Saturday, February 11, 2017

Training a puppy

It has been one week since we brought Rooney home. It has been a busy week. I forgot how much work a puppy is. After all, it has been almost 14 years since Gracie was a puppy, and I think I blocked her training from my head. I really don't remember house training her. This time around, I did a lot of research before he arrived so I was very prepared.

My research involved reading puppy books, researching how to train a puppy on the internet, and watching you tube videos. The you tube videos actually were (and still are)  a wealth of information. I watched how to bell train, how to crate train, how to stop a puppy from crying in the crate, and how to do sit, stay, and paw.
For the first three days, I cleaned up a lot of poop.  I couldn't get a handle on when he had to go. And he was such a fast little bugger, that I couldn't catch him in time. He didn't have too many pee pee accidents. I was able to stay ahead of that, and as long as I took him out every hour - he didn't have any accidents.
By day four, I was able to finally manage the poop situation and I had somewhat figured out his routine.

In addition, I also am using a clicker. A clicker is just a tool that you use for training. Basically, every time the dog does the desired behavior - you click and then treat him. I like using it because it is consistent. And he got so used to hearing the click - that now when he is going potty, he looks at me and expects to hear the click and get his treat. I also use the clicker for basic training like sit, stay, etc. It is a very effective tool.

One of the most useful things I learned was how to teach the puppy to ring the bell. Basically we hang a bell on the door and every time I take him out, I have him nose the bell or paw at it. And then we go out to go potty. After 5 straight days of doing it consistently - he is ringing the bell to go outside. I have to admit - it is the cutest thing to watch him do it. 

The crate training is going well. He sleeps through the night. The first couple nights, he whined for a few minutes, but then he settled down. Sometimes, when he needs some downtime, we put him in the crate and he naps. My goal was for him to like the crate and not put up a fuss when he has to go in it. So far, so good.

All in all it has been a good week. Unless you want to count the snow we have received. House training is hard work -  but if you add in cold weather and a foot of snow - that makes it slightly more challenging. But, we are getting through it.

So far, Rooney seems like a very relaxed dog. He and Gracie are getting along. He does try to play with her - and if she gets annoyed, she give him a little bark and then he backs down. I actually caught them on the rug together yesterday taking in some sunshine that was streaming through the door.  So they must be taking a liking to each other.

He also likes slippers and shoes. Sometimes he just naps right next to my slippers. And sometimes he tries to eat them. He is a puppy, after all. He can't be all perfect.  Although, he is almost perfection in my eyes. I am completely in love with the little guy.

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