Are you looking for the best place in Albuquerque for puppy training? You found it! We have helped hundreds of owners get their puppy started out on the right foot.
Our puppy training programs helps you put the schedules and training exercises in place that will let your dog become a well-balanced, well-behaved adult dog that is a companion and friend to you.
We will answer all your puppy questions. Don’t worry about forgetting to ask something during our sessions – once you are established as a client, we always help you out via email and phone calls in between sessions. We never want you to hold off asking an important question. Dog training happens in the moment, and we want to support you as well as possible!
Puppy Training – Invest Now, Benefit Later
Puppies are easy to love. Puppies are also easy to forgive:
- Does your puppy playfully bite your arm? His teeth are small and don’t hurt!
- Does he chew on your shoes? He doesn’t do much damage (yet).
- Does he pull on leash during your walks? Yes, but he is so little that it is just a little tug.
Unfortunately puppies grow up fast and suddenly all these little quirks turn into real problems. If you just got your puppy, no matter how little – the time to train is now.
The more good behaviors you can instill from the start, the better. Behaviors that your dog repeats become habits over time. And good habits is what makes dogs well-behaved and a joy to live with!
Taking a puppy class or two or investing in some private lessons will pay off many times by the time your dog is an adolescent.
It will be much easier and faster to teach him now how to behave than to wait until he is big and independent.
Puppy Training Means Experiences
The more positive experiences your puppy can have growing up, the better. We want these pleasant experiences in all aspects of his life:
Meeting new and friendly people. Meeting friendly and well-balanced dogs. Learning to enjoy walks and time at the park. Learning to play appropriately with you.
Everything your puppy learns now will influence how he sees the world and you. The better and more fun we can make his life, the better!
It also means showing your puppy very clearly from the beginning what pays off and what does not. Jumping on people, pulling on leash, charging out the door – this does not pay off!
We teach you how to be consistent and show your puppy what you expect him to do. Dogs are born as blank slates with no idea on how to behave in their life with us! It is our responsibility to show them how we envision them to behave.
At this point in their lives we also want to make sure our puppies feel calm when we leave them for short periods of time and trust us to return to them. We will discuss how to avoid separation anxiety and what to do if your puppy already exhibits first signs. (Here is a great article regarding this topic: Separation Anxiety in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment)
Puppy Training all over Albuquerque
One of the big dangers of puppy training is not getting your young dog used to many different places and situations. Puppies’ brains are like sponges and we want to introduce them early on to the concept that they can listen to us anywhere, not just in our backyard!
We make sure that during our training classes your puppy will visit several dog-friendly and safe locations around Albuquerque. Training should never be limited to just the dog training school. Instead, we want to train where we want to have the behaviors – in the real world!
We will show you how to train your puppy in different locations such as Albuquerque Uptown, Flying Star patios and parks all around town.
By the time your puppy has finished his training with us, nothing will phase him. He will know how to walk politely through the pet store with you when you are getting his dog food, and he will be able to sit with you while you are having coffee with your friends.
He also will have been around so many people that meeting new friends will not send him into a “crazy frenzy” anymore.
The best way in which you can help with this training is to take your dog along whenever you have small errands to run. You can take him with you to the gas station and walk him around there for 2 minutes practicing sits and downs after you get your gas. Or you can have him hop in the car for a ride to the post office when you send off a parcel and get him out to do some loose leash walking. You can take him along when you pick up take-out food or for grabbing a cup of coffee.
The more little ways you find to incorporate your puppy into your life, the better!
Is Puppy Training all about Socializing?
Yes and no. Puppy training includes getting your dog used to many different places, surfaces, situations, people etc. Ideally we want to prepare our puppies for everything they may encounter in their lives and equip them with the ability to handle it in a stride.
Often “socializing” is associated with letting your puppy play with other puppies as much as possible.
This is not recommended by us.
We want your puppy to understand that you – his owner – are the funnest thing in his life. If he spends too much time with other dogs, he will look for other dogs when he wants to have fun and social engagement.
