Froot week 3 - What has he learned so far?

Froot

Froot has been with me for exactly 3 weeks today, and we’re hitting the life skills hard. These skills might not be what you have in mind when training your own dog, and they are commonly overlooked by people. The problem is, these are critical skills that make living with your puppy and your dog much easier down the line. 

It’s no use having a puppy that can sit, down, or stay but doesn’t know how to act in your home. A puppy that is out of control, hyper, or obnoxious. By the first few weeks your new puppy should be well on their way to learning how to exist peacefully in your home. 

 

So what has Froot been working on?

Our quality of life is pretty much back to how it was before Froot came into the picture. Last week he got his second round of shots, which makes it much safer to take him out and about, although he is not fully vaccinated so we are still careful where we go. However I do not have to carry him as much, which means that he’s learning that much more about the world. 

If I have to leave the house, he is ok being alone for short periods of time, an hour or so, which means that now I have freedom to do basic things again such as grocery shop. His bladder control has only gotten better so there are no more late night trips outside needed, and he also has learned to stand by the door to go out to tell me he has to potty. This isn’t to say he can/will hold it if I miss his cue, but he does cue me and has a level of understanding to do so. 

His interactions with the dogs are also something to take note of. He does want to play with them, but he is no longer quite as obnoxious and annoying as he was. He stops and tries to think about how to get the girls to play with him, and both of them are beginning to reward him with play when he asks politely. 

Playing with me is also going well, he is currently learning how to target toys better and bite them instead of me. The nipping is also much less and he is making an effort not to nip me. On the other hand, when he does nip and is getting overexcited that’s also my cue that it’s nap time! 

Breaking down his skills

Currently I would consider Froot to be pretty proficient in these skills:

  • Where to potty and how to ask to go out
  • Going into his crate
  • Coming out of his crate when cued and not rushing the door
  • Not being a jerk to the adults to get them to play
  • Has average recall in the home and yard
  • Not normally nipping hands, fingers, shoes, pants, or clothes
  • Not jumping up for attention
  • Able to be alone in the crate for shorter durations (1-1.5 hours)
  • Is quiet in the crate
  • Sleeping through the night
  • Mostly stays out of the kitchen (only dog free zone of the house)
  • No nuisance behaviors like excessive whining, barking, or howling
  • Rides peacefully in the van
  • Has rudimentary impulse control
  • Releasing toys when asked
  • Staying out of my feet when I walk

Things we're still working on

  • Socialization
  • Crate training as a tool in training
  • Recalls
  • Handling for grooming 
  • Attempted thievery the other dogs have toys
  • Strengthening our communication system
  • Acclimation and tolerance to gear like collars or harnesses

Prioritizing life skills is key for harmony

Puppy blues can be pretty much completely avoided if we address and focus on the things that make people stressed in the first place. For me this is ensuring that we’ve got our life skills going strong so that Froot will be able to be actually integrated into the family. I’m not going to have to be training him how to be calm and also trying to teach him obedience. I won’t be struggling to manage his stress levels during training due to high stress in the crate. I won’t have to deal with separation issues or destructive behaviors. I won’t be having to fix relationships between himself and my adult dogs, or fight for his attention when they’re involved. 

All of this means that when it comes to training all the other skills I will have a blank slate that is as ready as can be. Ready for me to write his new skills onto without me having to battle against other habits or roadblocks.