Rach's Dog Bella's First NYC Trip + Her Trainer Shares Post-Pandemic Puppy Training Tips

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As we're sure all you loyal fans of Rach know, she and her husband, John, got a new puppy during quarantine—Bella Boo Blue

But, as you also know, Rach and John are quite the busy duo. While many of us spent our non-commuting quarantine time catching up on Zzs, they were still up every day at 4am to film the show themselves. (We stan a hardworking queen and king!) 

All of that to say, they haven't had quite as much free time as they'd like to train the newest addition to their family. 

Which is why they brought in the big guns—Bella's very own "fairy godmother" of training, Elizabeth Lajeunesse.

While Rach and John continued to film, Elizabeth brought Bella down to NYC for her very first visit, where they put her puppy training to the ultimate test: a walk through New York City's iconic Central Park, spacious enough to social distance but with plenty to grab Bella's attention. 

"[We layered] all the distractions New York City has to offer over her basic obedience skills," Elizabeth explains, including sit stays, down stays, coming when called and walking on a loose leash.

No surprise, she did great—and your quarantine (or non-quarantine!) pup can, too! Here are Elizabeth's best tips to make that happen. 

Dog Training Tips For Quarantine Puppies 

1. Keep Calm Before Carrying On 

"What's really important for people to understand," Elizabeth says, "when you go to a new environment, you really want to make sure [your pets are] calm before you let them out." Note: Before Elizabeth let Bella take on the city, she walked around to the back of the car and made sure Bella was in good spirits. Then she let her paws hit the pavement. 

2. Start Slowly

"Start in areas of no distractions," says Elizabeth, "and slowly layer distractions that the dog can handle."

3. Don't Ditch the Leash 

As Elizabeth explains, "Dogs love to go for a walk, and doing so means they're on leash—and the leash is a sense of comfort." So when going into a new home or any new environment, keep their leash attached, even if they're just dragging it around behind them. It's a source of comfort for them and a handy way for you to communicate with them (i.e. you can gently tug it to tell them to come to you or stay away from something).

4. Treat Those Babies!

Last, but not least (especially not to your pup!), dogs love a reward system—just be sure to use it wisely. "Be super clear about what the dog is getting right [with a treat] and then interrupt the behaviors that you don't want to see," says Elizabeth. (And as soon as they course-correct, another treat!) "It builds efficient training and the dog picks up on it really quickly."

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