Puppy training begins at early stages in life. Puppies are exposed to many changes in their environment. Preparing them for these changes helps them adapt to their new surroundings quicker and without anxiety. Desensitizing helps with dog training; it helps with dog grooming and pet first-aid as well. This is why your puppy should touch new surfaces.
When should we start puppy training?
A frequently asked question to our dog trainer here at Buckaroos is how old should puppies before I start training? We feel that socialization is one of the most important parts of training a new puppy. Hopefully the puppy’s breeder has begun this process. Ask your breeder what your puppy has been exposed to before bringing it home. The normal age when puppies go home, 8-10 weeks, is the perfect time to start training your puppy.
Making puppies a playground with different surfaces exposes them to new things to be desensitized to. With easily accessible material such as wood, water, and plastic, so pups can adapt to the changes in a stress free environment at his/her own pace. Find as many different surfaces as possible. Different surfaces can be plywood, carpet scraps or samples, leftover tile, plastic sheeting, water, metal with no sharp edges etc. are all great materials to introduce to puppies.
Ready to build a dog playground to touch new surfaces
When you have your materials, place them in an area familiar to your puppy, such as a backyard or garage. Only add a few things each time as we do not want to overwhelm him/her. Bring your puppy to the area and set them on an already familiar surface, such as the grass or floor.
Puppies are naturally curious. They will start to explore the new surfaces on their own. Does your puppy need encouragement? Calling them from the other side of the surface can encourage them to cross. You can throw dog food, dog toys, or a dog treat into the middle of the material to encourage exploration. Also, following an older dog is another great option. NEVER force your puppy onto a new surface!
When puppies tries the new surface, reward with a “YES!” and a big positive response. As puppies gets braver, change the surface by elevating it or placing in on an angle. Open a box at both ends to make a tunnel. Anything you can think of that is safe is fair game! If you’re wondering why your puppy should touch new surfaces, you will instill confidence in your puppy that will last a lifetime!