This post is proudly created in partnership with James Wellbeloved.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the star of my social media feeds is my dog Milo. Ever since he came into my life almost four years ago, he has irrevocably changed my life for the better – but I’m sure you knew that already. In celebration of Crufts 2020, today’s post is brought to you in partnership with Milo’s favourite food brand: James Wellbeloved. We’ve fed Milo on James Wellbeloved for years now and not only does their grain free dog food provide him with the best nutrients for his size, he also absolutely LOVES meal time. Plus, his coat has never been thicker or shinier. James Wellbeloved asked us to share how we trained Milo and got him to living his best pupper life.
How we got started
I’m a first-time dog owner. I had no experience in getting a dog to do my bidding (I’m sure we’ve all seen countless memes of dogs fetching grocery shops and forgotten phone chargers!), let alone make sure they didn’t pee all over our house. I did have plenty of experience in cooing over adorable fluffs and petting them. Turns out, the secret is in a magic mix of the two.
The first few nights with Milo were a nightmare.
Broken or no sleep, a nine-week-old puppy who howled when the lights were off, on; when the crate door was closed, open; when the radio was off, on. I ended up pulling my old sleeping bag – the one I took to many a girly sleepover – and sleeping on the floor next to his bed. Which still didn’t help, it just got me closer to the crying. Miraculously on day six or so, it stopped and he was an adorable pup once more, albeit one that smeared poop all over the sides of his crate.
Toilet training a puppy
One of the things I quickly learned was when to let a puppy out for their toilet breaks. The general rule of thumb is one hour per month-old they are: so, my two-month-old puppy could hold it in for roughly two hours, three max. I found this to be a game-changer. Yes, I became an obsessive clock watcher, but the key is patience when it comes to your new furry bundle of joy.
If you don’t give them the opportunity to be good, they won’t know how to. Every two (then three, then four) hours, I’d let him in a closed-off corner of the garden to poop and pee, and then he’d be allowed back in once he’d done his business. It’s important not to let them just run riot; make sure they do what they were put there for or they won’t learn.
Teaching him tricks!
I’ve found dog training to be a somewhat controversial topic over the years. Once when we were out walking, I asked Milo to sit and another owner commented that I was enforcing rules on him and it wasn’t right. However my family and I agree that training a dog is pretty essential. Not only does it mean you can retain control when a situation or experience is new or unusual – Milo sits before crossing a road, and only crosses on command – it’s also a great way to bond.
I started teaching Milo ‘tricks’ about two weeks in to having him. He picked up his name pretty quickly and was getting very confident around the house! With a bag of puppy training treats at hand, I taught him to ‘sit’ in roughly three hours, simply by saying the command, gently nudging his bum down, giving him a treat, and repeating. I genuinely cried my eyes out – yes, at 3pm on a Thursday! – when he nailed it without guidance for the first time.
But it isn’t just as a puppy that you can train your dog. Milo learned ‘roll over’, ‘leave it’ and ‘bang!’ over the last year (he’s four!) with the benefit of a few quality hours together and his favourite James Wellbeloved treats!
It is SO rewarding to impart wisdom to your pet. I often chat away to Milo on our dog walks and even though I know he doesn’t understand what I’m chatting about, he does manage a cheeky ‘sit’ if I’ve thrown it into conversation.
What I wish I knew
- How hard it is to have a puppy, especially in the first few weeks!
- That dog diets are not a one-size-fits-all job.
- That dogs definitely do have selective hearing, it isn’t just my Mum
- That dogs will look at their expensive beds roughly 50 times throughout the day, and then sleep next to it at night.
- How easy it can be to train your dog!
Discover the James Wellbeloved range online.
Do you have a pet? How did you train them? Do you have any tips for people reading this post?