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A daily routine for your puppy

Below is a suggested routine for your puppy. This is just advice, you can completely dismiss it or you can adapt it to suit your schedule and other responsibilities. I recommend you focus your first 6 weeks on targeting, calmness (including boundary training), socialisation, bonding and setting boundaries for appropriate behaviour. Obedience behaviours training can come later, this first bit is about building strong foundations to a confident & connected pup. 

Morning


Important for developing a pup who can generalise training to different environments.

First thing in the morning you'll need to take your puppy out to toilet. For the morning toiletting we recommend you take your dog onto different surfaces e.g. concrete, bark, grass, grates over bases of trees, fine gravel, tarmac, soil etc. When your dog is grown up and working as a therapy/assistance dog they might need to toilet on a variety of surfaces so it's good to get your dog used to this from a young age - you'd be amazed how many dogs I've met who will only toilet on grass then their poor owners are searching around the city to find some grass to toilet their dog! 


Socialisation

Important part of developing a confident and emotionally secure pup

I recommend you use your puppies breakfast as an opportunity to expose your dog to a variety of sounds. Simply play the sounds through a device/ turn on a noisy device (e.g. hoover) then chain hand feed your dog while the sound plays, stop the sound before the last 3 pieces of food then give the final 3 bits of food. 


Game - PUSH IT DOWN! 

Great for confidence building, optimism in the face of novelty and confidence in trial and error learning.

You need to be very careful though about what items you use as your puppy will be able to chew, choke and injure themselves more easily. Here's the link: https://vimeo.com/804125866


Midday

Vital for developing calmness, preventing anxiety & over exhaustion

Did you know puppies need A LOT of rest - like 17 to 20 hours a day?!  In the middle of the day, we recommend you giving your dog a period of active rest (from say 11am till 2pm) where your dog is placed in their crate, pen or bed. If your dog struggles with being alone this is also a great time for you to support your dog feeling comfortable settling. If you can, set aside some time to sit near your dog while they rest e.g. you on the sofa while they're in their pen so you're visible and close enough your dog feels safe and secure and is able to settle.


Lunch meal

Vital training technique for so many behaviours your dog will need in future.

I recommend you use your lunch meal to build a strong association with targeting for the first 2 weeks. Simply hold your target fingers/ target stick close to your dogs nose. Every time your dog touches the target, praise & feed 1 piece of kibble. After the first week you can move your hand slightly further away so your dog has to move to touch the target. 

Afternoon


Socialisation

Vital for creating emotionally stable, confident & optimistic dogs.

I highly recommend taking some time in the afternoon to socialise your dog to the world around them. Even if your dog is pre vaccination there is loads of socialisation you can do at home. For socialisation you just want to add different settings, objects, people, animals and smells to your dog at an intensity your dog is comfortable with. Let your dog explore the items at their own pace and if they wish, don't lure your dog towards them or move them closer to your dog. 

A few good items to start with are:

- toys with wheels (e.g. kids toy car)

- foil blanket

- umbrella

- mirror

- plastic bags

- you wearing different things like hats, camouflage, sun glasses etc.

Recall game

Great for proximity, recall & engage- disengage

For this recall game, you will need some food, kibble is fine or puppy friendly training treats.  You'll need your dog in their collar or harness but no lead for this.

1) sit beside your dog on the floor if possible or chair, holding their harness.

2) Toss 1 piece of food in front of your dog.

3) Say 'get it' and let go of your dog as they start to move towards the treat.

4) As soon as they've eaten the treat, give your recall cue (e.g. Pepsi come).

5) Once they reach you hold harness/collar and toss out the next treat & repeat the exercise. This should be a speedy game. The first few times you do this game you'll need to reward them with you but after 3 or so days of this game, stop rewarding the return, the reward for returning becomes being allowed to chase after the next treat.

Evening

Great for developing calmness, impulse control, preventing your dog from being destructive out of lack of guidance or boredom.

Your dogs evening meal is the perfect time to help promote calmness and value in their boundary. A boundary is a crate, raised bed or other similar item which your dog learns being in/ on, whether sitting, stood or lay down, is highly valuable for them... more valuable than jumping up at counters, stealing food, chewing furniture etc.  To start your boundary training, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Sit on the floor (or wheelchair) and place the boundary down.

Step 2: Drip feed your dog onto the boundary.

Step 3: Occasionally ask for a ‘break’ as you target/ point off the boundary (you can food follow if you wish).

Step 4: After each ‘break’ wait for your dog to get back on the boundary (no cues). As soon as they get back onto the boundary resume drip feeding.

Step 5: After at least 5 repetitions, at the point your dog is quickly getting back on the boundary automatically, pause rewarding when on the boundary until your dog offers a sit/lie down, then drip feed the sit/down on the boundary. 

At the end of the exercise, while we are still building the value in it, remove the boundary when you're not going to be focused on your dog or rewarding the boundary regularly. 

Night time


Take your puppy out to toilet one last time before heading to bed. Keep this last toiletting time calm & quiet then pop your dog to their bed. Especially when they're young puppies they might need to get up to toilet in the middle of the night. If they do, keep it calm and quiet when you take them out to toilet, keep them on lead then take straight back to bed. 

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