I don’t know about you, but I’d certainly consider myself a dog person. I’ve had dogs all of my life, from the day I was born my parents had a cocker spaniel named Rascal who I can remember playing with when I was very young. When Rascal passed away we actually got two more dogs, an adorable pair of dachshunds named Penny and Jasmine that still live with my parents today, even though they’re quite late in their years.
Since I’ve moved out of my parents’ house and I live on my own I felt it was time to get my own dog to keep me company. I knew it would be a bit more responsibility than I was used to because my parents always did most of the heavy lifting. I felt up for the challenge and actually quite a bit excited by it, so I went on down to the local animal shelter and started getting to know some of the pups.
It wasn’t long before one dog, in particular, made my heart melt, and next thing I knew I was driving home with my new best friend Fredo (short for Alfredo) accompanying me in the passenger seat. Fredo is a bit of a mix. So much so in fact that the shelter wasn’t even sure what breeds he’s made up of. He’s still adorable nonetheless. He was about 2 years old when I adopted him, and I’m just coming up on a year of living with him.
Over the past year or so Fredo and I have been through a lot, and even though he wasn’t an incredibly young pup when he joined my family there was still a bit of training we had to get through. I wanted to discuss some of my biggest breakthroughs in case it’s helpful for any other first-time dog owners out there.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Crate
When Fredo first came into my house we did unfortunately run into a bit of a problem with potty training. It’s embarrassing, both for him and for me, but it’s the cold hard truth. I tried a lot of things that I read on the internet to see if any of them helped, but the silver bullet seemed to be crate training. I was admittedly against crate training at the outset, as I felt it was a bit cruel to leave Fredo locked up in a cage. It turns out that if you teach a dog correctly though they’ll actually love their crates. You want it to feel like a home for them, rather than a prison, and this more or less takes the right mindset. They learn to mind their own space, and as a result they’ll even learn to mind your space better as well.
Wireless Collar Training Is Awesome
Obviously, when we’re out in public I’m required to keep Fredo on a leash, both for his safety and that of others. When we go for walks in the great outdoors however, it seems silly and unnecessary to keep him on a leash. I first stumbled upon wireless GPS trackers when I came across this guide: https://www.thepamperedpup.com/best-electric-wireless-dog-fence-reviews/gps-invisible-tracker/. They have been a huge help not only in keeping Fredo from running away when off his leash but also in honing in his obedience. As an added bonus, when I take Fido up to my parent’s camp I can let him run free with my mind at ease knowing that I can always track his location. Plus, when the time comes for him to come home, I can send him a signal and he knows that treats are waiting for him.
Get Book Learn’t
If I weren’t writing this article chronologically, I’d probably put this section first because it was without a doubt the most insightful. But alas, I must stick to the plan. There’s not substitute for learning from the experience of others who have been down your path before. I was referred to a great book called Don’t Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor, and it has been so insightful in building my relationship with Fredo. In fact, I think the teachings in this book extend far beyond dog training, even so much as to teaching better practices for interacting with other humans. Even if you’re not a book reader I’d highly recommend reading this one to get your dog training game in good shape.
Anyway, those are some of my biggest takeaways from spending a year with Fredo. Hopefully they’ll help you skip some of the time I wasted and the headaches I encountered along the way. What has worked well for you and your puppy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!