“Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Patience & Dogs

British statesman and two-time prime minister, it’s likely Disraeli had a completely different audience in mind, but this works for dog parents as well.  It’s all about patience.  And consistency.  And kindness.  Puppy growing pains aren’t restricted to the very young.  Any dog entering a new home starts from scratch.  Here’s a little help to make the learning curve a bit easier for both of you.

Give Your Dog a Place

Decide where your pup’s safe spot is, and then honor it.  Bad things don’t follow Henry to his place.  Sure, we have dog beds here and there throughout the house, and the window seat has room for all four beagles.  But when I say, “Place!”  the wee dogs all run to their respective crates, hop inside and wait for their treat.  And there’s always a treat.  Every. Single. Time.  The result?  The crate is a happy place, kind of like your bed when you sink down in at the end of the day.  Complete with fluffy blankets and a favorite toy, the crate provides a respite for everyone.  Promptly at 9:00 pm every night, Sunshine checks the clock on the family room wall and stands halfway between me and the door to go out.  Back inside, all four pups race for their crates and wait for their cookies.  And that brings me to my second tip.

Routine Rules

Unlike us, the beagles aren’t craving change.  They like routine.  They know when they hear my footsteps on the steps at 6:00 am, I’ll be in our family room to wish them a good morning and let them out after I brush my teeth.

Tails are wagging, eyes are bright and everyone is raring to go.  The girls wait to get their collars on, and for little brother Henry.  We all spoil him a bit, and without really realizing it, I trained Henry to hug before he’d stand for his collar.  From his first day here, almost a year ago, I’d pick him up and

breathe in that puppy smell from his soft, downy neck.  And now, at 25 pounds, he still expects it, and I still do it, because we both like it.

Regular routines make your dog feel secure because they know exactly what to do.  Feel free to mix it up and walk and play in different places.  Meet new people and try new things.  But keep a few routines that they know and love as part of the day.  It makes life for both of you so much easier.

Train Together

In real life classes.  YouTube videos.  Books.  And blogs.  If you’d like to train your dog, there is no shortage of information available.  Personally, I like learning in person with my dog by my side.  All of my dogs have basic obedience training, but we didn’t stop there.  Two of my girls are certified therapy dogs.  One is training in nose work, and I’m currently looking at a local schedule for Redfern Canines to see what Henry the wonder pup will try next.  I’m considering Outdoor Adventures as that sounds like it could be fun for both of us.

The point is, both you and your dog will be happier if everyone knows the ground rules upfront, like walking on a loose lead.  And learning to sit.  And coming when called.  And how to play nice with other people and other dogs.  Start small, and start local.  And remember, old dogs can learn new skills, they just need someone to show them how.

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