10 Common Puppy Mistakes: What To Do Instead! #160 #podcast

I have owned nine puppies and a lot of rescue 
dogs that have all grown up to be amazing adult   dogs. Dogs that were the envy of people who met 
them. Dogs that people wanted to own themselves.   Was I lucky? No, I followed a process. And equally 
important as following a process, I avoided   doing certain things with my puppy. And that is 
what I'm going to talk about on today's podcast.   Things I absolutely don't do that a lot of 
other people might do with their new puppy.
  Hi, I'm Susan Garrett. Welcome to Shaped by 
Dog. And I've got 10 things I want to talk   about that people will do, either intentionally 
or inadvertently, the first day they get a puppy.   And these are things that I absolutely 
will avoid doing when I get a new puppy.   So, let's think about the goal.
What we want is, we want a confident   dog. We want a dog who's so bonded with us. 
They're part of the family. They're part of the   team. They do as we ask. Maybe we want to play 
a sport.

Maybe we just want a great companion   to go hiking or go visiting family with. That's 
what we have in mind. We have this goal. And so,   everything that I do with a puppy, I reflect back 
on what I've talked about many times here on the   podcast and that's my 5C formula.
It starts with connection. Well,   who can't be connected with a puppy? I 
mean, they're cute.

They're amazing, right?   So, connection and then clarity and then 
confidence. For me, that clarity starts   with the clarity of how to be excited, and how 
to be calm. That starts on day one. And it just   carries through with everything that we do.
So, when I look at things that I do with my   puppy I ask myself, “does this contribute 
to growing confidence in that puppy?   Is this giving me a better connection, giving 
more clarity to the puppy to exactly what I want.   And is this helping to grow a confident 
puppy?” And so, the first thing   that people do is they're just not prepared.
They haven't done appropriate shopping.

Like,   who doesn't like shopping, people? Do 
your shopping, you have permission.   So, things like the obvious, you need really 
good quality dog food and treats. Highest   quality dog food and treats that you can afford. 
And then we need a place to house our puppy. So,   a crate or maybe more than one crate, a ex-pen 
or maybe more than one ex-pen. I'll get to that   later in the podcast, what we're 
gonna do with said ex-pen.
  You want to go around and visit Veterinarian 
clinics. You want to decide what would be the best   place for you to take your puppy to and really, 
it shouldn't just be what's closest and what's   cheapest.

There is a lot of difference between 
Veterinarian clinics. You want a clinic that is   going to treat your puppy with kindness. You want 
every visit to be a pleasant one for the puppy.
  So, you know, ideally a fear free clinic 
but even if they're not a fear free clinic   go in and talk to them and meet the staff 
and ask them questions. And ask people in   your neighborhood about the Veterinarians they 
use and why they like their Veterinarian.
  I can tell you why I might like my 
Veterinarian. If she doesn't know the answer,   she finds it. You want somebody that doesn't 
shrug. They go that extra mile for you.   Likewise, training, super important. Decide the 
methodology that you want to take to train your   puppy. Be very intentional about this.
This for sure is not something you just go   “I'm going to the local.

I'm gonna put all my 
trust and faith in them.” Because if you've   been following the podcast, you know that there's 
a lot of different ways to grow your puppies. And   some of them will grow that relationship and 
bond with you. Some will suppress behaviors   and suppress emotions and potentially ruin 
that bond that you have with your dog.
  So be very intentional before you ever get that 
puppy. You're here listening to this podcast so   maybe you've already done that. Go over to YouTube 
and check out the puppy playlist. We have a lot of   great education there, right there for you on 

It's all free guys. It's all free.
  Okay and finally yes, there's the obvious. 
You've got to buy a leash and a collar and maybe   a harness or a head halter. You possibly need a 
dog bed or 20…Whatever you do, no judgment here.   I might have the odd dog bed around this house.
So, number one, people aren't prepared. You know,   they go to the pet store on their way home with 
their new puppy. “Oh yeah, we need a collar,   don't we?” You know, some people might shop for 
things like a collar and leash, but they don't   think of the other things. Number two thing that 
people do is their expectations are way too high,   way too high for a puppy.
Like a puppy is a baby.   Think like one step up from an amoeba.

