puppy playpen

Puppy gear - what do you really need?

Bringing home your new puppy? Here are the things you’ll find invaluable - and also what you need to avoid - to rear your puppy successfully | FREE PUPPY GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #puppycollar, #puppybed | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

.. and what you really don’t need to waste your money on

You’re getting your new puppy any minute - exciting! You’re looking forward to enjoying quiet nights, a nice clean home, happy laughing children playing with the puppy.

But is it possible you’re underestimating the amount of work involved in rearing this new fluffball? Are you perhaps anxious about “not getting it right”, and turning your house into a war zone where nobody gets any sleep and everything is chewed up?

Let’s plump for the first image - a happy home with the addition of a much-loved puppy. A bit of planning is needed to make this all work. You could go to a pet store and come out with hundreds of pounds’ worth of stuff - much of which will be useless to you.

But hey, I’ve been there before - many times! I’ve had many new puppies of my own to care for, and plenty of students’ puppies too. So I can show you how to get what you need to make this run as smoothly as possible, and avoid cluttering the place up with unnecessary purchases that get destroyed in short order.

It’s pointless, for instance, buying a smart expensive bed for your puppy till you know his chewing proclivities. Some pups chew, some don’t at all. Some are piranhas, some just suck and love their beds to death. Use any old blankets or towels you happen to have around to make a cosy nest. You can get a beautiful bed when you know it won’t be shredded.

Like fencing a field for your new livestock - you soon get to know what you are up against in terms of the escapability quotient of the boundary and the crushing strength of your puppy’s jaws. Till then, make sure that boundaries are stronger than you think, and watch carefully when you give your puppy anything to chew.

Get your free Guide to all the Puppy Gear you’ll need

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Download your free Guide to Puppy Gear and eliminate all this worry. It shows you just what you need - and what you don’t need.

Also check out these posts - which give you the inside track on how to use this kit:

Errorless Housetraining

How to use a puppy playpen

You’ll see from the Guide that the right sort of crate is essential to the whole system. Don’t get a soft crate. That fabric and zip will last 0 minutes if your puppy is an escapologist and tries to fight his way out. Start with a robust, good-quality crate with a metal pan, that will last for donkey’s years, and he’ll never even try to dig an escape tunnel. If you teach him kindly to love his crate, of course, he’ll never want to escape!

Bringing home your new puppy? Don’t make costly mistakes when shopping - ere are the things you’ll need - and also what you need to avoid - to rear your puppy successfully | FREE PUPPY GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #puppycollar, #puppybed | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

The same goes for toys. You can buy one specially for your new puppy, but the children may enjoy donating one of their old soft toys as a welcome gift. The local charity shop is where my supply of bears and monkeys come from. If it’s safe for a baby, it should be safe for your puppy. 

You’ll need a soft easily-adjustable collar to carry your puppy’s id disc. He may be microchipped, but you want to make it easy for anyone who finds him to return him to you fast. And I’d recommend using a body harness from the start so your puppy never learns to pull into a collar and choke himself.

Just as your children go through growth stages and need larger and possibly tougher clothing that fits, so your puppy will go through a few harnesses on his way to full maturity. This is an item that needs to fit snugly and safely, so don’t try to save money on this. If your puppy slips out of his collar or harness and ends up under a car you’ll see it was a false economy.

And skip the retractable lead - this article shows you all the horrors and dangers of one.

If you follow the Guide to Puppy Gear you’ll know you’re doing your best for your new companion while avoiding the mistakes that could cost you money. If you don’t get the right stuff to help you, you may end up with chewed furniture, wet carpets, a crying puppy, and no sleep - not a happy outcome!

Let’s get you started so that you have speedy housetraining, easy puppy compliance, and no chewing; quiet nights, nice clean home, and happy laughing children playing with your new puppy!

 

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Dog trainers and parents know the value of a playpen

Dog trainers as well as parents know the value of keeping your new puppy safe - from electrical wires, other dogs in the house - and keeping them safe from your puppy! Along with children, cats, and grannies | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #dogsandcats | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Many parents will know the joys of being able to park their crawler in a playpen from time to time and know that they’ll stay safe.

Puppies need to be protected from many of the same dangers as babies. 

But there’s someone that needs to be protected from the puppy!  And that’s your older dog.

Your older dog didn’t choose to get a puppy - you did. 

