Yes, winter is here again, and while it may not be the most pleasant time to go outdoors with a rambunctious young pup, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, because it should! The outdoors are where an impressionable young puppy is apt to explore and learn the most. So there’s no reason to avoid the outdoors when you and your pup are prepared for it, especially when you have some commands you would like to teach your pet.
Plus, training in the winter could provide some positives like: there’s less people outside, which means less noises and less dogs that aren’t yours to cause distractions. However, it’s important to keep your new fur-family member (and yourself) safe and warm in this adverse season. So to help you out, we’ve included some useful tips to help both you and your furbaby stay safe, warm and successful while keeping up with your dog’s various training regimens during the frigid winter months.
Come.Sit.Stay Dog Training is located in Jacksonville. Fl., and even though we may not get inches of snow on the ground every winter, the end of December through February gets its fair share of cold days.
Keeping Up With The House-Training
Perhaps the most bothersome of all winter annoyances is your house-training progress can be hindered when the temperature drops.
To avoid this, try putting your puppy on a potty training schedule. Plan to take him or her outside every day around the same time to use the potty. First thing in the morning and last thing at night are essential with additional breaks in-between. And the younger your dog, the more bathroom breaks he or she will need.
When potty training you’ll want to make sure to spend time watching your dog’s behavior after he or she eats to identify patterns. You’ll also want to make sure to be there to accompany your puppy’s bathroom breaks. So make sure to keep a coat handy not just for you, but for your furbaby too. Especially if he or she is a short hair breed.
Also, try shoveling out an accessible spot in the yard for your dog to potty a bit more comfortably. Their feet get cold too!
Monitor Behavior & Look for Signals
After following a walk and bathroom regimen long enough, your pup will learn that the outside is the place for potty time, regardless of the weather. He or she should start letting you know when it’s time to go, so watch for the signs. Just keep in mind that if your puppy’s under three months old accidents will be inevitable.
Puppies can hold their bladder one hour for every month of age. As your pup gets older, however, signs to watch for include: sniffing, restlessness, circling about and lingering by the door. This last indicator means your pup is finally picking up on its housetraining.
Make sure to continue accompanying your dog outside as this will serve to further encourage good behavior.
Award Good Behavior
That’s a good girl!! Whether you’re potty training, teaching a puppy how to speak, or trying to prevent begging, make sure to keep treats handy and give lots of praise just as you would during the warmer months. By doing this, it will provide further encouragement for your puppy to brave the cold with you.
If you are specifically focused on potty training, try giving a treat when your dog tells you he or she needs to go outside. Then give another treat after they go to the bathroom as well. This will help your puppy to understand each thing that he or she is doing right.
Beware of Frostbite
Frostbite is something you definitely need to watch for when it comes to your four-legged family during the winter months.
Frostbite most commonly affects dogs on their ears, tails and toes. There are many signs of frostbite: discoloration of the skin, coldness to the touch and swelling.
Fortunately, frostbite is often treatable, but it can be avoided altogether if you simply don’t keep your dog out longer than you should.
Puppies are especially vulnerable, so be wary about straying too far when going for walks. Start slow and see how they react to the cold ground and snow. You can start by adding a minute or two to your outdoor activities each day if your puppy seems to be reacting well.
Always have a dry blanket or other warm article on hand if they get too cold. Dog coats and sweaters are also available in a wide variety of fabrics and patterns.
Take Care of Those Paws
Get in the habit of checking and cleaning your puppy’s paws each time he or she comes inside after training sessions. The salt used for deicing roads in the winter can lead to sore, cracked paws once it dries and that can be painful and itchy to your puppy which can cause them to chew on their paws. This is easily preventable though if you make sure to wash your dog’s toes and pads with warm (never hot!) water to remove any residual salt after walks, then dry them thoroughly.
After a bit of conditioning, your dog will learn to wait on his or her own before going indoors after your walk or potty break so you can wipe their feet thoroughly. This is a win-win for you because it will also help you keep your house clean during muddy or wet winter days.
When all else fails, just remember you don’t always need to brave the frigid elements to teach your dog some of the classics such as “Come”, “Sit”, “Stay” and “Down”.
All the basic introductory commands can be worked on in the comfort of your home, at the very least ensuring the season doesn’t pass by without any puppy training progress. But, don’t rely too heavily on teaching indoors; it’s important to make sure your puppy learns to obey your commands outside as well. Which can only be done by practicing outside.
Just like older dogs, some puppies love the snow, but there’s also many dogs who absolutely hate it. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your puppy’s unique cold weather habits, likes and dislikes.
Consider investing in a professional dog trainer
Training takes time, and it’s a learning process for all parties involved, so remember to be patient and persistent. You’ll eventually see the results you’re wanting, without having to wait for spring to come around.
But, for those of you that just aren’t making the training headway you’re hoping for, you can always reach out to a professional trainer.
Come.Sit.Stay Dog training is located in Jacksonville, Florida, and during the winter months we have the pleasure of not only working with local dog families but also with families that come to Florida for the winter months. Or families that are just passing through town on vacation and need a dog training brush-up.
We do custom In-Home dog training courses which means we train and teach in and outside your home during these colder months. We teach the owner(s) as well so they can continue the training when we’re not there.
We work with dogs of all ages- puppy to senior, and any size and breed.
We truly love what we do! And just because the temperature drops outside, it doesn’t stop us from helping another dog family from accomplishing their training goals.
To request more information about our in-home dog training services click here or give us a call at 904-233-0608. Want more CSS dog training information, tips & tricks? Just follow us on Facebook!