Like we say 
in sports ‘they've got a very low floor but a very   high ceiling’. Like an amoeba got a low floor and 
a low ceiling. So, a puppy comes with, you know,   there's nothing factory installed guys. And 
so, they're going to make a lot of mistakes.
  Your expectations shouldn't be what you've been 
seeing on TV where the puppies you know, can   solve a mystery and retrieve Jimmy from the well. 
We want to keep our expectations very low, which   means we are going to put the expectations very 
high on ourselves. Meaning, please don't leave   puppies and children unsupervised together.
Even if you've got the greatest kids known to   man. You know, things could happen. And so, 
you want to ask yourself, “is this growing   confidence? Deciding to leave my two-year-old with 
my puppy while I go and make some coffee? Is there   a potential that this may take away confidence?” 
Just don't do it. That's why we have our puppy   area, ex-pens that we’ve bought right?
Number three, people overwhelm the puppy on   that first day.

You know, you don't need to call 
all your aunts and uncles, your grandma and your   grandpa. You do not need a big family reunion 
for everyone to meet the puppy on day one.   I like to give my puppy three days to just grow 
their confidence in their new environment.
  So really low-key visits from anybody. 
And definitely I don't ever want to see   what we identified in podcast episode number 
157, a puppy going over threshold or showing   signs of anxiety because they're overwhelmed by, 
you know, all the family pets came in to meet them   all at once.

All of a sudden there’s an iguana 
there and they've never met an iguana before.
  And there's all these people and there's 
these kids going, “Oh, isn't he cute?”   Take it easy. Ask, “is it growing confidence?” 
Number four mistake that I don't make with   my puppies and this is a biggie. This is just 
way too much unsupervised freedom in a house.   You don't have your puppy area set up.
Now in podcast episode number 70, I talked about   the flip of this. I talked about all the things 
that I do to prepare to have an amazing puppy. So,   after you listen to this one, go over to 
podcast episode number 70 and listen to   the things that I do, including setting up those 
puppy areas with ex-pens so that I can know that   my puppy isn't going to make a mistake.
So, if the puppy has all this freedom to   roam wherever they want in the house, they're 
gonna chew things that maybe they shouldn't be,   including possibly an electric cord.

They may pee 
or poop in inappropriate places. They may learn   to rehearse habits that are not going to help you 
to have the puppy of your dreams down the road.
  So, minimize. Yes, they need time to be out and 
about and explore, but that's supervised with you   watching what they're doing. Number five, I keep 
my slippery floors covered. Most people today have   you know, some either some nice, polished hardwood 
or some linoleum, that's a kind of slick.
  And puppies that splay out their legs have a 
higher chance of developing things like hip   dysplasia or just you know, hurting 
their shoulders.

OCD is common from   trauma in the environment. So, I like to cover 
my floors with dirty dog doormats or dirty dog   runners. The runners that the puppy at least 
has like a little runway to run along.
  You know yes, puppies have burnout and 
they're built so that they're flexible,   their joints aren't really connected and it's not 
as bad as if an older dog wipes out. But they have   done studies and they have shown that the more 
slippery the surface that the puppies are raised   on the higher chance they have of an injury.
So, if you got a lot of slippery floors,   you might want to invest in some nice floor 

pexels photo 4588031

Number six, if you are going to have   a dog that you would like for them to go to the 
bathroom outside in the yard or on a walk, then   I would not advise you to introduce them to 
indoor pee-pee pads. Now some of you might   live in like high-rise apartments and you’ve got 
little dogs that you want them to pee inside your   apartment. That's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about if you have a dog that you want   them to go outside, then start now. I don't, it 
might be the winter. It's okay. If it's the winter   that would've been part of your preparations, you 
would've cleared an area with a snow shovel to   make sure that there's a spot for the puppy to pee 
or poo on that isn't over their ears in snow.
  So don't have anything indoors that you're 
encouraging to pee on because guess what,   a kid's coat on the floor or maybe your coat 
on the floor could very much be mistaken for   a pee-pee pad.

So just don't even bother starting, 
it really confuses them. Makes house training   easier if you just keep it all outside.
Number seven, people are taking their puppies   out and about for socializing on day one. They're 
going, “Hey, let's go to the hardware store, look   my puppy’s got their ears back. It's okay, just 
take him he'll get used to it.” No. Oh no, no. Oh,   nay nay. You know, if you've got your puppy from 
a great breeder and even some really good rescues,   your puppy may have already been out and about at 
places like hardware stores where they could see   other people and they could hear other sounds.
And I think it's a great idea for you to do it as   well, but not in the first day or two that you 
have that puppy.

Remember, build confidence.   You will see that puppy transform and get 
their confidence after a couple of days. So   do not take them out on field trips on day one. 
They do not need to socialize with everybody.
  Mistake number eight that I don't do, is people 
tend to start using cues like “sit” and “down”   and “come” and “stay” with their puppy right on 
day one. Like I mentioned, the options were not   installed at the manufacturer.

