How To Train a Puppy or Two
Double the fun... or double trouble! As with one puppy, training two puppies takes loving consistent direction from its owners. If you are committed to seeing it through, your puppies will be healthy, happy OBEDIENT dogs when they grow up.
It's all about you! Yes, in reality, YOU must be trained. Train yourself to be alert and on top of things --then, train your little bundles of joy.
Raising two puppies is like having twins. They eat twice as much, they drink twice as much, piddle and poop twice as much. Everything is times two! It's an adventure.
Also, like twins, they bond to each other from the start. Reminding them that YOU are in the equation is going to take work. They definitely should spend time together. They can sleep, eat and play together but every day spend some alone-time one on one with each of them establishing yourself as a part of the pack. Yes, they are pack animals and YOU must be in charge.
Crates are a great way to keep your puppies safe from harm and to conduct the housebreaking part of their training as painlessly as possible.
It may seem unkind to crate a dog. Actually, dogs are den-animals by nature and feel safe in closed surroundings. Crates are not jail, though. Your pets should enjoy their time in their crate. It is not a place of punishment. Give your dogs plenty of out-of-crate time as well. When they're older, the door can stay open to roam back and forth at will. Someday, they may not need it at all.
For two dogs, depending on the breed, you will eventually need a second crate. Puppies don't stay small forever. The two pictured above, Bear and Indie, are a mixture of Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler and German Shepherd. They are big dogs just waiting to happen!
Get your puppies used to the crate gradually. Equip the crate with soft bedding, water and puppy-safe chew toys. Put some treats in the crate and allow them to go in and enjoy. Encourage them with soft words of praise. Let them come out, pet them and put another treat for each in the crate.
Gently close the door and give them a brief time inside the crate. They will probably be a bit scared and may whine. Release them quickly, into your arms. Pet them, speak softly to them, and put them in, closing the door -- but this time slip a treat through the wires. This process will take a while. (Remember to get them out to potty intermittently, too. They're nervous and they're eating!)
For more about helping your puppy adjust to the crate: Crate Training a Dog or Puppy
Potty Training Your Puppy
Food, Drink, Potty, Play
A puppy's day is a repetition of his basic needs: eat, drink, potty, play, sleep. They do sleep! You will relish the times your puppy sleeps.
Establish a Routine: Puppies wean from their mothers at about 6-8 weeks old. When they start to eat puppy food it will be 3 to 4 times per day and will drop back to 2 or 3 times per day when they are a little older. Portions depend on the breed. At first, mix their dry food with a little water to make it easier to chew. 3 parts food, 1 part water.
Expect your puppy to evacuate (piddle & poop) almost immediately after he eats. Do not wait for a young pup to let you know. He has no way to hold it and will do what comes naturally...he'll go right where he is!
Watch him as he eats. When he is through with his meal and drinking his water, it will be your move. Tell him "good boy, let's go potty", get his little leash on him FAST and carry him outside to the lawn. Take him to the same location each time so that he gets used to it being where he should go. Affirm him all the way with soft words such as "Good boy, go potty. Go potty."
*See why two puppies is so much work? You'll be doing this for both of them, at the same time!
After a few days of this routine, he may be trustworthy enough to walk with you on the leash to the door but be ready to snatch him up quick if he hasn't quite caught on. Remember, young pups are BABIES and aren't being bad when they do that. It's a work in progress. He'll catch on.
All animals need water throughout the day, and your puppy is no exception. Cut off food and water about 2 hours before bedtime, though. Right before bed, take him potty one more time and put him in his crate for the night.
Dogs 101 Puppy Training
All dogs enjoy chewing. Puppies will gnaw more than ever when they are teething. Puppies teethe from about 4 months old to 10 months. So, how do you prevent them from ripping up the house? Again, the training is all about you!
First: do not let your puppy teethe on humans. It may seem cute and harmless at this young age but it will become a problem later in life.
Second: substitute! Anytime your pup starts to chew on something he should not have, remove it (or remove him, if it's too big to move) and give him something he can chew on.
Third (which maybe should be first): have plenty of pup-safe chew toys on hand. Puppies get bored. Save some in a cupboard to bring out later. Switch them up to keep him interested.
Obedience Training For Your Puppies
Obedience is a big part of training puppies. When your puppies are 8-12 weeks old, it is time to start. Teach your pups to sit, stay and behave well on a leash, using praise and positive reinforcement (treats!).
You may wish to enlist the help of a dog trainer. That's fine but, no matter what, you still have a big part in this. If you are not committed to using the commands and practicing with your pet, professional dog training will have limited success.
In conclusion, raising a puppy-- or puppies-- is time consuming but this growing-up stage won't last forever. Invest the time now and your family will have wonderful loving dogs for years to come!
More about training a puppy:
- Dog Names
- Interactive Dog Toys That Teach Dogs to Think
- Pet Hair- Tips for Dog Owner on How to Keep Your House Clean
The Author: Sinea Pies is a freelance writer for a popular parenting magazine, professional blogger on her own website Ducks 'n a Row, and true dog-lover!
Photo credit: Cute Brown Puppy clipart of dog with bone courtesy of Animal Clipart.