Did you just bring home a new dog? First of all, congratulations! Second of all, everyone at PetFlow is incredibly jealous! Or maybe you’re just thinking about getting a new dog and want to know some basics to make the transition easier for both you and your new best friend. Either way, PetFlow and Zak George are here to teach you one of the most important and overlooked steps of dog training – controlling your dog’s environment. You might gawk at some of things Zak suggests as being too hands-on or unnecessary. However, after several months of consistently using these techniques, your dog will completely understand the boundaries in which you have set out for her.
Getting Started on Controlling Your Dogs Environment:
As you probably know, dogs are super smart, but they also take their cues from us. Your new dog will be looking to you for clear directions and guidance. Every time I add a new four-legged member to my family, I always use a 4-6 foot leash and a carabiner to attach the leash to his belt loop. Not only does this prevent your dog from testing out the giant chew toy, aka your couch, but it also allows you to closely observe your dog. Eventually, you and your dog will really become attached at the hip!
Easing into Freedom:
After several weeks or even months of keeping your dog attached to you as you go about your day, you can slowly introduce freedom by letting her off the leash for short periods of time. This is not an invitation to go out for coffee and leave your dog unsupervised and out of a crate for 20 minutes. But, a few minutes off the leash while still under supervision, and your dog will begin to understand that the same boundaries you set for her using the leash still apply while she’s off the leash.
Mistakes Happen – But Don’t Give Up:
One of the pet parents here at PetFlow experienced a huge lapse when she stopped controlling her dog’s environment too quickly. Rather than leaving her puppy in a crate or puppy play pen, the boundaries were taken away too soon and she arrived home to a destroyed bed comforter. After reinstating the leash for several more weeks both she and her new dog were completely comfortable with the boundaries put in place.
Remember to take things slow; your dog is curious, smart and wants to explore the world. Giving your dog too much freedom too quickly will undoubtedly lead to a relapse. All you can do once this happens is take a step back in training, and re-enlist the help of the trusted leash.
If you’re looking for more great training tips, check out my training page filled with videos, training essentials, or grab my new book!