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Puppy and environmental training

There is a lot to consider when you go out for environmental training with your puppy. Successful environmental training will give your puppy positive experiences that will boost their confidence and attitude to the outside world.

The puppy decides

Remember that your puppy should never be forced into an encounter or into an environment, if you do it will have the opposite effect and produce bad memories that often stick very hard and are difficult to train away. Instead, make sure the puppy has a choice to walk away if it needs to and start with easy environments and then work your way closer to what seems to be hard for your puppy.
In other words, it's not a failure that your puppy chooses not to interact with his environment. But give your puppy time to process what is happening around it. Never rush off in a way that makes your puppy excited for an entire walk, but give it time to explore the trash can that sits along the road or a dog bowl behind a fence.
Adapt the training to what your puppy is already used to and comfortable with: a puppy living in the countryside may find being in the centre/city hard work, while a puppy living in the city may find the countryside/woods worryingly quiet.
Feel free to take your puppy into various dog-friendly shops and let them smell all the fun stuff. Go to the vet and eat some treats in the waiting room, maybe say hello to the receptionist or some nurse, maybe they'll even take a quick look at the puppy's teeth and you'll then reward them. It will make it easier for the dog when it needs veterinary care later.
Here's a list of some examples of things that might be good to get your dog used to when you're doing environmental training:
  • Home doorbell
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Hair dryer
  • TV noise
  • Walking on different surfaces such as stone, grass, sand, asphalt, water and carpets
  • Take the puppy for a ride
  • Ride a bus with the puppy
  • Take the train or subway with your puppy
  • Practise climbing stairs
  • Walk over bridges and under tunnels
  • Ride an elevator
  • Meet new people
  • Meet other dogs
  • Meet children

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