Think of it like a cup:
Your dog’s need for social interaction and engagement is like a cup that is filled daily. If he gets to play with other puppies too much, they will fill his cup and he has no need to engage with you. If however you are the one who fills his cup, he will seek out fun and interaction from you!
(Read more about the dangers of letting your dog play too much with other dogs here: The Problem With Doggy Daycare)
What Makes your Puppy Training stand out in Albuquerque?
We understand your puppy’s need to have continued exposure to as many different objects and situations as possible.
We are the only dog training program in Albuquerque that focuses on your puppy’s proprioception and coordination as well as his exposure to social situations.
Young dogs are very unaware of their own body. They tend to be clumsy, crash into furniture and their owners and trip over their own legs. While this may be cute, it can be both annoying (if your puppy grows bigger and carelessly crashes into you) as well as dangerous (he may hurt himself).
We will teach you a variety of exercises that will help him develop coordination and careful movement.
They will encourage your puppy to move his legs and body thoughtfully. Dogs that regularly do exercises like this usually are much better about understanding their owner’s personal space and not getting underfoot/crashing into their owner’s legs at home. They also are much less injury-prone as they know how to control and move their body in a variety of situations.
Why Would a Puppy Have to Learn that?
In order to understand why our puppies need to learn about their own body, we need to look at how dogs gather knowledge about how to move safely and at the usual living situation of a modern dog.
Dogs (and all other animals as well as humans) develop coordination by experiencing their body in a variety of different situations. These situations are especially valuable for teaching the dog when they place his limbs in different positions (one leg higher than the others, legs on unstable surfaces etc.).
The subconscious part of the brain gathers a lot of information about how to stabilize and move the body safely and efficiently through these situations.
A modern dog spends the vast majority of his life on completely plane surfaces. Our houses are level and debris-free, and so are our yards, sidewalks and parks. A modern dog rarely finds himself in a place in which he is challenged to balance and move his body carefully.
It is then our task to provide the dog with these learning opportunities. Through a series of easy-to-follow exercises we expose your puppy to scenarios in which he has to think about his legs and body positions. All these exercises can be done with items found around the house, from pillows over cardboard boxes to pool noodles.
Not only are these trainings helpful, but they are also much fun for you and your puppy!
Potty Training is Driving Me Crazy!
You are not the first and certainly not the last puppy owner to feel like that!
Potty training can seem overwhelming and impossible. No matter how many times you take your puppy out to potty, he still finds a corner to squat in as soon as you bring him back inside…
We are here to help you with that!
Potty training is a combination of smart management and carefully observing the signs that your puppy shows you. Just as in little children, at first the time frame between the puppy noticing he has to go and really needing to go now is very short. We can help you understand early when he is getting ready to go potty, and therefore maximizing the chances that you will be able to catch him in time and show him a good spot to go.
Unfortunately it is impossible to say for sure when your dog will be potty-trained.
Some dogs are potty-trained by 4 months. The majority can hold their bladder for several hours by the time they are 6 months old.
However, some dogs, especially small breeds, may take up to a year to gain full control over their bladder. It is impossible to guarantee when exactly your dog will be completely potty-trained. If you follow our program however, you are setting yourself up for maximum success.
What About General Obedience?
Teaching your dog manners from day 1 will be very important. You need to keep in mind that he is a baby, of course: Expecting him to heel for 10 minutes without taking his eyes off of you is not reasonable for his age.
What he can learn though is to sit and wait patiently, to look at you for directions, to not run out the door when you open it, to greet strangers politely and so on. And if you make training and learning just a regular part of daily life early on, you will raise a dog with a good work ethic who is always ready to learn more!
Because young puppies are not yet as crazy and driven as adolescent dogs, teaching obedience to a 2 month old puppy can in fact be much easier than teaching it to a 10 month old “doggy teenager”.
As long as you let your dog guide you in how long and what to train, you do not need to worry about training too much.
