I just got a 3-month-old Yorkie Puppy and I couldn’t be more excited. I named him Frankie and he is the cutest thing you will ever see on this earth. However, he is a bit of a little monster. While I adore his playfulness and that sweet puppy smell, he has been driving me crazy since I got him home. He’s been urinating and pooping anywhere he pleases leaving me exhausted every day from cleaning up his messes. He refuses to listen when I call him to come as he runs away as I approach him. Apparently, he thinks I am playing when I’m totally serious.
I may be a bit of an enabler here. I hate to hear him cry and I cater to his every whimper. I pick him up when he should be left alone, I feed him treats when he doesn’t deserve them, and when he does something wrong, like urinate on the floor, I pick him up and say, “no, Frankie, no pee pee in the house,” and then proceed to give him kisses right after scolding him. Nothing like giving affection for undesirable behavior; I know, I’m weak!
Finally, I decided it was time to get some help so I could break the vicious cycle of enabling. So, when I took Frankie to his veterinarian for the last of his shots, he gave me some really great tips and advice on puppy training that I want to share with you that is starting to really work for me and Frankie!
- Start right away
This was where I made my mistake, but I’m working on it and overcoming it. Teaching your puppy where he can urinate and poop is very important for obvious reasons. If you have a small dog like I do, you may want to train him to go on a pad. Some people only want to have their dogs go outside. The key is consistency. Get to know your dog’s body language. They do have it. If he starts walking in circles, there’s a sure sign he’s ready to go. Immediately scoop him up and put him on his pad or outside. If you start your puppy off the right way, you won’t have to struggle in trying to correct the undesirable behavior later. The same goes for showing him commands. The earlier the better.
- Sign up for a puppy training class
Puppy training classes are great for 2 reasons; 1. You get to have an expert guide you and give you advice as he’s training your dog. Take advantage of the time you have with a professional and ask a lot of questions. 2. Many puppy training classes are held in groups, so your puppy will be able to learn how to get along with other dogs and also to be friendly and social with people. Many pet stores offer these classes at very reasonable prices.
- The simpler the better
When you are teaching your puppy commands, don’t push him too hard. You can’t constantly correct him or keep telling him the same command incessantly over and over again. Take your time and spend just 15 minutes a few times a day. You can even break it down into a routine. Do your 15-minute sessions in the morning when you wake up, at lunchtime, in the late afternoon and if you want just before bedtime. Just like babies, puppies have a very short attention span, and just want to move on to the next fun thing they can get their paws on. Just be patient and he will “playing dead” on command in no time!
- Reward good behavior
Dogs love to be told they are doing a good job, but they love food even more. Keeping small treats on hand to reward your puppy for good behavior was one of the best tips I could have gotten. My puppy now knows when I say, “Frankie you want a treat?” he has to perform a command first before he gets it. You will get great results with food rewards with your puppy. It reinforces the command and good behavior you want to get from your pup. Use flavors like beef and chicken. It works like a charm!
- Keep up the encouragement
Along with rewarding with treats, encouraging your puppy with a positive reaction is key. Try to steer clear from yelling or punishing your puppy. Remember they are still “babies” and need to be guided and feel loved. Having a loving and positive attitude with your puppy will even help learn faster. Just by saying, “good boy!” with enthusiasm will go a long way and give you lots of tail wagging and doggie kisses!