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Friday, February 27, 2009

When can I leave my puppy loose in the house and yard?

If there are two words that don't go together in dog training, it is "Loose" and "Puppy". I believe this is where owners get into a lot of trouble. Puppies need to be confined in safe areas till they are mature enough to venture out into the rest of the house and yard. Have the puppy restricted into a puppy safe area to ensure the safety of your home, landscaping and patio furniture. If you give a young puppy too much freedom at an early age, chances are he will get into tons of mischief. Puppies get in trouble just when you least expect it. I usually hear my clients say, " I just ran upstairs for a minute!". A minute is all a puppy needs to find himself in trouble. If you are going to take your eyes off the puppy for anything, he MUST be confined.

Owning a puppy is a big responsibility and I am sorry, but that is just the way it is. If you had a 1 yr old child, you wouldn't take your eyes off him unless he was in the crib or a playpen. The same holds true for a puppy. Now, some pups are a little more low key that others, but if you want to ensure success, keep him safe. You will have 10+ yrs with your dog, this is a small price to pay in the beginning to mold your puppy into a model citizen. Puppies do not have hands and in their quest to conquer, they put everything in their mouths. They smell it and taste it. Supervised trips, on a leash, to the rest of the house is needed to familiarize the puppy with his surroundings. However, you cannot and should not give your young puppy any credit.

Your house in the eyes of a young dog is the equivalent of Disneyland to a small child. Puppies have to earn freedom, that way it tastes better. You run the risk of your puppy jumping on counters and tables, chewing on furniture, sorting the laundry, eating your shoes, chewing children's toys, getting in the garbage, chewing wires and cords, and sending you into bouts of frustration. Some of these items can be VERY dangerous to a pup and his digestive tract, not to mention the cost of the ruined items. So, my advice is as follows: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Don't feel guilty confining your dog! You will feel worse if he gets hurt, slips and drowns in the pool or digs under the gate and runs away.

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