As a general rule, your dog should be as enthusiastic at the end of a training session as he is at the beginning of it. If he seems to noticeably slow down and lose interest, you are training for too long.
For young puppies, short bursts of 2-3 minutes of training are plenty and will get you results faster than long 20 minute training sessions during which they lose their focus and disengage from you.
What Equipment Do We Need For Puppy Training?
The most important ingredient is — great treats!
Your puppy’s work will be directly proportional to the value of your treats. The more he wants to have what you have, the harder he will work to earn it and the better he will be at remembering which behaviors earned him the good treats. All of our training is rewards-based and having a reward your dog really enjoys will accelerate his learning.
Has your puppy ever accidentally chased the cat or a bunny, or stolen food of the counter? Even though this might have been a one-time only event, it was probably impactful enough for your puppy to remember it well and to try and relive it again.
This is because chasing a cat or stealing a steak of the counter resulted in a huge reward.
How good your reinforcements are will determine how well your puppy will train!
Here is what you should avoid:
Unless your puppy is highly food-motivated he will not train as well for kibble in distracting situations as he will train for other types of food.You can train your puppy at home during your daily sessions with kibble, but avoid it for the “big” training sessions, such as in a park, at a hardware store, around other dogs or people etc.
They might be the go-to dog training treat, but unfortunately few dogs enjoy them as much as “real” meat. They are too big, too crunch (chewing for too long interrupts the flow of training) and also not tasty enough!Due to the way dog treats are sold they need to be shelf-stable. That means that they are made less from actual meat, and more from long-lasting ingredients (such as flour, oat or rice meal etc.). Milkbones and other cookie-like treats often do not taste very meaty at all to your dog, and he might not want to work very hard for them.
- Big Treats
The majority of the treats you can buy in your neighborhood pet store are way too big. They are not intended for actual training, but rather as a special goodie that you can give your dog now and then. In training we will use a lot of treats – in fact, the ideal rate of reinforcement is 18 per minute! Small breeds or young puppies may not even be able to eat enough of the bigger treats to train for a minute. Keep them small! (The size of your pinkie fingernail is a good size to go for.)
Good Treats To Use For Puppy Training Are:
Cut your hotdogs lengthwise, then rotate them and cut them lengthwise again. Now you have 4 skinny long hotdogs that you chop into many little pieces. The tend to be sticky and greasy, so you can put them in the oven at 350 F for half an hour to dry them out. Ready is your perfect (and very cheap!) dog training treat.
Just like the hotdogs, this deli meat should be cut into many small pieces and can be baked to make it less greasy.
- String Cheese
Dogs love string cheese! Again, make sure to cut it up into tiny pieces. Introduce string cheese slowly as some dogs react to the dairy with a slight stomach upset.
- “Mini Trainers”
These are a type of treats that you can find in every pet store if you know what to look for. They are thin, round treats in big bags, often with hundreds of treats per bag. Being small, chewy and having a good meat content, puppies and adult dogs enjoy training with them.
- Freeze-Dried TreatsRemember what we said about dogs enjoying meat and not so much all the fillers that often come with it? Freeze-dried treats are the solution to making treats that are shelf-stable and contain 100% meat or dairy products. You can find different varieties of them, such as freeze-dried liver, freeze-dried cheese, freeze-dried chicken etc.
If you own a dehydrator, you can also make these yourself!
Collars, Harnesses And Such
For learning loose leash walking or being out in public, your puppy should wear either a flat buckle collar or a harness.
We do not use choke (chain) or prong collars in our training and will show you effective ways to handle your dog without using a corrective collar.
For dogs with a very thin or small head (such as Sighthounds, Dobermans etc.) you can use a Martingale collar. This is a type of collar that is made with two loops. The larger loop is worn by the dog like a regular collar and the smaller loop gets the leash clipped to it. Should the dog try to back out of the collar, the tension of the leash pulls the small loop tight, which makes the large loop smaller and tighter on the neck and preventing the dog from slipping out of it.