So, things like 
understanding your cue words, “sit, down, stay”.   that's got to be trained. That's on you. That's on 
education. That goes back to point number three,   expectations are a little bit too high if you're 
saying things like “stay, stay, stay” or “sit,   sit, sit” right on day one. Let them grow that 
confidence. You can start the training and guess   what, they'll learn those things soon enough.
And just as aside, I don't teach things like “sit”   or “stay” to my puppies.

Well, I never used the 
word “stay”, but I don't teach the word “sit”   probably for a week or two or maybe 
even a month. It really depends.   There's a lot of other things that I like to teach 
first. So don't be in a hurry to add a cue until   you've got a behavior that you absolutely love. 
There's a little bonus tip right there for you.
  Number nine, people tend to get the puppies 
way over stimulated. They get overtired.   There's this old saying ‘a tired puppy is a good 

And to an extent I believe that, but an   overtired puppy is a cranky, snapping, snarling, 
over spun, puppy. You don't want that. You know,   new puppies need to sleep 18 to 20 hours a day. 
Some of them more, depending on the breed.
  So, you want to not overstimulate that puppy 
because they're going to make mistakes. You are   going to get in trouble, and you are not going 
to like to see what you're going to see. So   just don't expect too much, do not overstimulate 
them. Make sure that you do a little bit,   take them outside, potty break 
and then let them have a nap.
  Point number 10, people expect the puppies 
to sleep in a place away from them.   And you end up with puppies who cry pitifully 
through the night, or they bark, or they scream.   I did an entire podcast on how to get your puppy 
to sleep through the night in Shaped by Dog number   26.

And it works guys, it really works.
And so, even if you don't want your dog to   sleep in your bedroom just for the 
first few weeks or a little longer,   let that dog grow confidence. Let that dog sleep 
in the room just like I described in that podcast   episode. And I promise you, you will have much 
sounder sleep and a much happier puppy.
  I'm gonna give you two bonuses. I said I was 
gonna give you 10, but I got two more. Okay,   this is a biggie.

You've got to keep your 
cool. You've got to keep your cool. So,   on the one hand puppies are cute. I mean, they're 
super cute and we love them. On the other hand,   they bite, they poop, they chew, they pee, 
they bark, they shred, they dig, they scream,   they puke, they chase, they nip, they scratch.
They whine, they destroy stuff, and they climb on   everything. Oh, did I mention that they poop, 
and they pee? Yeah, that's what a puppy is.

So   go to your happy place and know the puppy's doing 
the best they can with the education they have,   which is zero, in the environment that you've 
put them in. So, if you do everything that I   mentioned in podcast episode number 70, you 
will be setting your puppy up for success.
  You won't be nearly as frustrated, and you won't 
see as many things coming out of your puppies’   orifice or as many surprises around your home. And 
my final bonus is, the use of reinforcement. So,   here's another thing that I do differently in 
that I don't use food lures. And I'm not saying   it's wrong.

I'm just saying we do things 
differently around here. We do a lot of   things differently than other people.
So, we use food as a reinforcement.   We don't get the puppies to follow food because 
we don't want them to think food is something   they should be seeking out and trying to 
steal as they do with the food lure.
  Because my hallucination is that is not going 
to help them not want to get on the counters   and steal the food off the counters or to be 
scavenging in your kitchen all day long. So,   we use food as a reinforcement, and it 
all starts with a game ItsYerChoice.   I am going to leave a link here on YouTube. 
I'm gonna leave a link in the show notes   for how you can access ItsYerChoice.
It is a phenomenal game to play with your   puppy. And that's the one thing that I do like to 
do. I'm gonna give you a little spoiler alert here   before you go over to Shaped by Dog number 70, I 
do a lot of interactive play with my puppies.
  Remember I said, “I want clarity of how to be of 
when you're excited and clarity of when you're   calm”.

I do that with a tug toy. Super, super 
important. And I think I might have left that   off of your shopping list on point number one. 
So, permission to shop. Go ahead. My favorite   toys I get from 4MyMerles.com but have at it. If 
you're buying a puppy toy, get a nice long one.   They like to chase things on the ground and get 
those sharp little teeth away from your hands.
  There you have it.

10 things I never do with a 
puppy on the first day I get them. A couple extra   bonus things for you. I would love it right now if 
you love puppies and you're loving this podcast,   please go ahead and hit the like button. If 
you're watching this on YouTube and you're not   a subscriber, hey go ahead subscribe now. I'll 
see you next time right here on Shaped by Dog..

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