A couple weeks ago I was faced with a new challenge in my life, but one that was well worth it. My girlfriend and I decided to get a puppy! We named him Ace, and he sure has been a handful. And while we both love him and would do it all over again given the chance, it has been difficult training Ace. The biggest difficulties; potty training and trying to get him to sleep through the night. I will go over both goals, and the little steps we are taking to achieve these goals.
First, potty training. Ace is 8 weeks old now, and our vet told us not to expect any real progress on the potty training issue until about 10 weeks. However, Ace has already learned to run to the door and whine when he needs to pee or poop! There were two little steps we took to achieve this difficult goal; punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. When he peed in the house, Ace was met with a soft smack in the face and some yelling, which he immediately hated. When he went to the door and peed outside, he got a treat. Now while this may sound fairly straightforward, there was one more little goal that was much more difficult. That goal was consistency. He needed to be scolded/praised EVERY TIME he peed (which, as puppy owners know, is all of the time). But we pushed through, scolded/praised consistently as we needed, and Ace is now close to potty trained.
The second biggest challenge, Ace has not mastered yet. I am writing this at 7am, since Ace woke me up about half an hour ago and won’t go back to sleep. The three simple steps I have been using to get Ace through the night is setting up a cozy atmosphere for him to sleep in, trying to wear him out throughout the day so that he is tired, and taking away his food at 7pm so he won’t need to pee or poop at night. For all puppy owners who don’t have roommates, ignoring the puppies night whining is also a great small goal, but I have two roommates who don’t want to hear Ace howling all night, so I cannot ignore him. These steps are all pretty simple, but consistency is again the key. Last night I forgot to take his food away before 9pm, and as I expected, he needed to pee and poop at 6am. Getting a puppy to sleep through the night takes time, but by following the three/four steps I listed above, it should cut down on training time.
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