Stella will be 9 months old (wait, how did that happen so fast?!) on May 10th so, I decided to share what it’s been like trying to train Stella for the first 9 months. Training Stella has been QUITE the journey and I thought instead of what I usually see on blogs where people share all of their perfect training methods for the perfectly well behaved pups, I would share Stella and I’s *journey* of training her.
The Puppy Training Handbook by Kaelin Munkelwitz
I read this book when I got Stella and it has ton of great tips and can help you do a ton of training at home! Also, I watched her YouTube videos which were very helpful!
I got Stella when I was living in a second floor apartment and that made potty training quite difficult, so I started out using puppy pads…this was a fatal flaw. If I could have had the yard I have now I NEVER would have gotten them, because I think that it significantly slowed down our progress with potty training.
What worked best for us was about every 2 hours I would take Stella outside to go potty and when she did go potty I would give her a treat every single time. If she had an accident in the house I would still bring her outside to go potty. What I think helped make this the most consistent was when I got Stella this 16 ft. Flexi leash and treat container that attaches right to the leash, it’s great because I never forgot Stella’s treats again and this gave her more room to explore and find the “perfect” spot!
Stella is now 8 months old and I take her out as soon as I wake up in the morning, and then about every 3 hours during the day, and then right before I go to bed. Until she was about 6 months old she couldn’t make it through the night and I would take her out around 3am every night to go potty or whenever she would wake me up. Thank God she almost always sleeps through the night now!
The other thing I did with Stella that has made a huge difference to me was taking her to training lessons. We completed beginners puppy training in the beginning of January, which was SO helpful. The social interaction with other puppies was great and she really improved with a lot of behaviors. It was also great to have a resource to ask questions about concerns or other behaviors. We had completed 4/6 of the intermediate classes before the ended because of everything going on with the coronavirus. These classes were helpful but if you were considering whether or not it was worth it to just go to puppy training classes it definitely was! The training classes I took her to were at PetSmart and I really liked them!
A few of the skills that I have found supernal to train Stella with are the follwoing:
1 – Sitting to put her harness/leash on. When she sees me grab her leash she will immediately go to the door and sit, because she loves going outside and she knows that I won’t put her leash on until she sits. I put her harness on in the same way and she is great at letting me put it on her. She wears it all the time so I think her just being used to it really helps. Also, the harness she has been using since she was about 4 months old has been amazing. It’s the Gooby Choke Free Comfort X Soft Harness.
2 – Sitting when greeting people, this skill is definitely a work in progress, she was doing great at this for a while, but now that she really hasn’t been seeing much of anyone new she has definitely gotten out of the practice of doing this.