Weeks of Preparations:
For the setup we decided to have exercise playpen, combined with real turf for potty training area as well as a comfortable bed filled with soft blanket and some toys to keep him entertained. The idea is to enclose him inside the exercise playpen when we are unable to monitor him so he doesn’t get into any trouble or accidents. We will remove the exercise pen when he is fully housebroken at later stage. To be honest I was extremely worried about him being able to settle in his new environment. I was worried on how he will cope at night time, how he will be able to tell the turf was his potty area and his bed is where he will be sleeping (what if he confuses the two?). I read all about crying puppies at nighttime, which can last for two weeks and prepared my heart as the days grow closer.
The Day Finally Come:
He is still far away from being housebroken, but within the first 3 days he never once soil his den area and will always go on the grass. And towards the end of the week he was sometimes able to run back to his grass area by himself voluntarily when he was playing nearby his den outside. Of course he still doesn’t have a strong bladder and need to be under strict supervision outside his exercise pen. But I am very proud of him.
Separation Anxiety Training:
Another thing we did since the very first day is to train him to feel comfortable when left alone. What I did after I feed him is to play and exercise for a while, then I put him straight away in his pen. I read somewhere that the worst mistake you can make is to give the puppy excessive attention during the first day of home, as he will feel really lonely and started crying when it’s time to sleep at night (unless of course you bring the puppy to bed with you) . So after I placed Murim in his pen, I instantly walk away a few steps until I was out of sight, then I walked back passing him. Naturally, when I walked past him he will start to get excited. I ignored this and stayed nearby but pretending to be busy doing other things for a few moment. Then I walked away again, further away this time before coming back and pretending to be busy again while ignoring him the whole time. I keep repeating this process for a while, increasing the duration of being away longer and longer, but coming back each time so he understands that I will always return to him and there is nothing to worry about. After a while, he really stopped whining and went to sleep, weehoo!
Basic Obedience Training – Bite Inhibition, Discourage Whining, Teaching his Name, Eye Contact, “Sit” and “Down”:
We started training him from the very first day and we constantly reinforcing his good behaviour by rewarding him with food treats. We believe in positive reinforcement training and will never hurt Murim if he makes any mistake. These are some of the training we did during the first week and will continuously improve.
We read that puppy should never go to a new home before 8 weeks of age, though it’s highly debatable that 7 weeks old are also acceptable as puppy this age are more ready to explore and accepts new things. I honestly don’t really know what is true or not, but the biggest known issue of taking home younger puppies is that they supposedly missing out and doesn’t learn about bite inhibition from their litter mates. Well, obviously we got him one week earlier, so does that means he will grow to be an aggressive dogs who bites people? I believe not. I believe that it’s more important to love and train him properly from now and focus on what’s ahead. We highly discourage puppy biting by instantly stop playing with him, saying a loud “No” and ignoring him for a short duration. And when we pick him up again, Murim stopped biting and instead licked our hands. I really believe that the things he learnt at our home in a week is very valuable and outweigh the loss of extra week socialisation with his sisters and mom.
Another thing we practiced is to discourage whining when he is inside his exercise pen. What I do when he whines is to turn my body away from him and not say a word. The moment he stopped, I turn my body to him and praised him lavishly /and pick him up. It’s really hard sometimes as you really want to just pick him up, but I persist and persist.
Teaching his Name, Eye Contact, “Sit” & “Down”:
We decided to teach him “Sit” and “Down” as his first two basic commands. I really don’t expect much as Murim obviously still hasn’t learnt his own name at this stage. We practised eye contact and constantly rewarding him for doing the right thing with food treat. We use clicker method to train him, so when we call his name and he comes we will click and give him a treat with lots of praise. Same with eye contact as we want him to focus on us whenever we talk. Of course being Pomeranian, he is a small breed and we don’t want to over feed him. So we control his feeding by using this opportunity to train. We hand feed him everyday, which I think also helped in the potty training process as we know when he will need to go each time and will be there to anticipate it. I made a short video of his early training stages below, whenever he did the right thing, we will click and give him a piece of his softened food. Murim is really cute and as you can also see being a puppy, he has a really short attention span. *lol*
Murim learning “Sit” and “Down” with visible hand signals and verbal.
My worry about him peeing or pooping in his own bed is completely diminished. Murim just knows that his bed is his sacred place and he loves to sleep on it when it gets cold at night. During the day or afternoon when it’s a little warm, he sleeps on the floor to cool off. What amazes me is that Murim doesn’t cry at night, he gets enough exercise throughout the day and when it is time to sleep he will just calmly lay down on the floor / his bed. He didn’t even cry on his first night and I was truly impressed! I could’ve sworn the separation anxiety training really made all the difference. ♥