Puppies are exciting! Puppies are love! Puppies require attention… Puppies, khem, pee & poo. Everywhere. Puppies bite, chew shoes and sofa corners. Hrr…
But then they grow up and become mature, loyal and true best friends. (Un)fortunately, there is quite some time for a puppy to grow up. And during this time it’s essential to help them develop to well-trained and social dogs. I think it’s way more tricky than it may sound. Agree?
Harvey is 3 years old now and when I brought him home I knew almost nothing about how to raise the dog. Well, I attended some prep for doggo classes (great thing!), read a few random books and got tons of information from our amazing breeder. But to be honest, it wasn’t enough…
I was too weak and ‘oh my god, my puppy is sad!’ kind of owner, so Harvey grew up to be spoiled & hyper-active dog. It took me months & months of hard work to train him to behave the way he was supposed to behave when he was 4 or 5 months old.
Mistakes happen. We make them happen. The positive side is that we can learn from them and share those lessons learnt with others. This post briefly covers the 3 biggest mistakes I made while raising Harvey. I have a new puppy now – baby Oli and I promise to all of you to do my best and do not repeat them. Follow my lead, folks, maybe this will help you too?
Mistake #1. Too little knowledge about puppies
Yes, dear friends, the wisdom is there, you just need to find it, absorb it and practice it. There are so many great books about puppies: how to train them, how they develop, how to nurture their personalities at the same time while drawing the lines… Oh dog, why I wasn’t so into them before I got Harvey? I put my favorite books in a blog post, trust me, they are must read for all – current and to be – dog pawrents.
Mistake #2. Too soft on potty training
In general, being soft was my biggest issue. ‘Oh no, he must be so cold, no walkie for you today!’ or ‘oh, he’s so hungry, I’ll make the food accessible 24/7’ or even worse – ‘But he’s crying, I must ACT NOW!’. Noooo, why would I do this? BE TOUGH, ŪLA. Puppies eyes are extremely hard to resist but trust me, now I know – it’s for yours and your puppie’s sake.
So. Potty training. The most popular myth (which the trainers deny!) is that iggies are impossible to fully potty train. I trusted that and then I was thinking ‘but it’s no big deal if he pees here or there as long as it’s on a pee pad’. Nooo, Ūla, whyy?! Though it eases things for a human, pee pads are the first step to a huge problem in the future. Yep, Harvey had peeing problem until he was more that 2 years old. It was simply too hard to switch his understanding that he must do his business outside. No exceptions.
Mistake #3. Too soft on crate training
Same topic of being too sensitive and caring. FALSE. Crate is the best and the safest place for any dog. I started working on crate training on the first days when Harvey arrived (there is a lot of info on a correct methods in books, check my blog post mentioned in #1). Yet, I wasn’t too persistent and once I started leaving him alone in a closed crate for 10 minutes and extending this time slowly, I saw him mourning and crying on a home camera, it was breaking my heart.
After a few days I knew we’re done and that Harvey has won – no more training to stay in a closed crate. That was a huge mistake. After a few years, we were advised by professional dog trainers to start all over again. This helps to cope with separation anxiety, home wrecking, even peeing at home. It took us quite a while to train him to sleep in there during the night time and use it as a safe spot. It could have been way less if I was persistent enough.
That is it! 3 biggest mistakes I promised myself not to repeat with my baby Oli. And you know what? It’s been more that 2 weeks with him and…
- Oli already (almost) loves his crate and we start leaving him in that crate for a short periods of time.
- There are no pee pads at home. I do not let him out of my sight during the day time and take him out approx. 7 times a day. Quick night peeing outside is a thing too. I am very proud of myself as I live in 4th floor with no elevator J
- And I am applying a lot of practices learnt by reading books. Suggest to do the same! They are usually way better than personal experience – training is a very sensitive thing, try to gain as many information from different angles as possible.
Good luck with your journey!
I’d love to hear what mistakes would you name as the biggest ones. Keen to share? Comment below or tag @harvoola in Instagram post/stories!