Getting your puppy ready to go home with you

This is an overview of how I raise and train my puppies:

The puppies are born in my home in a whelping box. They stay in this for the first few weeks of life and Momma is right there with them. The blankets are changed 2 or 3 times a day at this point and I disinfect the box each time I change them. Here is a picture of my box.

When the pups get big enough to start wanting to get out, we block off the living room and part of the kitchen for them. They have a hallway that they use for a potty at this point. Puppies don’t like to go potty where they eat and sleep and if they have a good spot to go to they will use it first. This teaches them early on not to go where they live.

When the puppies are between 6 and 7 weeks old, they become way too much for inside the house so they start spending more time outside. I have some puppy playpens we constructed out of PVC and chicken wire. These can be moved daily and keep the puppy’s safe but allow them to play and run around. I have been using the tents over this but they don’t seem to hold up in the weather very well out here so I am working on a new solution.

At 8 weeks, I begin more serious training with them. I quit feeding them as a group and bring each one inside and allow them to eat alone. At this point I have usually already trained them not to bite my hands. It can be very annoying to have 8-12 puppies always biting you so this is what we work out first!

As I bring them in the house to eat alone, I make them sit and wait for me to set down their food dish and they cannot eat until they have sat and settled down. I give a nice pat on the head and a good boy or girl and then they can eat. After they eat and get a drink we walk around in the house a bit and play with whoever is around. They get a treat then and I work on Down, Sit, and Stay with the treat. I use a lot of just pats on the heads and praise also so they don’t always just obey for food.

I will then bring in 2 or three at a time and teach them to sit and wait for their own bowl and to stay out of everyone else’s food.

Goldens are so fun to train. You can see the wheels turning in those little heads as they learn new things. We walk around the house some more, play some fetch, and when I see them sniffing around looking for a spot we go outside. We have a few accidents here and there if I am not paying close attention, but after awhile they learn that we don’t potty in the house. I find a few short training sessions several times a day works out for the best.

We start playing fetch early on. Most Goldens play it naturally but sometimes we have to work at bringing back the ball and we always have to work at letting go of it.

Some days I have more time than others but I always try to allow a puppy to be inside with us for awhile, just to chill out and play and learn how to act indoors.

Most people have been very happy with my puppies. . . at least no one has ever let me know they were not happy with one!

I have lost some shoes, socks and computer cords, and my floors really need to be redone, but I love playing with the pups. My husband says I traded the chaos of 6 children for the chaos of puppies and that I would go crazy if I had no chaos at all.

The puppies leave here fairly well behaved; not fully trained but off to a good start. My son has one of my pups and she does every trick in the book and has a pet rabbit as her best friend! He works with her everyday and she is a great example of what you can train a golden to do.

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