Updated: Sep 14, 2021
If you've been following my Raising Hooli video series where I showcase how I've been socializing and training my puppy Hooli, you know I've been pretty busy. A puppy, on top of two kids, three adult dogs, and a business...is a juggling act!
If I had to pick one thing, above all else, to share with puppy owners as the best kept secret to successfully training their puppy it would be this:
Appreciate the role of time.
You need to dedicate time- a lot of it!- to raising your puppy. This means going to puppy class, bonding with your puppy, blocking off time to get them out and about in the world. Few well rounded adult dogs become that way without enough time dedicated to their development. All the best cookies and puppy classes won't get you very far if you don't make the time to keep up with the training at home- and well into your dog's early adulthood.
You also need to let the passage of time do its thing. Fear periods, adolescent brain fog, and problematic behaviours need time to resolve. In some cases, like fear periods, simply waiting it out while also being careful not to push your puppy in over its head, is the only solution you need. On the other hand, challenging adolescent periods or problematic behaviours (like jumping up on people, pulling on leash etc.) will get better over time if you're consistent and your approach is sound. But they won't resolve over night- repetition is your friend and repetition always requires enough time to pass for the dog to "get it" (and every dog learns at its own pace). Similarly, dogs that are shy, worried, or a bit anxious about the world- need enough time to learn about how great the world can be- and only they get to determine whether they've had enough positive experiences and time go by to convince them of that.
Time is your most valuable puppy raising resource. Use it wisely and appreciate its value in raising your puppy into the awesome adult dog you've dreamed of.