His opinion hasn’t been asked. There he is, enjoying his peaceful home, when suddenly a ball of fluff and teeth arrives and he is expected to be an unpaid childminder.

Quite soon the pup is ruling the roost. Your faithful older dog is jumped on and chewed mercilessly whenever the pup is awake. If he tells the pup off he gets told off himself. He can’t win.

Don’t abandon your old friend!

Your first dog needs to know that he is still special and has his own life. And a great way to ensure this is by using the playpen.

When it’s time for the pup to wake up and emerge from her crate, you’ll be taking her to the garden, on her own. So once peeing is done, the dogs may like to have a quick game together. Interrupt it as soon as it starts getting rough (even after two minutes if necessary) and divert them to something else - a game with you, perhaps. 

A doggy playpen has endless uses, on holidays and visiting friends as well as at home: read the post to get some ideas of what kind of puppy playpen you want, and how to use it for your new puppy and older dogs | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #puppyplaypen, #dogsandcats | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Now is a good time for the pup to go into her playpen, with loads of things to chew and interact with (cardboard boxes, food toy, soft toys, plastic bottles, chews, bones …) while you get on with your work and Dog no.1 gets a break. 

And perhaps some personal time with you.

Not just dogs

The cat is safe from molestation as well, and I don’t have to shriek or grab the puppy to prevent disaster. 

You can zigzag it and divide a whole room, as I have in the puppy pictures on this page. 

I found this most useful - my puppy could be loose in the kitchen with me, the adult dogs could enjoy the freedom of going out to the garden or into the house and into the living room, and could see and interact with me. 

Oh, and if you pop the puppy into her pen when she’s still very young, she’ll never realise that jumping out is an option!

A doggy playpen has endless uses, on holidays and visiting friends as well as at home: read the post to get some ideas of what kind of puppy playpen you want, and how to use it for your new puppy and older dogs | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #puppyplaypen, #dogsandcats | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

You can get great pet playpens cheaply. The one I use is tall enough to be stable if a taller pup stands up with her paws against it. It has a door. It can be any shape from a hexagon to a rectangle or more creative shapes to fit between or around your furniture. It can be used indoors and out. It doubles as a barrier at an open door.

My puppy playpen also does service as a “balcony” when we’re camping in the van, so I can have the doors wide open and know the dogs aren't going to fall off a cliff. 

 

Resistance

So it seems strange to me that some people should resist using a playpen for their pup. Some don’t want to spend the (small) money for something they think they’ll only use for a few months. But that is a false economy! It will save you so much bother and moaning at your puppy. Your relationship could be damaged, and for what? 

I’ve used my playpen extensively even though my youngest “pup” is now 4. It really has paid for itself over and over again.

Everyone happy! (Especially Squeak the Cat …)

 

Check out this article for more ideas on containment, with a free guide to download. 

 

 

 

 

New Puppy? First teach her how to learn!

Puppy, New puppy, Puppy training, Choosing a puppy | Teach your puppy how to LEARN and make life easier for both of you | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppytraining | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

The minute you get your new puppy - she is learning! She's like a sponge, soaking up experiences, processing them, discovering the outcome, and learning whether that thing was good or bad.

So whether you like it or not your puppy is learning every moment she’s awake, and processing that learning while she’s asleep. 

What does that mean for you?

It means that you need to grab this opportunity and teach your puppy as much as possible while she’s in this absorbent, influenceable, state. Once she hits adolescence she’ll be developing ideas of her own, and they may not accord with what you’d like in your family dog!

Now, I’m not suggesting drills and route-marches, "don’t don’t don’t", and some kind of puppy bootcamp! 

If you focus on teaching your puppy how to learn, adding things like sits and downs are a snap

When’s the right age to start?

Get your free email course to find lots of ways to teach your puppy how to learn

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In days mercifully gone by (mostly), puppies were given no training at all until six months or so. They were considered too soft to take the punitive methods then popular (and happily becoming less and less popular now). Of course they were! They were babies! But the good news is that there’s no need to use punitive methods at any age. In fact, they’re counterproductive.

These early weeks of your pup’s new life with you are, in fact, the best time of all to teach her how to learn.

What do I mean by that?

Instead of focussing on “commands”, “obedience”, and fighting the puppy’s “stubbornness”, focus instead on teaching her that being around you is good, being in your home is good, being with your family is good. And you do this by simply rewarding everything she does which you like! There isn’t any need for “No!” or “Stop that” or “Get down” or any of the other things that new puppy owners think they have to do to establish superiority. 

