A new puppy this holiday season sounds like an amazing time. After all, who doesn’t love making memories and taking holiday-themed pictures with a puppy? But puppies are curious little fluffs and often lets their curiosity and urge to play get the best of them. Puppy training is essential to keep your dogs and your holiday decorations safe! But where do you begin?
Puppy-Proof Your Home
If your pup is new to your house, it may be best to keep them away from the Christmas Tree all together. If they’re still getting used to their new home, that means they’ll likely get into everything they can, so elevating your tree may not be enough. Unless you have time to monitor your new puppy 24/7, we at Doggy Brace recommend putting up baby gates or closing the door to keep your dog away from the tree.
Stabilize the Tree
If your dog is used to your home, but is new to the concept of Christmas, you can try stabilizing your tree during their puppy training. This will keep your pup from knocking it over and hurting themselves. Get a sturdy tree base and make sure your tree isn’t leaning. If it’s a fake tree, try weighing down the stand at the bottom.
Puppy Training Method One: Distractions
There isn’t a right way to train a puppy. It all depends on the dog, the amount of time you have, and your level of patience. We’re going to take you through a couple of training methods that should work for you and your pup. The first one is a distraction technique.
Pro: It teaches the dog a specific word that tells them they need to walk away from a specific object.
Con: They may expect treats and use the word as an excuse to get more.
Step one: If you notice your dog approaching the tree, get their attention with a treat or hand wave. Say “away,” or your chosen training word, and toss a treat or their favorite toy away from the tree.
Your dog should be distracted by the treat or toy and should leave the tree alone. Repetition is the key to this trick. Eventually, your dog should associate the word “away” with them moving away from an object that caught their eye.
Step two: If the toss doesn’t work, you can lure the dog to another area of the house with a toy. As you’re walking them away from the tree, say “away” or your chosen word.
Step three: Repeat! It might take a couple of days, but your dog will learn. Be patient and use repetition.
Step four: Rewards! When your dog successfully turns away from the tree without the use of toys or treats, be sure to reward them with pets, praise, and love. This will reinforce the behavior so they know to expect good things after it, even if it’s not a treat.
Puppy Training Method Two: Leave It
A common training concept is to teach your dog to “leave it.” Here’s how you can train them.
Step one: Show your dog that you have a treat in your hand and tell them to “leave it.” When your dog tries to jump for the treat, tell them “no,” and have them sit down. Show them the treat again and then say “leave it.”
Step two: Repeat step one until your dog stops lunging for the treat.
Step three: Reward your dog with the treat for sitting and staying.
Step four: Move the treat to the floor in front of the tree or holiday decoration and tell your dog to “leave it.” This will help them associate the holiday decoration with an area they don’t have permission to go near without your consent.
Step five: Once your dog leaves it successfully, take the treat and move it closer to them. Tell them to “leave it.” If they do, pick up the treat and give it to them.
This method allows your dog to understand that when you say “leave it,” they need to sit and wait until you give them permission to do something else. It can be applied all over the house, from their toys, to your personal belongings.
Holiday Decorations to Avoid
If you have a puppy or a new rescue dog, you shouldn’t bring these holiday decorations into your home until your dog is trained. Avoid:
- Plushies (dogs may think they’re toys)
- Metal hooks
- Glass ornaments
- Exposed wiring
- Long decorative table runs
- Strings of popcorn
- Open candy canes (toxic to dogs)
Puppy Training Don’ts
Training a puppy requires patience and repetition. Dogs respond better to rewards than reprimands. You’ll want them to associate good behavior with good treatment, and bad behavior with being ignored or yelled at. That being said, you should never try to hurt or scare your dog if they’re doing something bad. Your dog will not be able to associate the negativity directly with what they did wrong.
If you want more training tips, we have blogs for that! Check out how to train your dog to wear a brace here!