Dog Training for Families

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This post is sponsored by K9 Resorts. We at ABQ Mom partner with businesses that bring value to our readers.

Puppies are a delight.

Few things are more rewarding in life than holding and playing with a puppy that is yours! To help that delightful puppy become a great dog and lifetime partner, I have several suggestions. Puppy parents must be strategic—great dogs are built not bred. These ideas will provide a framework for a happy puppy partner for your family.

Engage them.

Dogs have been bred to be our partners for thousands of years. Their work is to help us lead productive, fulfilled lives. The first skill is to center that puppy brain on you. Some breeds do it more naturally than others but all need training. The simplest way is to make mealtime into lesson time.

Take their kibble, put it in a training bag or any bag, and give it to your pup one nugget at a time when they look at you. Say “yes” when they gaze your way and reward with a treat. Especially with hungry puppies, this does magic for getting them to learn that good things come from you.

Once they attend to you—all other training follows more easily. My dogs are always watching me to see what I am doing and what I might want them to do—come, hunt, relax. We are great partners.

No dog parks.

Puppies do not belong in dog parks. I have seen it too many times. A timid new puppy is brought into a pack of dog park dogs and they rush the pup, making him or her defensive and submissive. Often they must even be aggressive to defend themselves against the group. A better way is to arrange managed play dates with a friend’s or neighbor’s friendly animals.

Often training together is a lot of fun. I brought my pups to train on birds with my bird dog buddies. The dogs are generally more interested in working than socializing so the pup can be introduced slowly.

Never allow your puppies contact with other dogs until their last Parvo booster (usually around 7 months).

Crate Training

Pups love their crates if introduced correctly. Teach them that their crate is a safe space. Particularly if you have young children, a crate can be a haven for a dog whose young owners want to play too much.

Crate training goes along with not giving your dog access to the whole house 24/7. If you allow this, you allow puppies the opportunity to chew many shoes, furniture, and a rug or two. When you are not around to manage them, they should be in a crate or a run outside. A safe, contained place is good for the pup and your whole family.

Don’t allow your dog in your bed!

Many will disagree with me on this idea. But I think there are many negatives to this. It sets your puppy up for separation anxiety because they never learn to be alone. You are not their litter mate; you are their boss, and this line helps tell the dog’s brain that you are in charge. Our dogs do not sleep with us, not even in the room, because according to sleep experts, it puts us on alert, and we sleep less deeply.

A parallel situation that my wife Laurie and I have with our dogs is that she allows them on her lap. Whenever she sits on a couch, it is a bit comical to watch two 40-pound Brittany Spaniels compete for her lap. Laurie loves the attention and the warmth. The tradeoff is that they listen to Laurie about 75% and me 98%. I prefer the safety and respect of my dogs. They need structure and respond positively to it.

Give your pups a schedule.

It makes potty training easier and faster and builds happy dogs. They want cues about how they should act. A training schedule like this will help train them quickly.

● Wake up
● Dog out of crate to yard or short walk to pee and poop
● Feed and water (good time to train as suggested earlier)
● Out again
● Crate them—go to work, run errands, etc.
● Inside for 3-4 hours
● Out of crate to pee and poop
● Back in crate
● Food and water
● Out again
● Play and train
● Crate
● Out once more before bedtime

If your dog knows that they will have regular opportunities to do their business, they will be more likely to hold it. Dogs should know that if they have been kenneled for a while that when you return, within 5-15 minutes that they will get a potty and play break.

At K9 Resort, it is amazing how quickly most of our dogs learn our schedule which allows them scheduled time to potty, eat, play, and rest. Within a couple of days, most dogs calmly take to our schedule and participate happily.

It boils down to building structure for your family pup.

Besides affection, food, and water, they want work. My dogs hunt. Every walk or run is a hunting adventure. If you are not into hunting, training and obedience can be your pup’s work. If you strategize early in their life, you will build a lifetime partner for your whole family.

Here are some resources I recommend:

You Tubers:

McCann Dog Training
Upstate Canine Academy

Tik Tok:

Leaderofthepacklv
Taylorcezanne

In ABQ for puppies, Arie’s Dogland is well regarded. We have multiple K9 dog parents who report positively about their experience with Arie.

About Our Sponsor

K9 Resort is a state-of-the-art facility that provides world-class care and accommodation to their guests. It is owned locally by Lindsey and Laurie Gilbert. Their facility is split to reduce the number of guests in one area. This helps to reduce stress levels in your pets. They have been rated as the top pet care franchise in the nation and are internationally recognized for their luxury accommodations, state-of-the-art facilities, flawless customer service, and their loving staff.

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