On today's episode, we're talking PUPPIES. I train a lot of puppies, and I talk to a lot of puppy owners. This is my list of 10 essentials that you need to know if you have a puppy, are getting a puppy, or will ever get a puppy. Essentially, everyone should listen.
First off, we're taking a look at puppy confidence and socialization. I'll share my experiences from observing puppies and owners out in the world and I'll pinpoint some common mistakes I see. We'll also get into the basics of exposure in puppy training, discussing the significance of introducing your puppies to the world and the any precautions to take. Next, we move into clickers and crates. We'll explore how these tools can enhance precision, build positive associations, and prevent mischief- all things important in puppyhood (and beyond).
But just you wait, that's not all. I'll also share how I reinforce "follow the leader" and how it can shape your puppy's behavior and teach them to stick around you- something that will lead to reliable off-leash skills.
You know the drill, grab yourself a tasty drink and enjoy.
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Hello and welcome back to the Everyday Trainer podcast. My name is Meg and I am a dog trainer. So on today's episode I'm running you through 10 pieces of puppy advice. So this is kind of the sequel to my previous puppy episode. I'm going to run through 10 things that you should know if you have a puppy or you're planning on getting a puppy. Everybody loves the puppy episode. I refer so many clients over to listen to that episode if they've gotten a pup. So you know the drill Grab yourself a tasty drink and meet us back here. Alright, hello, hello. It's been a little bit since I've done a solo-dolo podcast episode. So you know, bear with me as I might be a little bit awkward, but that's okay, we're doing it anyways, right? So I get so many listens. On my previous puppy episode and I was kind of going through listening to some old podcasts I actually did not listen to that one because I was like you know what I just want to go off of what I know now and that is kind of one of the things that I always thought about when I was doing the podcast is I was hesitant to do the podcast because I knew that my views on dog training would change, my knowledge would change and I was always scared to go back and listen to old web episodes and be like, oh my God, I sound so stupid. But you know, it's just one of those things that you really just have to put the information out there. You're always going to share information based on you know what I know at that point and if my knowledge changes, great, we love that. That means I've grown as a dog trainer. So I'm going to be very honest with you. I have no idea what I've talked about in that previous episode, but I'm going to share with you 10 kind of tips and little things, little nuggets of information that I share with the owners that I work with all the time. I train a lot of puppies. I actually really, really enjoy training puppies because I have talked about it previously but I'm not huge into obedience. I think that's definitely changed since I've gotten more involved in like bite sports and doing like fancy obedience with Lucy, my golden. I enjoy doing, you know, that sort of obedience. But for me, I really enjoy building confident dogs. Like that's kind of my jam. I get these like really insecure, fearful, reactive, maybe aggressive dogs and I teach them to not be that way. I'm very good at building confidence in dogs and I think people's, people's, people too. I think my trainers would say the same thing. So I just kind of wrote a quick little list of some things that I often talk to a lot of my owners about and I find myself repeating all the time and, you know, just had to share it with you all. But I wanted to also kind of check in and since I am, you know, solo on this episode, give you know anybody who is out there listening some life updates for myself, because I feel like I haven't done that in a bit and I, you know, I'm very appreciative of everybody who is here listening to me and, you know, supporting me, sending me messages and, you know, checking in on me. So this is kind of honestly like a personal diary of mine sometimes. So, yeah, kind of life updates. I'm recording this episode from the doghouse. We have a bunch of dogs at the house between boarding and boarding trains and you know I previously recorded an episode where I'm like we're done with boarding trains, we're not doing this. So I kind of wanted to, you know, explain where I'm at with things. So previously I talked about I was planning on taking the month of June off, so I blocked out my calendar for June. I was planning to, you know, go on a road trip. I got my new van this year and I was going to load up all of my dogs and take a road trip, visit a few people, visit dog trainers, and kind of just take some time off. Well, the universe said no, not this time, meg, and I actually broke two of my toes, like two days before I was supposed to leave. And it's funny because I had a friend that actually broke his toes and I was really making fun of him a lot because he was being such a big baby about it. And I think this is kind of my karma, because it has been the most inconvenient injury I've ever had. And if you know me, you know that I am like never wearing shoes and I've had to wear shoes every single day. Like as soon as I wake up I have to put shoes on because I kept re-breaking my toes. So, anyways, I was planning on taking the month of June off and literally two days before I was supposed to leave, I broke two of my toes and doing something stupid. I was literally walking out of the dog room and I looked back because the dog barked at me. I looked back at them and I tripped and I like, kicked a doorframe. We've all been there before where we kicked a doorframe and you're like oh, I think I broke my toe, but then you actually didn't. Well, I actually did and my whole foot swelled up the side of my foot and I broke my pinky toe and the second toe to my pinky toe and it has been so inconvenient. So for the first three weeks I really could not walk at all. I could not put any pressure on my foot and I was kind of feeling it out for the first couple of days. I was like you know what? I can still do this, I can still travel, and my plan was to make it over to the West Coast. I