If you have not seen my incessant posting yet, we recently added a third member to the Allen family. He has four paws, pointy ears, a happy tail, and his name is Henry the german shepherd.
Andrew and I have wanted a dog since before we even got married. Of course being in college that was not going to happen, but toward the beginning of April of this year, we found a one-year-old german shepherd up for adoption at a shelter near us. We waited a little over a week just to hear that our application was denied.
In the disappointment and commitment to finally getting a pup, we stumbled on a breeder 45 minutes south of us who had just posted a litter. She told us they were first come, first serve, and that one or two families were already making their way to her farm. We grabbed some sandwiches for the road, and hopped in the car.
After sitting in a room swarmed by puppies, it came down to two well-tempered pups –– Henry and his sweet sister. Henry latched onto Andrew’s side, so that was our winner. We have had him for about two weeks, and he is already close to listening to basic commands, and going potty outside. Now we are working on walking and crate training…one may be better than another, but we will get there!
Henry likes to cuddle, run, and learn to squeak his tennis balls. He is not so fond of cardboard, vacuums, or going potty in the rain. Overall, he has been a huge morale booster in these confined and uncertain times.
Before you read on, I am no expert on dogs or puppies. I always had dogs growing up, and in high school, I worked at our local pet store. I have some background in puppy training, and we have had little Henry for about two weeks now! Below I am sharing what has worked and is working for our pup!
I will attach links to all of the following items. Most of these links are general items you can find on Amazon, at your local pet store, or Walmart. However, there are a few items on a separate website called Sleepy Cotton (ethically made leashes, shampoos, etc) where you can enter CASSIDY10 at checkout for 10% off your order.
Day-one Basic Needs
More than likely, your pup is not going to tell you when they need to go out. Not right away anyway. In fact, they will probably tend to pee in the same corner IF you let them. When you babysit, you do not take your eyes off of the kids, so do not take your eyes off of your puppy. Because the second you look away, they are going to pee on the floor. Here are a few things that helped us with the potty training process:
- Take your pup out every 30 minutes or so.
- After your pup eats/drinks, it probably will not take long for things to move through their system, so take them out within 10 minutes.
- **Bring a single kibble or a small training treat outside with you when you take the pup out. After he/she relieves themselves, immediately give them a treat and praise them for going outside.
- Do not punish them for going potty in the house. Instead, take the pup outside to familiarize them with the process.
** Indicates a crucial step in the process, and how we trained Henry in just one week!
Other helpful tips may be:
This part is the most difficult emotionally, in my opinion. When we first got Henry, our crate had not yet arrived. To keep an eye on him and make sure he got outside right away if he needed, we blew up an air mattress and slept on our living room floor.
Once he finally got the crate, we let him familiarize in it for a few days, getting acquainted with walking in on his own. We were lucky enough to have him do so right away.
Then after the second night of having it, we shut him in it. He was not a fan. Henry whined and cried so loud, I am sure your pup will too, but you can not cave. If you let your dog out when he/she whines/cries, they will learn that they can get what they want by whining.
After night two of sleeping in the crate, we tested running errands and leaving him home in the crate. We tested with about a 20 minute window on day one, and about an hour on day two. He did not have any accidents, although he did wine as we left.
An important aspect to remember about crate training is to not treat the crate like a punishment. Your dog is not going to learn through punishment, but positive reinforcement. The purpose of crate training is to each your pup that the crate is their bed, home, and place to get some space. This article explains the den-like natural instinct of dogs, underlining the importance of crate training your puppy.
Teaching them their name
One question I received about puppies was how to quickly teach the pup their name. When we picked up Henry, his name was actually Jimmy. Fortunately, at only eight weeks, most pups do not yet know their names, and now we have a Henry.
Really the only trick I have as far as name-learning goes is repetition. Always address your doggo by his/her name…
“Henry. Good boy, Henry.”
“Henry, do you want to eat, Henry?”
It feels silly to type out how to talk to a dog, but I know we all talk to our pets in our worst puppy voices. Our little Henry is finally learning his name, so just be patient and keep repeating!
Most puppy teeth start to grow in around four weeks old. By eight to ten weeks, pups act pretty agitated due to their teeth growing in. Then by 14-30 weeks, your pups teeth will begin to fall out and replaced with their adult teeth. So between those stages of four to thirty weeks, your pup may be extra irritable.
Here are a few toys we have researched for teething…P.S. They worked with Henry!
Our favorite is the Puppy Triple Pack by Nylabone. It comes with an edible bone, a tough bone, and a ribbed bone. The non-edible bones (usually rubber-like) are so so durable, and even better if dampened and put in the freezer.
Rinsing other rubber toys and freezing them is also a good solution for teething puppies. You can also let them play with/chew on large ice cubes (Henry loves them), but keep an eye out for choking-hazard-sized ice cubes.
Practice makes perfect! We are still working on the walking, but here are a few useful tools (pictured right).
- A lead
- A harness
Both prevent pulling and help control eager pups. The lead is not a muzzle. The pressure on the nose is helpful for control, but does not prevent your dog from opening his/her mouth!
If you do not want a lead/harness, or do not yet have one, try holding your pup’s leash like this (pictured below):
other useful tips
Inside accidents are bound to happen, so having old towels on hand is great. They are also good for your dog to use as a blanket since he/she is likely to chew on it anyway. Henry likes to play with his. We usually leave a towel by the door for rainy days, and wiping off wet or dirty paws and fur.
Some very kind friends of ours shipped us a box of Super Chewer toys, which prompted a subscription to Bark Box. Henry will now receive a box of toys and treats once a month for as long as we would like for only a small fee. The toys are quality, versatile, and custom to your pup’s needs. Head to my Instagram and browse the “Henry” highlight to see some of the box’s contents. Click here to subscribe your a pup to their own Bark Box!
Overall, your best tactics for training your puppy are going to be consistency and patience. Remember that your pup is not going to learn overnight, and it may get frustrating. But keep at it! An obedient dog is not formed overnight, or by bad puppy habits. Do the hard work at a young age for the best, loyal adult dog results!