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Monday, February 9, 2009

What to do till Dog School starts....

Jan,
The class I wanted to start with my puppy isn't available for another two months. Are there things I can teach him at home in the meantime? I feel like he's a sponge, ready to absorb whatever I teach him, and I know this is a critical time for him to be learning.
--Maria

Maria,
You're right, there's no time like the present to be educating your dog. Yes, puppies are impressionable at this young age, and there are many things you can be teaching at home that will pave the way for you when your group class starts in a couple months. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Attach a drag leash. You hardly even have to pick it up. It'll do a lot of the work for you. Just have him wear it around the house when you're there. Once in a while, you can pick up the handle and guide him gently around the house or yard with you. Encourage to walk with you, using praise and fun talk.

2. Teach him his boundaries, rules and limitations. Keep him off the furniture of your choice. Cue him that you don't want unsolicited body contact (jumping on you, swatting you, running between your legs, or play-biting). This will teach him to respect you, which means he should trust you and take you at your word.

3. Play games with the command "Come!" Use treats to reward him each time you say, "Dog's name, Come!" and he looks at you or moves to you.

4. Teach him to sit AT YOUR SIDE (not in front of you.) Anyone can teach the dog to sit in front of them, but it's much more of a challenge (and more useful later on) to teach him to sit directly AT YOUR SIDE. Use lots of praise.

5. Teach him to pay undivided attention to you. You can use a treat for this too. Make this a game. Build up to having him stare at your for 15 seconds, then reward with a big treat.
6. Do "treadmill walks" with him. Hit the sidewalks together for 30-minute nonstop brisk walks. Use a short leash to keep him directly at your side (like a suitcase) and keep going...no slowing down to let the dog sniff or pee. You MUST use a leash for this exercise. The results will not be the same if your dog runs along unleashed.

7. Invite your friends to come over with their friendly, healthy dogs so he can socialize.

8. Take him for short, pleasant car trips. If he's old enough (and has completed all his shots), walk him around supermarket parking lots (ON LEASH) so he can get accustomed to traffic, sounds, smells, and strangers walking about.

9. While in these new environments, gently ask for some of the behaviors you've taught him at home...paying attention, sitting, and walking nicely with you. Teach him that those behavior are to be expected of him anywhere you might go. Practice makes perfect.

10. Watch and study "The Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic Channel.
--Jan

5 comments:

DSDA said...

It is common for puppies to bite when they are around 3 to 10 months old. As part of dog training, dog owner should understand the nature of puppy biting. Giving them the right objects to bite will discipline them.

Jan said...
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Jan said...
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Jan said...

Please disregard the above statement from DSDA. I don't know who it is, but it's a silly statement

Jan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.