So many interesting and maybe scary things happen in our everyday world. Wherever you live, you have things going on nearby. Maybe some of these:
- Cars stop and start.
- Rock music blares out as a teenager practices drumming.
- Cats, squirrels, birds, and other animals move around.
- Greasy papers from a fast-food joint are lying in the gutter.
Once your puppy is old enough to go out into the world with you, who knows what you will encounter and how your puppy will react?
You want to start getting your puppy used to the world, bit by bit. This takes more effort than doing a little training at home during the TV commercials (something I also recommend) but it pays off big time in later life. You get a more confident dog, more at home with whatever comes about.
Start small with walks in your neighborhood or a park, then as the pup gets used to those, try more stimulating and chaotic environments. Always pay attention to how your puppy is reacting and don’t let it get over-stressed.
I remember when our Basenji was a puppy, she had been for many walks around our urban neighborhood – we lived in Olympia, Washington, at the time – and she knew a lot of the dogs, kids, and grownups in the area. So when there was going to be a parade with lots of children in it downtown, we took her. She hated all the noise and costumed kids running around screaming. We left very quickly! (As I remember, my husband said “I told you so,” but hey, I thought it was worth a try.)
Don’t be surprised when the puppy pays a whole lot less attention to you than when you are at home. There is so much else to see, smell, and taste! You will need to be on your alert so your puppy doesn’t get a chance to eat those greasy papers or anything else.
I like to use clicker training during these outings, after the puppy is used to it at home. For a good resource on why clicker training is a great way to go, and many step-by-step guides to all aspects of dog and puppy training, do take a look at Clickertraining: the 4 Secrets of Becoming a Supertrainer.