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It can be a hassle bringing home a new puppy, and trying to get them to calm down enough to sit in one place. These little creatures are so full of excitement, how could they possibly listen to you when you start laying out the rules and boundaries? However, did you know that during the “puppy” stage of their life, they actually pick up and retain more information than during any other part of their life? This is why it’s important to start boundary training your dog as soon as possible. The more information you lay out in the beginning, the more likely it will become a habit to your pup later on in life. Some might consider the journey of house training an adventure, some may not, it usually depends on how the first couple of days go. Some might consider dog boundary training to be torturous, but that’s why we’re here. Hopefully, these tips will give you a little bit of insight that will make this process go a whole lot smoother.
Dog Boundary Training Tips
Tip #1 – Beginning The House Training Adventure
When you start thinking about boundary training a dog, the most important objective to follow is simple; stick to your guns. Enforce the rules from the day that you bring them home. It’s a good idea to keep your new puppy off of the furniture, out of the kitchen (or areas where there is easy access to food), away from stairs, out of the children’s rooms, and certainly create a space that is designed specifically for them to stay in when they are not with you, or outside. The reasons behind keeping them out of your, or your children’s, bedrooms is because then you won’t have to deal with the shedding of your dog’s fur, dirty paws tracking filth throughout your house, or bugs, dirt, etc. getting into your bed if they were to jump up and join you while you’re sleeping. You also want to be extra cautious of where you let your dog wander to if you have a youngster crawling about your house daily. That’s the perfect equation for an accident.
Now is the time to apply this tip to a real life situation. For instance, you’ve brought home your new puppy and everyone is in the living room practically dying to see the cute little furball, and so you carry them in and start passing him/her around to everyone sitting on the couch. WRONG! The second you let them into an area where you already don’t want them to be, it will be that much harder to train them to stay out.
Tip #2 – Create Obstacles
If dog boundary training isn’t going so well, try setting up obstacles to deter them from leaving their designated areas. A typical way to block off entrances is by using old baby gates, or purchasing new ones for cheap at a local store. If you block the entrances to hallways, doorways, and stairs, they most likely won’t bother with jumping over (unless that are a large breed and know that they can easily get over it.) Another effective way to keep them out of specific rooms is to simply shut the door behind you. Unless your pups are really talented, and have thumbs, they won’t be able to reach up, and turn the doorknob to sneak into certain bedrooms. If you must, it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative. Chairs, small tables, heavy objects, all will work wonders if you use them correctly to barricade your dog from getting into where they aren’t allowed. The very last thing you should resort to is keeping your puppy in a kennel. If it’s only for a small amount of time, it wouldn’t be so bad. But, if you’re planning on leaving your puppy in a kennel all alone for the duration of the day, find a dog sitter, or leave them outside to play if it’s nice out. You know that you wouldn’t want to be trapped in a little cage all day with nobody to talk to.
Tip #3 – Using Positive Reinforcement
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but by using some type of positive reinforcement, it will help tremendously well in the process of training your puppy. Treats are a huge motivator when it comes to house training a puppy, because they know that if they pay attention and do well, they’ll receive a yummy treat for it. Not only does it make them pay attention more if you’re holding a bag of treats in your hand, but they will soon correlate the objective of what you are trying to teach them, with the treats. So, in other words, they know that if they do the action correctly, they’ve receive praise and a reward. If they don’t do the action the way you’ve been training them, hopefully they’ll put two and two together, and realize that it’s not correct, and they won’t receive a treat. Another form of positive reinforcement that you could try (if you don’t want to keep going through bags of treats daily) is by using toys and playtime. If you start to keep a schedule of training times during the day, set aside time for playtime or bonding time with your puppy as well. Soon, they’ll realize that if they act well and work with you on the house training, that they’ll get playtime with you afterwards.
You can use positive reinforcement while boundary training your dog by testing them on the daily. For example, pretend that you are leaving for ten minutes, and leave a gate open to where your puppy knows they are not allowed to cross through, but have full freedom to because nobody is home. Come back, and see if your puppy is trustworthy. If they have crossed through to the forbidden area, give them a stern “no” and a time-out in their kennel. If they have stayed in their area, give him/her a treat and let them know they did a good job. If you apply this technique daily, they’ll start to figure that if they are bad, they’ll have to go into their kennel for a while, but if they listen they’ll get a yummy snack.
These are probably the most important tidbits of information that you’ll need. Start the dog boundary training process as soon as possible, and stick to your guns when enforcing the rules. Never give in to their cute little puppy grins, because they will try to use them against you. Use different types of positive reinforcement to encourage them to learn at a quicker rate, and as a form of reward for exceptional behavior. Create barriers and obstacles to deter them from not listening and getting out of their designated areas. Always make time to spend with them, and love them unconditionally. If you work hard to create a strong bond, there will be more of a connection between the two of you, and that’ll make the training process more enjoyable for both of you. Training can be fun, so make it fun! Use toys, treats, playtime, and whatever it takes to keep your puppy’s head in the game, and your patience on an acceptable level.