Puppy Level Training

Denise Collins

PUPPY LEVEL TRAINING

 

Every puppy needs a calm, fair leader. They are happiest when you understand this and take the leadership role. Dogs only know two positions; leader and follower. If you do not take the leader position, then you leave the dog no choice but to take on that role. This is where all the problems begin. Remember, dogs are experts at reading body language. Their language is silent, so concentrate more on what you do, rather than expecting them to understand what you say.

 

Bite Inhibition

Puppy biting is normal and necessary. Puppies need to learn how to control the pressure of their bite. Allow the pup to bite your hands. When you feel pressure more than a light touch, squeal “Ouch!”, get up and walk into another room. This is how littermates play with each other. If one playmate bites too hard, the other yelps and walks away to lick its wounds. The biter learns to soften its mouth or risk losing its playmate. Loss of a playmate is more understandable to the pup than punishment.

Feed your pup one of it’s meals entirely by hand. This teaches the pup to take food gently from human hands.

 

Socialization

Proper socialization entails exposing a pup to as many sounds, sights, people, places, animals, and locations. Some suggestions include; the park, pet store, school yard when children are playing, in the car, shopping malls, busy streets with garbage trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and skateboards. Takes kibble everywhere you go and ask people to toss or hand feed a treat to your dog. Search out people who walk slowly or with a cane, in a wheelchair, strollers, men with hats on, large men, children of all ages. The more things your pup sees at an early age the easier it will be for them to adjust to new things as they grow up.

Another part of socializing your pup is poke and pull on it as children might do. Pull its ears and tail, poke it on the body, pick up its hind legs, pull its whiskers.

A dog that is unfazed by its environment is a pleasure to have around.

 

Following – The Foundation For Come

Pups naturally follow their owner until about 4 ½ months when investigating the surroundings has more appeal. Have your pup follow you around the house. Say “Rover, come along” and move briskly forward. If your pup runs past you, turn around the other direction keep moving, don’t wait for your pup, say come along. If your pup moves away to the left, you go right, and so forth. Remember it is instinct to follow moving objects, so keep yourself moving at all times. Do this lesson for one minute, then allow your pup to smell around for a while and repeat again.

Keep all training sessions short (one to five minutes) and do many of them throughout the day.

 

Come

Never yell come or call your dog to punish it, put it outside, or in the crate. The command come should always be used in a positive way. It should mean treats, playtime, or affection. If you need to stop your dog from eating something on the ground or to ignore another dog, use the words “Leave It”. You can yell these words, stomp your foot, and clap your hands for the startle factor. If you use the word Come, make sure you can follow through with the command (meaning the pup has a trailing leash that you can grab and make the pup come to you). Otherwise, the word loses its meaning for the dog.

 

Leash Walking

Practice walking on-leash around the house. Make sure the pup walks at your side. Do lots of stops and have the pup Sit each time. Open the front door, walk out then back in again. This is a great time to teach the pup not to dash out the door. Leaders ALWAYS go through doorways or gates first! This is important body language to a dog. Over emphasize this move by having your dog “wait” as you walk out the door first. Use your body to block the doorway if he starts to push his way through. Body blocks are understandable to dogs, as they use this on each other.

 

Let’s Play

Playing with your dog must have many rules. You as leader start and stop playtime. Always have a special toy that only comes out when you decide to play.  Use some phrase like “let’s play” and get your dog jazzed up for one minute. Stop play and have your dog sit then “settle down” for about 30 seconds. Say “let’s play” again and get your dog excited for one minute. The more times you hype up your dog, then teach it to settle down during play, the easier it will be for you to settle it down in other situations.

If your pup won’t drop the toy, try trading for a treat or another toy. Show your dog often that dropping the toy has benefits, she gets a treat, then she gets the toy back. Choose a word to end play such as “enough” or “finish,” and put the toy back in the drawer.

 

Watch Me

If you have your dog’s eye contact, you have his attention. Have your dog sit in front of you. Hold a treat at your nose. Say “watch me.” Slowly lower the treat to its mouth and say “take it.” If the dog looks away as you are moving the treat down, say watch me again and this time start slowly then speed up half way down to keep it’s attention.

 

Scary Things

Expose your pup to as many scary things as possible when young. Things with wheels such as, shopping carts, bicycles, wheelchairs, etc.  Pop-open umbrellas are very scary. People: men wearing hats, young children running and screaming, people walking with a cane or slowly, etc. The more they are exposed to a variety of everyday situations without anything bad happening to them, the more relaxed they will be as adult dogs.

 

Alone training

Condition your pup to be apart from you while you are home. This can save the dog from serious separation anxiety as he matures. Start with short separations of five minutes. Crate him or have an isolation area with nothing in it that he can harm. If he’s barking when you’re ready to let him out, wait until he stops before you open the door. Otherwise, he will associate barking as the way to be let out.

Gradually increase the length of time before you let him out

 

Settle Down

Practice getting your pup excited (which is always easy to do). Have a leash on your pup. Jump around, move your arms, talk in a high voice, then say “settle down” and use the leash to lure into a down position. He doesn’t have to stay for more than 2 seconds. This is a good way to learn how to control your pup when he gets rambunctious without you initiating it.

 

Grooming

A few times a week, brush your pup’s coat, look in her ears, brush her teeth, use an emery board to file her nails. Dogs dislike their feet touched, so the more you touch their feet when they’re puppies, the easier it will be to clip their nails when they get older.

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