3 Easy Steps to a Happy Puppy
Now as we all know, I love a pretty dog leash, luxury bed, or ornate dog food tin just as much as the next person…Ok MORE than the next person. But being the owner of a Border Collie I am also one to know that you can have all the pretty fluffy things in the world but without mental stimulation your puppy will go bananas. Never fear, Pretty Fluffy is here! (That sounded alot better in my head – oh well…)
Now most people get told by their breeder, rescue center or local vet what to feed their new puppy, when to vaccinate, and to walk their new bundle of joy 1-2 times per day. What a lot of people don’t get told is your puppy needs educational stimulation to keep their little brain active just as much as their daily romp in the park.
Step 1 – Enrol in Puppy Pre-school. This one’s a no brainer. Puppy pre-school teaches your dog valuable skills like socialisation with other dogs, basic commands such as sit, stay and come, as well as calming techniques when they get over excited. And for owners there’s the added benefit of learning housetraining tips, and basic training skills. Your local vet should be able to point you in the direction of a reputable Puppy school. Don’t feel bad about checking out a few options – this is going to be one of the most important experiences for your little puppy, so choose a preschool that you’re comfortable with.
Step 2 – Turn some Tricks. Now we’ve all heard of the saying ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ Well actually you can, but when they are a young pup it’s much easier – their little puppy brains are just like sponges ready to soak up something new. Start with the basics of sit, drop, stay and come and then you can move on to harder ones. It’s basic enough for a young puppy and all you need is your pup’s favourite treats as a reward and a spare 5 minutes a day. Any longer and you’ll probably loose their attention to a passing squirrel, sound of a bird chirping, their own tail….don’t worry – it’s what puppies do.
Step 3 – Play to Learn. Did you know that dogs can learn up to 50 words in any language? I’m not kidding myself that Soda is going to one day trot off and enroll in Harvard, however I know keeping her mind active makes for one happy pooch. So in between your chew toys, and oh so cute stuffed puppy toys leave some room for a few ‘educational’ numbers. Here are some of my Pretty Fluffy faves…
1. ABC Plush Blocks with squeakers from Muttspace. Teach your dog his A-B-C’s with these gorgeous plush blocks.
2. Puzzle Plush Cagey Cube from Cheengoo. Just like the retro Tupperware children’s toy, this cube encourages your dog to develop their puzzle solving skills by removing the shapes from inside.
3. Canine Styles Hide a Squirrel. Help satisfy your pup’s natural instinct to search, stalk and capture prey with no real squirrels harmed.
4. Brick Puzzle by Nip and Bones. This game really tests your dogs ability to search and problem solve in a bid to find their treaty reward. With a range of difficulty settings it can take them from puppy to adult.
Disclaimer: These toys do not make your dog smart enough to write a daily blog entry. In fact given the chance your dog will probably just lay down and sleep on top of the laptop.
How smart do you think your dog is? Smarter than a 5th grader?
What training tips do you have for a new puppy owner?