As long as there is no tension on the leash, the collar is loose around the dog’s neck.
There is an old myth in dog training that harnesses encourage pulling. That is not true – what encourages pulling is not properly training the dog not to pull.
You are welcome to use a harness for training, especially if you have a small breed puppy that might tend to hurt himself by pulling too much on a regular collar. We have trained many dogs to walk without pulling while wearing a harness, and we will do the same for your puppy.
Lastly, you should plan to bring a 6ft leash. Please do not use a flexi leash. These leashes are suitable for dogs that have already learned how to walk well on leash. For teaching them to not pull a flexi leash is not a good choice, since the dog is pulling the entire time to feed out slack for himself.
If we advance to training your puppy to be off-leash, you will also need a long line for the transition. These are 20-30ft long and allow us to “simulate” the dog’s freedom while still having a safety line for backup. We make long lines out of biothane (a leather-like material that comes in many colors) that you can purchase.
My Puppy Bites Everything!
Does your puppy seem to enjoy nothing as much as biting your hands, arms, shoes, pants and sleeves?
The good news is that your puppy is not being “extra” bad – all young dogs love to use their mouth to explore the world.
Dogs have an inborn desire to chew that gets a little less as they age, but for many dogs never totally disappears. It is our task as owners to provide them with appropriate chew items to help them fulfill the need for chewing.
When puppies go through the teething process, chewing will also be important to help them loosen their teeth and make room for their adult teeth to come in. Don’t be alarmed if you find some blood on your puppy’s bone, it can stem from the natural process of losing the baby teeth.
In addition, we will analyze why and in which situations your puppy bites you, and how we can address it.
Biting To Initiate Play
Some puppies bite to initiate play. It is often recommended to redirect them with a toy in these cases. This can be a slippery slope:
Your dog should not learn that in order to play with a toy he needs to bite you.
For nearly all puppies I advise to not play with the puppy with a toy right after he has bitten you. Instead, you can have a box of toys in your living room and encourage the puppy to take toys from it and bring them to you for playtime. If he does happen to bite you, just get up and walk away and play with your puppy later.
- Jumping up on visitors will get you attention.
- If you want to walk ahead on leash, just pull hard and the owner will follow.
- If your owner calls you but cannot reach you, you can continue doing what you were doing and he won’t bother you.
We do not want the puppy to learn that biting us means we will bring out a fun toy and play! This is not a good consequence for a non-desired behavior. The consequence should be such that the puppy will think twice the next time whether he will do it or not.
Therefore, do not redirect – stop and play later.
(The only scenario in which I would not use this method is a puppy who is very, very shy. Sometimes young dogs have very little confidence and will not play with their owners well. If the only engagement that the dog offers is gentle biting, I would accept this for the beginning and play.)
Biting During Training
Biting during training can have a whole other meaning. Puppies have very short attention spans. With a few notable exceptions, the average time a young dog can concentrate is somewhere around 5 minutes.
That time is over very quickly, and instead of just calmly quitting when they cannot focus anymore, many puppies will instead get extra animated and crazy.
The will jump around, knock your treats out of your hands and – yes – bite you.
In this case you do not want to punish them in any way. You also do not want to force them to continue training with you.
If you pick our puppy training program, your dog can learn how to:
- Greet people politely without jumping up
- Sit, down and stay
- Walk nicely on leash
- Behave at public places
- Listen to you no matter where you are
- Come when you call him
- Move his body carefully and with thought
- Wait his turn – for food, for stepping out the door, for playing etc.
- Play appropriately – without biting or getting too wild
- Relax on his bed when playtime is over
Do you need instant puppy training advice? We have lots of articles to get you started! Here are a few:
- Tips For Preventing Resource Guarding
- The Smart Way To Crate Training
- Potty Training Your Puppy
- Loose Leash Walking
- Growing Up A SpiritDog
We are here to guide you through the process of training and turning your cute little puppy into a well-behaved adult dog that you can take with you anywhere you go in Albuquerque.
Let’s Get Started: