Why Freedom in the House Should Be Earned, Not Given: A Guide to Responsible Puppy Training

management puppy raising Mar 20, 2024
boxer puppy puts paw on pillow and looks at camera

Welcoming a new furry friend into your home is an exciting and joyous occasion. As puppy parents, we often find ourselves eager to shower our young companions with love and affection from the moment they walk through the door. However, one crucial aspect of raising a well-behaved and balanced canine companion is often overlooked: the concept of earning freedom in the house.

Why Freedom Should Be Earned:

While it may be tempting to grant young dogs unrestricted access to every corner of the house, doing so can lead to a myriad of behavioral issues down the road. Just like human children, puppies need structure, boundaries, and consistency to thrive. Allowing them unrestricted freedom too soon can result in destructive behavior, separation anxiety, and even accidents around the house.

The Benefits of Establishing Boundaries:

By establishing boundaries and gradually introducing freedoms as your puppy matures, you set them up for success in the long run. Teaching them that freedom must be earned through good behavior fosters a sense of responsibility and reinforces positive habits. Additionally, it helps to prevent behavioral issues such as chewing, excessive barking, and house soiling.

How to Implement an "Earned Freedom" Approach:

  • Start with Supervised Freedom: Begin by allowing your puppy limited freedom in certain areas of the house while under your supervision. This could include designated play areas or rooms with minimal hazards. We also strongly encourage you to keep a leash attached to your puppy and let it drag around behind them so that you can control the outcome of their free house time. For example, your puppy grabs a sock and starts running away from you, enticing you to a game of “catch me if you can.” Instead of losing that battle and getting frustrated with your puppy, if you have a leash on you'd manage the situation much faster (for more management techniques, check out our blog post: 5 Top Tips for Puppy Owners).
  • Use Crate Training: Utilize a crate or puppy playpen to provide a safe and secure space for your pup when unsupervised. Crate training teaches puppies to associate their crate with comfort and security, making it an invaluable tool for managing their freedom. 
  • Gradually Expand Boundaries: As your puppy demonstrates good behavior and reliability, gradually expand their freedom within the house. Start by allowing access to additional rooms one at a time, always monitoring their behavior closely.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Consistency is key when it comes to establishing boundaries. Clearly communicate your expectations to your puppy and be consistent in enforcing rules and boundaries. We recommend teaching calm behaviors indoors, while allowing more excitable behaviors outdoors - that's why we head outside to play with our dogs versus leaving a basket of toys for the taking whenever inside.
  • Reward Good Behavior: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in puppy training. Praise and reward your puppy for following rules and exhibiting desirable behaviors, such as going to their dog bed indoors while you eat dinner.

In the journey of raising a well-behaved and happy canine companion, the concept of earning freedom in the house plays a crucial role. By setting clear boundaries, implementing consistent training, and rewarding good behavior, you can create a harmonious living environment for both you and your furry friend. Remember, patience and persistence are key, and with time, your puppy will grow into a well balanced and enjoyable dog to have around vs being a menace to society.




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