enjoy surfing. I haven't been on a surf trip in a really long time. Honestly, since my business has been as popping as it is, I haven't really taken a surf trip, and that's something that I'm very passionate about and I just don't get to do it anymore. So I was like you know what? I'm going to take the time I'm going to travel over to the West Coast, I'll do a surf trip up the coast of California and into Oregon and all of this and it'll be so great, so much fun. So broke my toe and I was like, all right, we're going to have to nix the surfing. I'm not going to be able to surf with broken toe. I couldn't even swim, you know whatever. So the first three weeks were just horrible. I had to wear shoes, which is like my least favorite thing in the whole world. But aside from that, I couldn't walk dogs as much I, you know, luckily didn't have any you know dogs booked for myself for that month. So I kind of took it as like, okay, this is the universe telling me that I just need to take a step back and kind of chill out a little bit. So I ended up canceling my trip and, you know, making myself completely busy over here doing lessons and I've hired some new trainers. So that is why we have board and trains back at the house is so that I can train those trainers and kind of you know not be walking around all the time, because with daily training it's a lot of walking and so, unfortunately, in dog training when you get injured you have to improvise. So I ended up having to take on some more board and trains over this month and last, well, just really kind of this previous month. So that's why you know you might be seeing a lot of dogs at my house currently. So we're still in the process of doing daily training. I have an awesome team of trainers here that are working with a ton of people in Orlando and I also have people over in Tampa. Sav is killing it over there with her clients and we're looking to kind of grow to Tampa as well, which is so freaking cool and honestly, just a dream come true, Like it's crazy, honestly, saying out loud, because, you know, six years ago I started my dog walking business and I never could have imagined that my business would be where it is today and I'm very, very grateful for all of that. So, yeah, I've been at the dog house the past, you know, two months training dogs and training people to train dogs, and it's no surprise to anybody who has listened to my podcast over the past probably I want to say six months that I definitely went through a phase of burnout, a thousand percent, and I have been at the dog house for a long time. And I've been at the dog house for a long time and I've been at the dog house for a long time took a step back away from my business not that I completely left it, but I was more just in this kind of managerial role overseeing things and that just did not work out for me and it definitely had a impact on my business that I was not super happy about and I ended up having to make a lot of changes, and you know I definitely have talked about that in some previous episodes as well. But I am very happy with how things are now. I really do have an amazing group of people working with me and we've been starting group classes up again. So if you're in Orlando and you wanna do group classes, we're gonna be having more of those here soon. I can't wait for it to cool off. It has been just completely just so, so, so hot here in Orlando. So once you know fall time hits and it cools off a little bit, ah, group classes are just gonna be amazing and daily training is gonna be amazing. So I'm very much looking forward to that. So, yeah, that's just kind of an update of me and my life and my business, and where we're at More exciting things is the store is gonna be back up and running here very soon. This is coming out on Friday, so probably within a week of this episode coming out, our store and leashes and everything is back in stock and we will no longer be fulfilling those orders. We will have a fulfillment center that does it for us. Running a store has been an entire other aspect of the business that I've been learning and making mistakes and losing people's orders. So I cannot wait until I am no longer responsible for fulfilling orders because I just feel like I keep making mistakes and you know this is just part of growing a business and, you know, entering new phases of growing a business. You know e-commerce is a whole other ballgame besides running an in-person dog training business. So I've definitely been learning as I go, but I'm very excited to have some help with that because I am definitely no professional as far as you know, running a store and fulfilling orders goes. You know we're also running a dog training business over here too. So that will be happening within the next week of this episode being released. So super pumped about that and our leashes are gonna be back in stock soon, very exciting. But I wanna go ahead and jump into this puppy stuff, puppy stuff. So I spend so much time working with and training puppies and I love training puppies because it is there's so much that we can do to prevent problem behaviors from ever even happening if we do things right in puppyhood. And I can sit at a coffee shop and watch puppy owners and they just are doing all of the wrong things and this is kind of my like PSA for you. If you have a puppy, this is what I would do with my puppy. So, to kind of give you an example, I was like sitting at a coffee shop earlier and it's what inspired me to, you know, do this episode. This person had a puppy and there was another dog out at the coffee shop and this person, you know, had their puppy on a leash, on a flatbuckle collar. They're pulling super hard. They let the puppy pull over to this other dog. They do an on leash, greeting the dog. The puppy gets super excited, starts playing with this other dog. The owner does the excited puppy oh my gosh, he's so cute. And then they give the puppy attention and then the puppy jumps up on the person and then they give them more attention and the whole time I'm just thinking, oh my gosh, I hate this interaction so much. Not necessarily that anything bad happened, but as a dog trainer I can look at that situation and go okay. So your puppy is learning very, very quickly to put pressure on the leash to pull wherever they want to go Okay. And they're learning that they can put pressure on the leash to pull to go greet another dog Okay. So every time they see another dog they're gonna get super pumped up and pull on the leash Okay. And then they're also learning that strangers are gonna be really squeaky and give them baby voices and lots of affection Okay. So we're doing all of these things that are wrong and it's not necessarily that person's fault. But I hope that this can kind of shed some light on maybe some things that you might be doing with your puppy, or maybe things that you accidentally did do with your puppy and prevent you from doing those things with your future puppies. So we'll get into number one create confident puppies and you'll avoid problems down the road. When I'm working with adult dogs with behavioral issues, a lot of their issues are stemming from insecurity. So whether their issues are reactivity, aggression, you know, just like lack of handler awareness, not focusing on you. A lot of that can come from a lack of confidence, and you hear people talk about build a confident puppy all the time, but what does that actually mean? So when I talk about building confidence in puppies, it's really about exposure, and I'm gonna talk about this at another point here in just a second. But exposure is really everything with puppies. If we can expose our puppies to all the things that they're gonna encounter later on in life, they're going to be a lot more confident than a dog who is just kind of sheltered. And one thing that I'm seeing a lot of with owners is vets are telling people to not take their puppies out at risk of them getting sick. Right, and I don't wanna say that they're wrong, because they're not necessarily wrong, but as far as my experience goes, I think not taking your puppy out the consequences of that far outweighs an illness, because personally I do not see young puppies getting sick from exposure. Training Puppies are getting sick from things like dog parks or doggy daycares, facilities like that, where there's a lot of dogs coming and going. That is where I see puppies getting sick. You're not gonna get your puppy sick for walking around the neighborhood or taking your puppy to a coffee shop or to a farmer's market Like that is just very, very rare, and the benefit of taking your puppy out when they're young, before they have all of their vaccines, far outweighs the risks, in my opinion. Now, do avoid overpopulated areas or areas where you know a lot of dogs are going to the bathroom. Avoid those places. We don't wanna take our puppies to those places because of that risk. And don't allow your puppy to play with dogs that you don't know or be around a lot of unvaccinated dogs, but that really is just not a huge risk factor that I see too much. So I would much rather have somebody take their puppy out as much as they can during that kind of imprinting stage, when they're just a couple months old, to build up that confidence around strangers and other dogs and roly carts or cars or the sound of a coffee grinder, like all of those things, are so, so important to expose our puppies to, because that's what life is. We're teaching this little furry creature how to live life with us successfully, and part of that is exposing them to the world. So I'm huge on taking puppies out everywhere. I wanna expose them to everything. I want them to be neutral to everything and I want to build up that confidence. That's how I do it. Another amazing way that I love to build up confident puppies is I love taking dogs hiking and letting them climb over branches and leaves and all sorts of different textures and walk over bridges. That is one of my favorite ways and that's something that I've done with all of my dogs and I have to say I'm very good at raising confident dogs. My dogs are overly confident. We definitely don't have an issue of confidence in this house at all, so I would always rather have a super confident dog that I have to reel in than have a more timid and secure dog that I have to build up. I think it's much better to have to reel a dog in and build a dog up, in my opinion. So number two proper nutrition matters. I cannot begin to explain to you the amount of dogs that come to me that are on Royal Canaan and I am a Royal Canaan hater and it should be no surprise if you read the bag, like just read the bag of Royal Canaan and tell me that you wanna keep feeding your dog that. But I think the big issue comes from owners just don't really know how to read their dog food bag and it's not necessarily like anybody's fault. We haven't really been taught dog nutrition but If you can get your dog on a really quality food Early on in puppyhood, I truly believe that that has a huge impact in their health throughout their life and everybody wants their dog to live forever. It starts with nutrition, I promise you, and if you can start young, if you can get them on a good food whether it's a higher quality kibble or getting them on fresh food or, you know, doing raw or homemade, raw, like Whatever that means to you and within your budget and what you're capable of doing, do that. I have a previous episode on nutrition when and we kind of walk through you know the the best types of food that you can give your dog. But basically it stems down to any chance that you can give your dog whole foods, like raw meat, or it doesn't even have to be raw, but just meat or veggies or you know, some fruits. Anytime we can give our dogs whole foods, that's better and it's the same for us. And when you eat like garbage, you feel like garbage. It's no different for our dogs. So if you can start your puppy off on Good food. It is going to, you know, have such an impact on their overall health throughout their life. So that is a big topic that I talk about with my owners and Just switching their food to get on a better quality kibble or a lot of smaller dog owners I can talk them into doing you know, pre-made raw because it's not gonna cost an arm or a leg. But ideal situation for me would be, if I have a puppy, I would want to get them on raw. I wasn't really able to do that with Minka, but she's still young. I want to get her switched over to raw as soon as I can. It's really been a time factor for me. I just haven't had the time to Dedicate to prepping their raw meals every week, which is something I used to do and would definitely like to get back into, and that with, like travel, has been kind of tough too. But just do whatever you can, whether that's you know kibble or fresh, or just you know sprinkling in some Blueberries or blending some veggies. There's always some toppers that you can add to make your dog's food more nutritious, all right. Number three overexpose and under socialize. So I talked about exposure training in you know point one, but overexpose. Take your puppy everywhere, expose them to all of the different environments. You can really not expose your dog too much. But what you can do is you can over socialize your dog. So I kind of use the terms, like I'll say, both socialize and exposure training. I'm trying to be better at saying exposure training instead of socialization, because a lot of times when we think of socialization we think of our dogs being friends with other dogs. That's not really what we want here. That's kind of what I'm talking about. So exposure training is exposing your dog to different environments, different, you know, being around people and Different types of dogs, different types of people, all that stuff. Socialization in the terms that most people think of is, you know, your puppy having friends With other puppies. That's not what we want. If anything, I want to be the source of all the good stuff for my puppy and, let's face it, you're never gonna be more rewarding than playing with another dog. So if you're allowing your puppy to play with other dogs all the time or taking them to Doggy daycare or dog parks, thinking that you're gonna create positive associations with other dogs and People, you are wrong. We want to focus on neutrality around these things. So avoid the dog parks, avoid the doggy daycares. This is not something that you want to put your puppy into, not just for you know, like risking them getting sick, but these, you know, structures keep dog trainers in business. So many people come to me and say I was just trying to socialize my puppy. I took them to a dog park and they ended up getting, you know, really scared and now they're timid and scared of other dogs. Or they ended up, you know, getting in a dog fight and now they're really scared of other dogs, or now they're reactive to other dogs. It's just never worth it and Kind of in the scenario that I brought about you know, earlier on, where this person is pulling their or their puppy is pulling this person over to Another dog and then pulling them over to this person and jumping up. That's what we don't want. I don't want my puppy and later adult dog to see another dog and feel the urge to greet them. Right. I want them to see another dog and be like huh, cool, another dog. You know, I want them to be neutral. There's no reason that our dog needs to be getting amped up every time they see another dog at this point. Everybody has a dog right. So like if your dog is getting amped up every, every time they see another dog because they anticipate Playing with them or greeting them, your dog's getting way too amped up all the time, and it's the same thing with people. So I always tell my owners do not let strangers pet your dog. Just say, hey, no, I'm sorry, we're training. Most people are very, very nice about it. But what happens when you have a puppy? Is you go out in public to do the exposure training like your dog trainer told you to do, and everybody's gonna come up and go, oh, can I pet? And they're one gonna initiate the whiny puppy voice. So what happens? Your puppy goes, oh my gosh, and they're gonna get super excited or they're gonna get anxious. And then that person is going to reach their hands down into your puppy's face and if your puppy likes it, they're gonna be like, oh my gosh, strangers are the best, I love other people. And they're gonna get super, super pumped up. And then that person is going to reward your dog for being super pumped up, for looking at them, or the other side of this. Your puppy's gonna get really anxious. They're not gonna like this person coming into their space, but the person's gonna come into their space anyways. What happens when we don't advocate for our nervous puppies is eventually they're gonna learn how to guard their own space because you haven't been advocating for them. So like for myself. I was a very shy child. I did not like to talk to strangers. I do not like to talk to people. And people would lean down and be like, oh, she's so cute and I would give them the death glare and my mom would say she doesn't really like talking to strangers so much and people would be like, okay, and they would take a step back and I'd be like, perfect, right. But if my mom said, oh yeah, go ahead, hug her, hug her. I would have zero trust in my mother and I would probably learn to have an even stinkier face so that nobody would come up to me as a child. So that's kind of what happens with nervous pups is, you know, we think we're doing something good for them. We're like, oh, I'm creating a positive association to strangers, right, I want my puppy to be social, I want them to like people. So I'm gonna let as many people come up to my puppy as possible and I'm gonna let them, pet them. So if you have that anxious dog, your puppy's gonna learn. All right, I'm gonna start looking out for my space, I'm gonna start growling and keeping these people away, or I'm gonna get super, super pumped up every single time I see a stranger. And then that can lead to this kind of like excitement, reactivity, where your dog sees another person or they see another dog and they start barking and going ballistic and then you either give into it and you reinforce that behavior, you continue to reinforce this over excited behavior, or you teach your puppy to pay attention to you and that all the good stuff comes from you instead and we just we're kind of an asshole and we tell people no, I'm sorry, you can't pet my puppy, I'm training, and you don't have to be a jerk about it. You can literally just say, hey, no, we're actually training. Thank you so much for asking. I am always extremely courteous when people either approach my dogs or ask if they can pet my puppy, because at the end of the day, people just don't know, like if you're in the dog training community or you're a dog trainer or you're a dedicated owner. There's like this weird tendency for people to be like bitchy, as if like, oh, you don't know, like no, you can't pet my dog, you're not entitled to pet my dog, and