You don’t need to establish superiority! The puppy knows which side her bread is buttered, and all she needs is kindness and patience while she works out what has a good outcome and what has no outcome worth pursuing.

And to harness this great learning skill, you simply

Reward what you like
Ignore what you don’t like
and Manage what you can’t ignore

Rewards are anything the puppy finds rewarding - play, cuddles, laughter, tasty treats, dinner, toys, running, chews, garden - etc. Ensure that every action you like is marked and rewarded, and your youngster will soon learn to repeat the things that earn her a reward and not bother with the things that don’t.

 

Check out my new online Puppy Training Course 

teaching new dog and puppy owners to achieve lasting results through six weeks of dog-friendly coaching

 

Never say NO

There isn’t a place for NO in training babies, of any species. Love and encouragement are what works. But to ensure that you aren’t chasing round after a puppy trying to divert his attention from the electric cables and your favourite dining chair legs you need to set up a safe environment for your pup. 

I like to use crates and playpens or babygates to make a safe area with plenty of chew toys. You want to have the puppy always in the same room as you so you can monitor what he’s up to. Then when you’re busy you can pop him in his crate for some much needed sleep and processing time while you get on with the rest of your life without having to worry about what the pup is doing. And when he’s with you, loose, you can watch him exploring his environment without having to do any “No” or “Ah-ah” because you’re there to divert him if a sniff looks as though it’s going to turn into a nibble.

In general, let your puppy explore everything. Don’t be curbing his enthusiasm for the world he now lives in. While we explore our surroundings largely with our eyes, and babies with their hands and mouth, puppies work largely with their nose and mouth. Let him! You can intervene and distract if necessary, but people are often surprised how little it is necessary if they can simply pay attention to their roving puppy and provide him with plenty of chewables in his playpen or crate.

A cat may look at a king!


Look to your puppy’s physical needs

Puppy, New puppy, Puppy training, Choosing a puppy | Teach your puppy how to LEARN and make life easier for both of you | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppytraining | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is much the same for dogs as for people.

If you cater for all your pup’s physical needs - shelter, security, food, sleep, exercise, warmth - you’ll then be free to work on her higher needs - companionship, love, self-confidence, and self-fulfilment. Everyone knows that continually nagging and chiding a child will destroy his self-confidence, and we naturally tend to encourage children in their efforts. Puppies are the same! Continual nagging and telling off will damage your puppy’s confidence in her coping abilities, which will seriously affect her ability to learn without second-guessing, fear, and anxiety.

Alongside all this is the necessity for appropriate socialisation. This does not mean thrusting your puppy into the face of every dog you see, or handing him round to strangers to touch. What it does mean is slowly and gently exposing your puppy to all the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells, of our world, and ensuring that all experiences are good ones.


What you expect is what you get

If you think that inviting a puppy into your home is inevitably going to lead to destroyed furniture, soggy carpets, scratched and bitten hands and arms, shredded clothes, and all the rest, then maybe that’s what you’ll get. 

If, on the other hand, you prepare well, supervise your puppy at all times - inside and outside the house - and work with rewards and patience, you’re setting yourself up for a life of harmony with a dog who knows how to please you, knows her boundaries, and is happy to learn whatever you ask her to. 

For an example of how this learning takes place, have a look at this article which gives you a simple recipe to follow to get the results you want - whatever you’re teaching. 

And if you want to know a bit more about the nuts and bolts of Learning Theory in dogs - exhaustively researched and proven over the last 100 or so years - see this piece by the marvellous animal trainer Bob Bailey. There was never any room for sentiment in Bob’s work, training animals and birds for astonishing wartime feats to change the course of history. His work, which guided much of what enlightened dog trainers do today, was based totally in science. 

We want our pups to grow up confident and ready to learn, able to manage new things and new experiences. Excise NO from your vocabulary and you’ll be making a great start!


For lots of force-free methods for changing our puppy’s behaviour to what we want, check out this free email course.

For lots of force-free methods for changing our puppy’s behaviour to what we want, check out this free email course.

THIS E-COURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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And if you’re just beginning with your precious new puppy - look at

Choosing a Puppy

Housetraining made easy

and

the very valuable cheatsheet on getting your puppy to sleep through the night! 

Got a dog already? Check out this article for successfully rearing a puppy in a multi-dog household.