I saw the future of a puppy and her owner. It will be filled with frustration, confusion and unwanted behaviors. While at a local gas station, I noticed the man who owns the place tying up his brand new 9 week old Australian Shepherd and Blue Heeler mix outdoors. While we waited for nearly 10 minutes for the full service he offers, he stood watching his puppy on her tie out. She stood, facing him, and stared back. He eventually came over to pump our gas, and while he ran into the building to run a debit card through the machine, I watched his puppy go potty. She did both a 1 and a 2, and no one was present to praise her. He will have a difficult time training this puppy.
How do you know if you or your family is truly prepared for a puppy? Don’t be the ill informed new dog owner and leap into it without a plan. Sure, you can go visit at the shelter and meet various dogs or go see a breeder’s home to view puppies, but don’t make that commitment. Not yet! You need to asses your own schedule, health and mental/emotional state first.
Is your home life stable enough to devote at least 2 weeks to get your new puppy adjusted and on the way to becoming a reliable, house trained pet? You may not need to take those 2 weeks off from work, but have plans in place to fit your puppy’s food, play, training and potty schedule to form the habits that will turn him into your dream puppy.
The man who owns the gas station may have a stable job and income, as well as a regular work schedule. His fault was in not having plans in place for his young puppy to get her foundation of learning, training, and becoming house broken. Instead, he seemed to be fully stressed, pulled between work and being able to show his puppy what he expected her to do on her tie out. Even though she felt that comfortable release of going potty outside, she will not automatically understand that *this* is the exact behavior he expected her to do. In fact, that puppy was thoroughly confused!
Trainers always say to set your puppy and yourself up for success with everything. The right potty/food/exercise/training schedule alone will shape your puppy into a wonderful canine citizen. One full of chaos on the other hand is doomed to failure. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone wants to help with a puppy!