4 Things to Consider Before Teaching Your Dog to Lay Down

dog training boston urban hound

This post originally appeared on the website of our Master Trainer, Nick Miller. For more of Nick’s daily training insights, visit nicktmiller.com

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The Minimalist Puppy Owner

dog training boston urban hound

This post originally appeared on the website of our Master Trainer, Nick Miller. For more of Nick’s daily training insights, visit nicktmiller.com

You have a new puppy! Congratulations!

You will now be told by countless companies how much of their puppy stuff you and your puppy need.

Now listen, I’m not here to say don’t go out and buy your puppy tons of new, fun toys and gizmos and gadgets (whatever wags your tail) but I would like to break down what your puppy needs to it’s simplest form.

And why.

Crate

Your puppy needs a crate. If you are interested in your house not being a toilet for your puppy you need a crate. If you are interested in having the flexibility to travel with your dog and being able to leave him in a safe, confined area when you are not there to supervise him, you need a crate.

Puppies do not come hardwired with the understanding of how we would like them to behave in our home. They come hardwired for exploration and discovery. Which often involves their mouth and teeth. And if they need to go potty while they are exploring, so be it.

Puppies also need lots of sleep. The crate is a great way of setting up specific down time for your puppy. The crate also helps your puppy not to teach himself  how to behave in the house when you’re not around. We want to be there to shape their experience and training, and the crate is the perfect babysitter for when we are not there.

Leash

Your puppy needs a leash. I know your 12 week old puppy follows you beautifully down the sidewalk without a leash, but come back to me in 8 weeks and let’s see if he still thinks you are the most interesting thing in his world. It’s not personal, the world is just an exciting place, and without a leash to train your puppy he will happily train himself (and you, most likely, while he is at it).

The leash is also a great tool for inside the house puppy management. A puppy that is still learning how to nicely greet visitors will benefit from you using the leash as a tool to help enhance your communication.

Even (especially) when he is over-excited.

The puppy that steals a sock and then runs under a bed will be much easier to manage if we simply have a leash that we can grab to defuse the situation. There will be times when we need to leave the room and we don’t want to crate our dog, but still can’t trust him with the run of the house. The leash as a tool to briefly tether the puppy is the perfect option.

Toy

Note, I did not say toys. I said toy.

Again, this is for the minimalist at heart, so (honestly) feel free to meet me in the middle.

However, I guarantee you that a puppy with 50 toys that are always available to him will tire more quickly of all those toys then the puppy with one toy that is brought out with excitement and used as a way to engage with their owner.

A squeaky toy is great because it can help to motivate your puppy and get her excited on a walk. That same toy can be used to play retrieve with your puppy when it’s too cold or hot to play outside.

Toys are fun. Get your puppy a toy.


Now for goodness sake, get your puppy a comfy bed and some high quality food and treats and a cute new collar and whatever the heck you want.

I’m not trying to be a joy kill.

But remember that what your puppy needs most is engagement, companionship, fresh air, socialization, training, communication, love, respect and 1,000 other things that money can’t buy.

And no one can market those things to you.

That is what makes it unique to you and your puppy.