by: Dy Witt
If you are lucky enough to get a 7-week-old puppy, there is no excuse for any bad habits to develop over his lifetime. Puppies learn INSTANTLY when they are that young, and if you use the proper training methods, gentle but consistent, he will behave like an angel his whole life through.
The most important training, of course, is housebreaking. Boys are easier than girls because exploring outside is their favorite thing. They just cannot get enough of all the new smells out there!
The main key to housebreaking is watching. Watch your puppy AND the clock. Once every hour is not too often on a day he is active and the weather is good. The younger the pup, the more often he needs to go out, mostly because he is growing so fast. He must drink more water to fuel his metabolism than he does as an adult. Also, since he eats three or four times a day, you know what that means.
Watch him for subtle changes. If he is happily chewing his toy, and gets up suddenly with his nose to the floor, move quickly! He is ready to squat! If he has had a nice nap, get him out of his crate and outside right away. If he has just had a good grooming, it stimulates his circulation and guess what? Time to go out again. And of course after a meal, watch him extra close.
Things to remember:
---Do not punish him for mistakes. They are YOUR fault. Every time you take him out he will go, and praise praise and praise! Happy face, laughter, happy noises! He loves your happy face. When he makes a mistake, your frown and your face turned away from him is all the punishment he needs. He will get the point.
---He is learning English, you must use the same phrases over and over. "Good go potty!" "Hafta go potty?" "Wanna go potty?" He can learn in one afternoon that "go potty" means a jaunt outside and your happy face. Whatever phrase you choose, stick with it.
---I cannot recommend strongly enough getting a crate. They truly help with all phases of his training. They make him more secure, provide him with his very own private space and a place for him to hide his favorite toys and chewies. This is even more important if you have other adult dogs in the house.
---Be consistent, always be kind and gentle, and be patient as he learns your language, and your puppy will always look forward to his training sessions. Dogs love to work!
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