the day, so it is easier for puppies to start to understand the rhythm of the household. For a very young puppy it would look something like this:

Morning

wake up- toilet break- check if second nap is needed- breakfast (often used as a training tool- think about brain puzzles, scatter feeding, using some of the food to start training heelwork...)- toilet break- short play and/or training (10 minutes max)- toilet break- Nap

toilet break- short play and/or training- Mid-morning feed (depending on your puppy's age)

-toilet break (yes, again!)- Short training

Afternoon

nap (longer one in the middle of the day)- toilet- play/train- mid-afternoon feed- toilet- more play!- toilet!- nap!- toilet!- training (if pup isn't showing the tired signs above)


Evening- Night

Evening feed (around 7pm ish)- toilet- calm play/ teaching settling down- toilet- more settling/ nap- toilet- night time sleep - [if your pup is very little you'll need to wake up in the night to let them toilet as well...].


Really, you're pretty much cycling around eat-toilet-play/train-toilet-sleep - repeat. To get the toilet training as quickly as you can, making sure your puppy can go outside after every nap, feed and play will really help speed up the process. Their bladders are not fully developed at 8 weeks, so it's not reasonable to expect them to be able to hold in their wee.


Bitey puppies!

A final quick comment on bitey pups- don't forget that they are going through not just one but two very rapid rounds of teething- first the puppy teeth, then the adult teeth. This is incredibly painful for them, and they often chew things to relieve the pain. Take note of what your puppy is wanting to chew on a daily basis- some days they might be chewing on hard things, other days it might be something soft. This will help you to offer a substitute that they want- so, if they are chewing your wooden chair, offer a tougher, more chewy toy or treat; if they are wanting to shred your socks, offer a rope toy or similar for them to pick at. A favourite of mine is to rip up an old towel, tie it into a knot and freeze it. Then you have something that is hard but also can be picked at- and it offers coldness to sooth those aching gums. Obviously you need to supervise any chewing to make sure puppy doesn't ingest things they shouldn't!


Whilst getting a new puppy can be exhausting, don't forget to try and enjoy this time, and make the most of careful exposure to new experiences for your puppy- the best window for this is up to 19 weeks old, so the more you can plan this time, the better you will be setting yourself up for a great future! And don't forget to have fun :)


Don't forget, we have rolling puppy classes that you can start at anytime, for all puppies under 6 months. You can read more about them here: GUNDOG PUPPY CLASSES.





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