Walking on the lead
Benji had already been used to wearing a small collar but I did want him to wear a harness so I have got him used to sitting on my lap facing away from me and it is then very easy to pull the harness over his front paws and then put him on the floor and clip it on. I think all puppy owners have had this wonderful vision of taking out their pup for the first time and proudly walking down the road with him happily walking by our side tail wagging …… now for the reality! If possible, I do recommend to practise walking your puppy on the lead in your garden. Some puppies just don’t want to move as soon as they feel the lead is attached to them but on the other hand others just ran forward and are abruptly stopped by the lead. I used my best tools to attract Benji’s attention – a small squeaky ball and treats.
Benji the hoover
We have discovered that Benj wants to eat everything in his path and if it’s not there he will go sniffing it out! He will try to eat flowers, grass, weeds, stones, twigs and even a snail (which I managed to prise out of his mouth). The walking out on a lead has therefore been a problem. I never go out without the squeaky ball and use it as soon he focuses on something on the ground (I can assure you this little ball is getting well used)! It is a very slow process and a combination of saying NO when he grabs something into this mouth, picking him up and retrieving it and pulling him away from anything that he is making a “bee line” for! I also talk to him quietly while we are walking and that does make him focus on me but only for a short while. I have just started giving him a piece of baby carrot as this is safe for puppies and he enjoys the crunch which distracts him for a short while. This does help but of course he can only have no more than 2 or 3 pieces of carrot a day.
Benji has been using the newspaper since his arrival and now there are very few accidents. Unfortunately we are not able to teach him to go toilet in the garden as all he wants to do is eat everything within reach. I have therefore started a schedule of walks between my husband and I to get Benji used to not toileting in the house. He is taken out for a short walk at 6.30am, 9.30am, around 12.30pm, 4pm and 8pm. After 10 days of that routine, Benji is dry throughout most nights and the wees indoors during the day are getting few and far between. It is the first time I have had to resort to this schedule as my previous puppies have always been trained to go regularly in the garden – a much easier solution! Check out these links for methods to toilet train your puppy http://www.perfectpaws.com/htrp.html#.VE580MkSESY and http://uk.pedigree.com/health-and-training/training-your-dog/toilet-training-your-puppy
In the car
We have been taking Benji in the car for very short journeys for the last 2 weeks. As he is now used to his harness, it’s no problem attaching the harness to a car harness strap – initially I would sit in the back with him and just started driving around for no more than 10 minutes. After 10 days I sat in the front seat and Benji has progressed very well. We were able to take him for a 30 minute drive to an area around a lake where he enjoyed a good walk and met up with several other dogs. Benji is very excited when he meets another dog and he does jump up to their face so it is important to check with the owner that their dog is the patient type as not every pooch is keen to have a ball of fluff jumping, pawing and nibbling him! On the journey back, he just laid down and slept all the way home!
Playing and Training
Benji will now sit for a treat or his dinner. With a treat in your hand, tell your pup to sit while your hand is above his head – that will make him look up and then just move your hand slightly further to make him look back a bit more and he will sit. It is then just a question of repetition. Benji loves playing ball so I have started to tell him fetch when you runs for the ball and he now fetches it and brings it back. Once he achieves this on a regular basis, I will ask him to give. To make it easier for him to understand I will keep using the word “give” show him a treat so he drops the ball, praise him and throw the ball. He will soon realise that he gets the ball back when he lets it go. Don’t be tempted to try and prise a toy or ball you want your pup to give as he will believe that this the game tug war is what you want from him.
If you would like to pass on your experiences with your puppy, we would love to hear from you.