November 2010: EDITOR'S NOTE - Adventures In Puppy Training
Author: Maggie Washo | Photographer: Photography by Anne
The new love of my life is a Bernese mountain dog. Miss Lucy is only 17 weeks old and weighs in at just over 40 pounds. When you have a dog that will grow to weigh more than you, training is very important.
As any new parent, I am eager to do everything right during these formative puppy months. I want to be the one on the beach with the dog who sits quietly by my side while any distraction possible walks, trots or gallops by. To get to this point, many things must happen. As with anything, plenty of well-meaning citizens have offered advice (opinions?) that I have tried to heed:
Advice: You MUST crate a new puppy. This will assist in the potty-training efforts.
Result: Lucy broke her toe trying to get out of her crate in the first week I had her, thereby creating a $500 vet bill for her mom. She is no longer crated, and thus, not yet completely potty-trained.
Advice: Take your dog EVERYWHERE for the first year of her life. This will enable her to be properly socialized.
Result: Lucy goes to work, the Black Marlin and Captain Woody’s and to her cousin’s house on a regular basis. This was good advice. She gets along with everyone.
Advice: Have many chew toys, rawhide bones and squeaky bears so she won’t chew on your things.
Result: Lucy has over $100 worth of toys, and she still prefers my sneaker when she can manage to get hold of it.
Advice: Always carry a plastic bag with you on the beach so you are a responsible pet owner.
Result: If I carry two bags, Lucy will have to go three times. And she won’t go on the stretch of beach where no one is around. She’ll “go” on some small child’s sand castle in front of a family of eight visiting for the week.
I am not discouraged, however. Lucy has made remarkable progress for a four-month-old and is well on her way to being the best behaved Bernese in the neighborhood. The best advice for training a puppy is to have lots of patience.
Patience. Patience. Patience.