General Structure & Setup
When raising puppies it is important that we manage them properly in order to set them up to succeed and ensure they learn and rehearse desirable behaviours. This in combination with obedience training and appropriate stimulation ultimately prevents the development of problem behaviours such as barking, jumping, attention seeking behaviours, separation anxiety, OCD behaviours, destructive behaviours etc.
Therefore, having a suitable set up from the day you bring your puppy home, is essential. This includes a sturdy and secure play pen, a crate, frequent access to outside to toilet, appropriate chews and toys, and a light lead and collar for when roaming the house. Of course teaching a reliable level of obedience training is essential as well, but please refer to our blog “Obedience Training, Why Bother?” for further information on this.
Whenever you are unable to supervise your puppy for more than 30 seconds, he needs to be secured in a playpen or in the yard. Yes this includes times like going to the bathroom, having a quick shower or getting the mail.
If puppies have too much freedom and access to the entire house, they are likely to find inappropriate ways to amuse themselves. If we are not there to prevent them from doing this, they are ultimately likely to find it self-rewarding as they generally have a good time chewing things, foraging in the bin etc.
Additionally, if your puppy has too much freedom and lack of supervision you are not there to give the puppy feedback for the behaviours he is offering and therefore you cannot teach him how he is expected to behave. In the playpen your puppy cannot get up to any mischief or practice any undesirable behaviours.
Remember practice makes perfect and therefore the more opportunity your puppy has to make mistakes and chew things he shouldn’t, steal food from the coffee table, toilet where he shouldn’t and jump on the couch, the more these behaviours will become imbedded and learned to be normal.