Part 2: Preparing Your Puppy for the Great Outdoors

May 15, 2024

We’ve talked a bit about creating an optimal environment for your puppy at home. What about outdoors, where all bets are off? This is an important question because every puppy is unique. In my Nursery we have puppies of all ages, sizes, and breeds and it is important to find ways to help each of them, from the shy or fearful to the bold and gregarious. So how do we get our puppies ready for the Great Outdoors?

Life with most puppies feels like a hurricane. The eye of the storm is home where you can manage the environment (hopefully), train in peace, and teach your puppy to be calm as he follows you round the house and falls asleep at your feet.

It’s enough to make you think, “This is easy. I’ve got this.” The surprise comes when you take your puppy outside to show him the world. If you have an excitable or gregarious puppy, all bets are off as he races headlong into every encounter with other puppies, strange dogs, new people, sights, sounds, and smells. Suddenly you don’t exist, he’s lost his hearing, and the only thing he sees is this marvelous new person, dog or thing in front of him.

“Taking a puppy outdoors is like taking a young child to Disneyland for the first time and asking him to pay attention to you. That’s when puppies glance up and away, as if to say, “But look!”

Most people are initially shocked at their puppy’s behavior the first time they visit a park or mall.  Taking a puppy outdoors is like taking a young child to Disneyland for the first time and asking him to pay attention to you. That’s when puppies glance up and away, as if to say, “But look!”

As your puppy becomes more enthralled and excited by the sights, sounds, and smells it seems as if he’s lost his hearing and that you don’t exist. That’s when I hear this familiar refrain; “He doesn’t do that at home!”

It never fails. And my heart goes out to them every time.

So why are puppies so much calmer or braver, or easier to manage at home?

The answer is that life is predictable at home. There are no strangers traipsing through your living room, no strange dogs bounding through the kitchen, strangers with food, traffic noises or skateboards trundling by.

“Life is predictable at home. There are no strangers traipsing through your living room, no strange dogs bounding through the kitchen, strangers with food, traffic noises skateboards trundling by.”

Given a puppy’s incredible sense of hearing and smell – well beyond our own paltry abilities, how can we teach a puppy how to withstand it all and pay attention? How can they cope and calm down when the world is so full of distractions?

In a nutshell, they cannot. The key is to begin your training indoors, build mental skills and literally fortify your puppy’s mental abilities first. The good news is we can get and keep our puppy’s attention, even create muscle memory for what I call, “Multi-Tasking, which is maintaining an awareness of us while he takes it all in. How to do this?

The key is to begin your training indoors, build mental skills and literally fortify your puppy’s ability to withstand distractions.

If getting and keeping your puppy’s attention outdoors is challenging, you may want to explore my 1-Week Puppy Boot Camp, “Getting Your Puppy Dialed-In”. It’s a game changer for puppies of all ages.

I’ll have lots to say about teaching puppies how to calm down on cue and pay attention in busy places. For now, check out my next post, “Calming Trifecta: Sniffing, Licking, Chewing” for a video with a list of calming tools to bring on outdoors. These will help keep your puppy calm in the midst of all the sights and sounds that compete for his attention.

Up Next: Optimal Learning Series – Part 3 A Calming Trifecta for Puppies – Sniffing, Licking, Chewing

Latest Blog Posts:

Part 3: Calming Trifecta; Sniffing, Licking, and Chewing

There are three habits native to all dogs. I call them, “The Calming Trifecta; Sniffing, Licking, and Chewing.” Sniffing, Licking, and Chewing are three activities that help puppies stay grounded in busy places with lots of distractions. They do this by lowering a...

Part 1: Creating an Optimal Learning Environment For Your Puppy

In my quest to create the optimal puppy environment, I have discovered that cultivating a calm, predictable environment is key to everything from potty training to a puppy’s ability to focus, to learn and retain new skills – even to rest properly. “And yet, visit the...

A Reunion with Luna. Working with Shy or Fearful Puppies

Meet Luna, a Jumpstart Puppy graduate who mastered several challenges we frequently see with shy and fearful puppies. Join us as we practice, "Go Say Hi!" - first in the Nursery, then in a mall. To meet Luna today you’d never guess how fearful she was during during...

The Talk. A Primer on Potty Training

Welcome to The Talk, a conversation about Potty Training, how to set up your puppy at home and more important - ensure her success! Join us along with Katie and Coco, a 9 month old doodle puppy on their Visit to the Jumpstart Nursery in April, 2024. I also would like...

Multi-Dog Households and Puppies

It is important in multi-dog households that each puppy or dog has a quiet place of his own (more on this in another chapter). Puppies and even dogs can easily become competitive for attention, food, treats, toys, even formerly unimportant items can become the focus...

The Importance of Moderating and Supervising Your Puppy’s Play

Supervising your puppy’s play is critical to teaching social skills, impulse control, and keeping everyone safe during play. Building impulse and self-regulation in puppies (and children) takes time. And yet puppies need to interact and play. “I often joke we have to...

Puppy Introductions; Optimal Encounters and Interactions

When you have an opportunity to introduce your pup to a new dog, I suggest you take a moment to assess the situation. I always ask the owner if their dog really enjoys puppies. This surprises a lot of people. I mean, who doesn’t like puppies?  As it happens, many...

What a Puppy Sees

I love sharing new ideas, especially when they change how people view their puppy. This one in particular tends to shock people when they realize their puppy’s point of view is so different from our own. Want to have some fun? Take your cell phone and shoot some video...

Game On – Teaching Self Control

How to moderate your puppy’s play. Grab the best treats you can think of; roast beef, a bit of chicken, something special and different. Let your puppy begin to play with another. Observe how stimulated and energetic their play becomes. Before things get too over the...

More Ways to Learn

Schedule a Visit to the Jumpstart Nursery.

If you live in or near Marin, California this is a great way to socialize your puppy. Nursery Visits are by appointment only and take place on Wednesday at 3:00PM.

Learn More About Our Program

  • Jumpstart is a daylong, 4-week program for puppies 8 weeks to 6 months old, specializing in socialization, training, and potty skills. You can learn more about the Jumpstart Puppy Program HERE.
  • Live near Marin, California? We invite you to visit the Jumpstart Nursery with your puppy. You can schedule your visit to the Nursery here.

  • Live far away? You can still join us in the Jumpstart Nursery via online Puppy Boot Camps and Courses.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *