When trainers talk about Building a behavior, we compare it to building a house. No building will stand the test of time without a solid foundation. When you bring home your new puppy, you essentially are bringing home a new baby who needs guidance, rules, boundaries, care, and patience to help them grow into good their best furry selves.
One year ago, a very fun-loving lab puppy named Bruin came to Playful Pups and I was fortunate enough to have him in my Puppy Manners Class for 6 weeks. We worked on the basic behaviors to build a strong foundation and he did well. Ultimately knowing his owner wanted him to get into doggie daycare, I spoke to his parents suggesting that Bruin join our Puppy Social Skills daycare program to work on socialization and refining his freshly learned skills. He also continued learning how to interact with other dogs in appropriate play.
There are certain breed traits that trainers watch develop in a puppy and can be helpful in guiding pet parents down the right path of behavior development. As Bruin progressed, he was doing great, although his play was the rough and tumble type typical for an adolescent pup. While not quite ready for traditional daycare, he did advance into our Enrichment Daycare Program, which was the perfect fit for him! This was an excellent step, and it would continue his development in a more structured way. The program offers play groups, enrichment activities, one-on-one time with our enrichment counselors and ample rest time.
He was doing well and enjoying the Enrichment program. We were able to find friends for his playgroups that accepted his play style, and he LOVED his interactive games. THEN CAME THE START OF ADOLESCENCE, and there was more work to be done to help Bruin on his path to being his best self. As with most dogs, when this stage of development begins, they end to act like they know nothing and have forgotten all the training they have received.
When we rolled out our new A to Z Day Training program, I reached out to mom and dad, knowing they were struggling with Bruin’s teenage antics, and explained the benefits of this new program for him. They quickly saw the potential benefit and signed him up. Since then, he has graduated from both stages of the program, the first level of “Mind Your Manners” and the advanced level of training, our “Top Dog” program. Bruin is thriving in our Enrichment Daycare program and loving his time here at Playful Pups…his progress will continue as he moves through his training journey.
As a dog trainer I am proud of Bruin’s progress! We are hoping to work with him through many phases of his life, creating a lifelong relationship and bond with Bruin and his family! We want to offer solutions for our clients, no matter what the situation is with their dog. For some dogs it is a confidence issue, some require socialization with other dogs or maybe you just want trustworthy, confident, caring pet professionals to help guide you and your pup through the phases of their life to set them up for success. Regardless of your needs, the team at Playful Pups Retreat is here to help!
Written by Maria Stouffer, CPDT, Training Director at Playful Pups Retreat and Owner of Full Potential Dog Training