it's like, yeah, they're not, but most people are not living in dog trainer world and that's like a very normal thing to walk up and pet dog. So I'm always very courteous whenever somebody does that and I've never had any issues with people. So just, I don't know, do what you can in that moment. If somebody's reaching down, just be like, oh, you just kind of put your hand out and be like, hey, no, I'm sorry, we're training, we're training here. And people are like, oh, okay, if they ask, I say, no, I'm sorry, we're training, but thank you so much for asking. And they're always like, oh, of course I would always ask. I love that. Let's reinforce that Positive reinforcement here. All right, so overexpose, under socialize, get your puppy out, expose them to the world, but don't allow them to socialize with every single dog and every single person that they come across. Got it Perfect, all right. Number four clickers are your best friend. You probably don't hear me talk about clickers too much, but I genuinely love using clickers with puppies and here's why it's a very clear sound for the puppy. I find that people when they're doing yes work, so yes and clicker are kind of the same. Yes equals. That was perfect. A piece of food is coming. We can use it as kind of like a positive redirection, right. So we teach the puppy that yes or a click equals food. So what happens when they hear that they're gonna come back to you and get that food reward? So we can use it to teach our puppy to come back to us and we will pay them. Now the reason why I like the clicker so much is because it's very precise and there's not a lot of emotion put behind it. So I'm really just kind of boiling this whole puppy training thing to a science, right, and I'm not gonna be saying yes, good job, yes, yes, yes, because that's what happens a lot when I tell people yes is our marker word. People use it way too much and they use it in this like overly excited way. I don't necessarily want that. I want kind of this like clear sound that means come back to me and get a reward, right. I don't want all of that added emotion that comes with it. So I use clickers to mark eye contact with puppies. That's one of the first things that I kind of do. I use clickers to redirect puppies back to me. So I'll let them kind of roam around and sniff and then I'll click, they come back to me, I reward and then I'll let them go free again. So I'm kind of reinforcing this like kind of sort of recall right. Like you hear the sound come back to me. So that's gonna be really valuable down the line. If I have a dog who's maybe fixating on another dog a little bit too much, I can click and that dog can come back to me and get that food reward. And they just inherently know oh, click means come back to my person, get a food reward. And this is also how I can build a positive association with the environment, right. So I can socialize or do some exposure training with my puppy. I take them to a coffee shop, I let them check out the environment. That's what we want. We want them to check out the environment. But I also wanna teach them check out the environment but always come back and check in with me. So they check out the environment, click, they come back. Food reward. I let them go kind of walk around, sniff, check things out, click, come back to me. So eventually the puppy checking in with me just becomes a habit and I have the added bonus of this loaded sound that I can use to mark behaviors that I wanna see more of. So I talked about marking eye contact. We can mark this sit. So as soon as your puppies as soon as your puppies butt touches the ground click. We mark that. The puppy goes oh, I did the thing. I'm gonna get the food right. So I really really love clickers for puppies. I used a clicker to train Minka and it's allowed me to have a lot of precision in my training without all of the extra emotions, which I think is big, especially when it comes to puppies. All right, number five use the crate more than you think. The crate is our tool for preventing problems. The crate, again, is gonna be your best friend. So we love clickers and we love the crate for puppies. Your puppy is gonna need to sleep a lot. The crate is the time for your puppy to do that. So how I like to structure puppies' lives is short active times out of the crate. I'm engaged with you. I'm focused on you 100%. If I'm not able to focus on you 100%, I'm putting you in the crate. So this does a few things it's ready for today from Minka-Nutton Iivicom. Teaches your puppy that you are valuable. So when they come out of the crate, they're not engaging with the environment, they're engaging with you. You're doing a training session with them, you're taking them for a walk, you're playing with them, you're hanging out with them, but your full attention should be on your puppy. When they are out of the crate, you should be doing something engaging with them. Now, this time out of the crate can be 15 minutes, it can be 30 minutes, it can be 45 minutes, but just make sure that time is productive and you're not just taking your puppy out and letting them roam around your house. Because guess what, if you don't see your puppy, just assume that they're doing something that you don't want them to do, like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes, peeing somewhere that you don't want them to. So the crate is how we designate downtime for our puppies, but it's also how we prevent them from doing things that we don't want them to do and train them to be the adult dogs that we want them to be. So, depending on how old your puppy is, you should be taking them out of the crate. Wow, words have been really difficult for me Taking them out of the crate every couple hours. If you have a fresh puppy, two months, three months old, you're going to be taking them out every two hours, immediately. Take them out, walk them over to where you want them to go potty. Say go potty, allow them to sniff in the grass, walk them around be a little bit boring because we want them to engage their nose to the ground. That's how we know that they're going to go potty and just kind of pace them around until they go. Whenever they go, good job good. And then we'll come back inside or you can hang out with them and do a training session. Come back inside, do a training session, play with them, hang out with them and then, whenever you're done, they go back into the crate. We'll toss in a handful of food so that the crate is always a good thing, and then your puppy has some downtime. Again, take them out a couple hours later. Go outside immediately, go potty. If your puppy does not go potty, put them back into the crate. Assume that if they don't go potty that they're going to have an accident somewhere. So have them go back into the crate. We'll take them out 15 minutes later, 30 minutes later, take them out to go potty again. Hopefully they go potty. Great, you can stay out a little bit longer now. We'll do a training session, we'll go for a walk, we'll engage, I'll play with you, we'll do something, but make sure that you are constantly supervising your puppy. Now when I say puppy, I'm really saying, you know, eight weeks old to a year old, you should have a lot of structure because if you can prevent problem behaviors from happening, you don't have to worry about you know correcting your dog all the time down the road. But what happens is we give our dogs way too much freedom, way too soon, and they pick up on all of these bad habits like going potty in the house or chewing on things or you know, just being destructive, or you know just getting into things that they shouldn't be getting into. That we should pre preventing them from getting into, and the crate is a great opportunity for that. It also teaches them that they have their own space, that you know this is your downtime, this is your space to go and relax. I compare it often when I'm explaining the crate to people to if you were super stressed at work and your boss said hey Meg, there's a dark, quiet room down the hallway. Why don't you go and relax? I would be like, fuck, yeah, I'm going to go take a nap. That's what we want to do for our puppies. Sometimes they don't always love it right? Crate training is not easy. It is not fun in the beginning. There's a lot of crying, but if you stick with it, it's going to be your dog's favorite place. We're never going to use it as a punishment. That's their designated space, is their little doggy meditation room. I want you to go in here relax. This is your designated downtime. Don't you wish you had that for yourself? So give your puppy that. One of the things that I see a lot of owners do is they're not creating their puppies enough and they're getting stressed out. They feel guilty. So I'm here to tell you you should probably be creating your puppy more than you think, just based on a lot of the owners that I work with. So if you find yourself getting really frustrated with your puppy or you're exhausted, just create them, because you being frustrated and you putting on all of those emotions to your puppy is not going to be helpful to literally anyone. So do everyone a favor toss some treats in the crate, put your puppy away and go take a breather. Puppyhood doesn't have to be stressful it really doesn't. You can make it easy for yourself, and that kind of gets into our next point. Puppyhood is about prevention, not corrections. So the biggest thing that I get with puppies is my puppy won't stop nipping me. They won't stop biting me. A lot of times that happens when your puppy is overtired, you're not giving them enough downtime, we're engaging with them for too long and they get feisty. So when that starts to happen, all right, I'm going to toss some food in the crate, we're going to have some downtime. So you're showing me that you're getting way too elevated. I'm going to put you in the crate. So when we give our puppies proper structure whether that's having them on a leash in the house or creating them, when we're not actively watching them or supervising them in the backyard when we give them the structures that they need, we're able to prevent them from developing problem behaviors. We're able to prevent them from, you know, accidents in the house or running away or digging in the yard, doing the things that I have to, you know, fix in adult dogs. People who come to me with adult dogs and they say, oh, my dog is, you know, a year old and still having accidents in the house. Or they dig in the backyard or they jump up on guests when guests come over. Well, if we put a leash on our puppy and we teach our puppy that they're going to be rewarded for sitting, we don't have to work through those things down the line. So everything is about preventing problem behaviors from ever even happening. We are not focused on correcting puppies. Puppy hood is about building confidence and preventing problems and that's not going to happen if you constantly are telling your puppy no and, you know, yelling at them or correcting them, whatever that may look like to you. That shouldn't be it. It's a baby. It's a literal baby. It's not their fault for doing things that are very natural to them, like chewing and, you know, going potty wherever they want. It's our job to teach them exactly what we want them to do through our structures. So if I want you to be calm and relaxed in the house, I'm going to put a leash on you. I'm going to prevent you from running around all wild. If I want you to be napping right now, I'm going to put you in the crate If I want you to sit when guests come over, I'm going to have a leash on you. I'm going to reward you for sitting when people come in the door. Little things like that really add up and shape the adult dog that you're going to have. Again, people have behavioral issues because they're not giving their puppies enough structure. So if we can give them a ton of structure early on, then we don't have to worry about correcting so much in adulthood. All right, we're at number seven. Create neutrality to people and dogs. This is a big one. I already talked about this, but I want to focus on neutrality. Think service dogs. Whenever we're training service dogs, a huge part of training a service dog is exposure training. And what are they wearing? Do not pet vests. There's a reason for that. We want our service dogs to just be neutral to walking past any type of person, to walking past any type of dog, because we want them focused on the handler. That is literally their job. So I believe that we should train all puppies like service dogs and teach our dogs that the handler is always going to be the most rewarding. So always focus on me, don't worry about that other person or that other dog. All the good stuff is going to come from me and when we can do this, we have dogs that are confident around other dogs and don't get too amped up or don't get too anxious or, you know, elevated I always talk about. Like the dogs that I get are just in this elevated state, whether it's excitement or anxiousness or fearfulness, and so my goal is kind of bring the dogs back down to this calm, neutral state, because our dogs make way better decisions in this calm, neutral state, and that starts in puppyhood. So even if you have friends you know be mindful of hey, I know I have a cute, adorable puppy, but we are working on training. So please, when you come over, just ignore my puppy until you know they get used to you, they're nice and neutral, and then you can say hi to them and then you can play with them, right. But if every single time you know our friends come over, there's going oh my gosh, puppy, I missed you so much, I love you so much, and getting down on the floor and getting them super excited, then what happens? We have a dog who gets super pumped up every time somebody walks into the house, and that's not what we want. We want neutrality over everything, and that especially happens with dogs and people. So please don't let your puppies approach other dogs Not good and don't let strangers pay your puppy. You're going to feel like a jerk sometimes, but it's 1000% going to be worth it, all right. Number eight play follow the leader while they're young, off leash starts. Now this I with puppies. I'm not going to lie. I don't really have them on leash that much. When they're really young, they just want to follow you everywhere. If you can reinforce that, you're going to have a dog who just wants to stick by you and who probably won't need a leash. This is kind of how I train my dogs. I don't have leashes on them when they're really young. What I do have is a treat pouch and every time my puppy comes over to me I give them a little piece of food. So they're walking around. I'll, you know, just kind of walk away from them. Whenever they come back I'm going to reward with food. That's kind of what we want. We want our puppy to just naturally follow our lead. Sometimes we try a little bit too hard with recall and he becomes this game right. So I just did training with Lucy. I took her to bite work today and she definitely has it in her. She can definitely bite, but she's the type of dog where if I try to get her to like something too much, she's like I don't like it, just because you're trying to push this on me, I don't want it right. So sometimes we kind of do that with like recall with puppies is everybody's like recall is the most important command. I'm not arguing with that. Sure, we can go with that. But what I want is a dog that just naturally checks in with me. So I'm kind of free shaping a dog that wants to follow me and stick with me by. You know, when they do, I'm just rewarding. I'm not recalling them, I'm not, you know, making noises, I'm just kind of walking around my yard or, you know, pacing around the house and whenever they come over to me I'm just going to reward with food. I just want to reward the dog for following my lead at a young age, because when it comes to off leash in adulthood it's going to really carry over and you're going to have a dog who just wants to stick around you. Number nine now is not the time for tricks, so I kind of talk about, you know, right now. Our goal with puppies is creating confidence, right, so exposing them to as many stuff as possible that is really your goal. It's not the time for trick training. It's not the time for paw. If you want to start obedience, great, start some obedience, but don't worry so much about things like paw or roll over Every single phone call that I have, every single phone call that I have I'm not exaggerating. They all go the exact same. I've been doing this for a long time now. I've been doing phone calls for many, many years. I talk to many, many people every single week. Every single phone call goes the exact same way. Hi, this is Meg with the everyday trainer. I'm just calling to talk with you a little bit more about your dog and how we can help you with training. Hi, so I have a really awesome dog. They're super great. They know sit, they know down, they know paw, they know stay, but and then they go into all of the behavioral issues that their dog has. So this tells me that obedience training and trick training is not the solution to our problems, right, yes, it's great, but at the end of the day, it's just this random little skill that your dog or puppy can do and if you're not like applying it to real world situations, it's not really going to be valuable. So what everybody does is they put a piece of food in their hand and they say sit, sit, sit, sit, and then, whenever their dog sit, they go good, and then they reward. So what we're doing is we're teaching your puppy that they only have to listen when you have a piece of food in your hand, because visual cues are always going to come before, like auditory cues, so your puppy's always going to see your hand first. They're not really listening to that sit. Now, if they are listening to that sit, they're learning that you're going to say it about five times before they actually have to do it. So people will be like, oh, he knows it, but he doesn't want to listen right now, and it's like, well, try doing it without the food in your hand. Oh, well, they, he won't do that, right? Because you've accidentally conditioned your dog to you. Holding a piece of food up means now do this action instead of the verbal cue, right? So I think that we can really mess up obedience training and trick training with our puppies. So I encourage my owners to stop talking so much and to stop worrying about obedience. Because of that it's really easy to mess up and down the road. You can literally teach, sit and down in like one day, but if you don't have a confident dog like, none of that is going to matter. So focus on confidence first and then you can, you know, do the trick training or do obedience training down the line, but you really like you don't need obedience to have a well-trained dog. Zoe is a perfect angel. She's just a very you know confident dog because I raised her in college. I took her everywhere with me, I exposed her to everything. I basically trained her like how I would a service dog and because of that