01. Help! - Getting Started

posted Aug 16, 2011, 10:21 AM by Alder Brittanys   [ updated Dec 31, 2011, 3:41 PM ]
    So you brought your new puppy home and just realized you have no idea what to do with it.  There's no reason to be overwhelmed.  You have years before you'll need all that equipment and knowledge.  Plus, at this age you're way smarter and probably faster than your puppy.  Your pup is just a baby and, although you start training from day one, most of the lessons are easy (and free) at this stage.  
     My priorities for a puppy are house breaking and crate training.  If you're unsure about house breaking and crate training The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete is the bible:
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Raising-Puppy-Monks-Skete/dp/0316578398
     The important things this book offers include the importance of crate training your puppy from day one, vigilance in housebreaking and taking the time to get your puppy started right.
     Keep in mind, though, that their goal is an extremely obedient dog which isn't going to make for a good gun dog so don't overdo it with their obedience training methods if you plan to hunt your dog.
     Once you've got housebreaking started, you can start working on a recall for a few minutes with treats but don't scold if the pup doesn't come - just ignore him.  
    I also like to make a pup wait to eat until I release him.  If you're going to do this, though, you have to do it every single time you feed.  At first you're just holding the pup until you give the release command.  After a month or so you'll be able to let go for a second before you give the command.  A month after that the pup will be waiting as long as you want.  If you do nothing other than housebreaking, crate training, working on a recall and making the pup wait to eat for the first six months, you'll be well ahead of the game.