she's extremely confident. She trusts my guidance, she trusts me. Is she the most obedient? No, but that's not really what we emphasized. She's neutral, she's confident and that's what I like. And down the line, when she was like seven years old, I finally taught her paw right. So you can always do that stuff later on. What you can't do is you can't go back to that imprinting stage and reteach your puppy how to be confident. But if your puppy is confident and you have some sort of you know reward system, you can always train obedience and you can always train for tricks and it's going to be coming from this confident dog instead of an insecure dog that we're trying to like bribe into doing a sit right. Okay, I hope that makes sense. All right, number 10, we're wrapping things up now. There's no need to get frustrated, but if you do, it's okay. Just take a deep breath and create your puppy. I tell owners this all the time. If you find yourself getting frustrated with your puppy, you're giving them too much freedom. It is a baby. You wouldn't get frustrated with a baby for doing something right, because they're a baby. They don't know what they need to be doing. They don't know that. We don't want them to like poop on themselves, right. It's the same thing with our puppies, but I think with animals it's a little bit different because they're so. They're so like active, right, like a human baby is just kind of this like mushy little baby, like they can't really do anything. They can't get up and walk, right. But with baby animals they can walk and they can eat things and put things in their mouth and go and do stuff, but at the end of the day they're just a baby and our goal with raising a dog is to teach our dog how to successfully live and coexist with us in our lives, our very human lives. Because, let's face it, how we live with our dogs is not natural. It is not natural to them. So pooping and peeing wherever they want, that's natural. Barking, that's natural. We're going against nature when we're raising our dogs to not do these things. So it's our job to understand that and it's our job to give them enough structure so that they're not doing the things that we don't want them to do, so that we don't have to get frustrated with them. So when you find yourself getting frustrated, ask yourself what would I want my puppy to be doing right now anyways, if they just chewed my favorite shoes, and I'm furious, oh my gosh, this sucks. I just bought those shoes right, cost me 150 bucks. Whatever You're getting frustrated, what would you rather your puppy be doing instead of chewing your shoes? Hanging out with you Great, put them on leash. Sleeping Great, put them in the crate. So use your frustration as an indicator for where you need to improve in your training, because, at the end of the day, you're the human and you need to be the calm, confident leader that your puppy needs. And if you're constantly getting frustrated because you're not giving your puppy enough leadership and enough guidance. That is on you. So make your life easier. Get your puppy set up on a crate schedule, put them on a leash when they're in the house, give them the structure, give them the guidance, give them everything that they need and set them up for success so that you are not getting frustrated and putting your own emotions on your puppy. Now I say this do I get frustrated with puppies sometimes? And dogs? A thousand percent, yes, but I've been doing this long enough that I know well one. I don't really like to give power away to dogs or people. So I kind of I feel like, if I allow a dog to let me get frustrated, or if I allow a person to let me get frustrated, I'm kind of giving my power away to them. Right, I'm saying you, you have control over my emotions. Now, that's just a little puppy. That little puppy shouldn't have control over your emotions. You're an adult human being. You should have control over your emotions. So don't give the puppies your power. Make sure that you are the calm, confident leader. Act how you want your puppy to act, you know. Be mindful of your own emotions, our puppies and our dogs are little emotional sponges. They are little mirrors. They reflect everything back to us. I can meet a dog and I know exactly how the owner is. Truly, I know exactly how they are. The dogs do not lie, so there's no need to get frustrated, but if you do, it's okay. Just take a deep breath. All right, I'm going to go ahead and wrap it up there. I hope that you all have learned something from this, whether you have a puppy now or you're looking to get a puppy. Hopefully you know you do things a little bit differently than maybe you have in the past with this little little bit of information. So, just as a reminder for you, we will be opening up the store within the next week of this podcast being out. So today is July 21st, a week from now. I don't know that date, but that is when our leashes will be restocked and our store will be restocked, and I'm so excited for that. So if you've been wanting to buy a leash, you'll be able to purchase those. I'll, of course, be making lots of announcements. I do also still have my community. I am not going to lie, I have not been extremely active in it, but I have been making a ton of new content for it and I've actually been working with somebody who does membership communities. So one of my clients actually does like community work for brands and she's been really coaching me through how to make my community better. So that's something that I'll be working on and kind of share with you guys as that progresses, because my goal is to always provide as much as much content and information out there as possible. I spend a lot of time working with owners. I spend a lot of time training many, many dogs and it it feels like my duty and responsibility to share what I know. So I will continue doing that and, of course, keeping you up to date on my life and everything that goes on here at the doghouse. So, as always, thank you so, so, so, so much for being here. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave me a review. It genuinely means the world to me. It's good to know that I'm not just you know out there talking to nobody. So please go leave a review If you like the podcast. If you don't, please, please don't. Anyways, thank you guys so much for being here. I will see you all next week.