Training a Puppy
Puppies are not unlike people in many respects., many breeds appear to become bored with repetition more quickly. If you can’t make it interesting and different from time to time, you may lose their attention. They seem to almost have a need, to know the reason for having to learn certain things. There are several methods or ideas to inject different and interesting training procedures to help keep your puppy enthused.
Starting out with a regimented schedule is great. When beginning training with a new puppy, this is the best way to proceed. Keep to a specific time of day as much as possible at first. Also keep to certain days of the week. This will help to put your puppy at ease with this new part of his / her life, and actually give the puppy something to look forward to each time that particular time of day or day of week approaches. (If your keeping the training fun, they will look forward to it.) This should be implemented for approximately the first three weeks. We are assuming here that you are starting your puppy in basic training, and teaching heeling from scratch. If this is the case, heeling can become boring, real fast. Sitting, starting, left turn, right turn, and reverse. How many variations on a theme can you present, once the puppy has it down good? Well, actually many variations, and your puppy will need them now.
Start changing the time of day, the days of the week, the duration of the training session. (When changing the time of day, it is important to remember some special items. Please see the chapter on “When Not To Train” for details.) Changing the days of the week will put your puppy on notice that this can happen at almost any time, and make them more aware. Duration of the training session is important, from several aspects. For our purposes here, suffice to say, it is breaking up the monotony of the same amount of training time each day, and hopefully, keeping them from looking forward to the end of the session. As an analogy, some kids that are not learning something new in the school class room, and are in the room the same amount of time each day, start to watch the clock or look forward to the class being over, more than what is going on in the class. (For further specifics please see the chapter on “Duration of Exercise Training”)
Today walk to the training area, tomorrow drive to it, next time, run to it. Change the location of the training. Empty parking lots, shopping centers, parks, dry riverbeds, etc. are great for breaking up the training boredom. It will also allow you to instill the fact that you require obedience anywhere the puppy is taken. This is a major mistake of many. Your puppy will only understand what you teach it. If you only train at the park on the end of the block, then you are teaching them to obey only in the park at the end of the block. As far as the puppy’s concerned, everywhere else is fair game for fun.
This type of non-structure is also beneficial to you when taking your puppy to shows, trials, and traveling. A more well rounded puppy with less intimidation for new surrounding and activities is always a plus, and aids in the training even more. Let your puppy experience different conditions of all kinds, and they will pay more attention to you during training, and less time scoping out the worrisome new intruder or change in environment. More distraction during training is good, as long as your puppy is still concentrating on you.
Use different leashes, and keep them in different places in the house. Don’t let your puppy know when you are going training by heading to the same place every time, to pull out the leash. It creates a Pavlov puppy effect. That’s not what we’re looking for here. We want the puppy to be spontaneous in reaction, not regimented. The only regimen we are in search of, is the obedience to your commands. Don’t let them become used to just one leash. What happens when the leash is worn out and useless, or you lose it?
Training Obedience & Conformation Showing at the Same Time
The only leash that you should use on a regular basis, is the one you show the puppy with in conformation. The shorter, thinner, less conspicuous type is for shows, and the puppy will come to recognize the difference. The old adage that “You will screw up the puppy and never accomplish anything in obedience or conformation, if you do them both at the same time”, is ridiculous.
If you don’t have the proper time to spend nor the energy to exert, in training for both at the same time, DON’T. It really is not all that difficult though, and may pay off for you in the end. There are times, when it is beneficial to start showing you puppy in conformation at a particular time. If you’re in the middle of a training course, and your puppy suddenly looks like this is the time to start showing (due to maturity, looks, etc.), then that’s what needs to be done.
As indicated previously, the puppy will learn the difference between a show leash and a training leash. This, with practice, will allow the puppy to remember not to sit when stopping in the conformation ring, etc. It will not cause the puppy any anxiety, or confusion, if it is introduced correctly. Train some days with the show leash. Take your puppy for a walk with the show leach attached and the obedience leash in your pocket, out of sight. Teach your puppy to not sit when stopping. Practice this a few times. Each time, before starting off, show the leash to your puppy, and make sure it is noticed. Then switch leashes, and train to heel. Again, showing the leash first, each time. Don’t do any other exercise, only walking and heeling. After several times, switching the leashes and practicing with each, your puppy will learn the difference, and begin to understand.
Where To Train Your Dog
As indicated previously, your locations of training should change as often as possible once you have finished the initial process of getting your dog comfortable with the training procedures. There are certain rules to follow, which can make your training sessions go much easier, and also help to keep your dog interested and attentive…read more
Where Not To Train Your Dog
In the previous chapters, we have dealt somewhat with this topic. Let’s get into it a bit more here. As mentioned earlier, the most important message I can give you, is to pick a safe place to train. Not only for your dog, but for you also. It your attempt to find different locations to vary the training session, never train in unlighted areas at night, or any other place that you would not go to even if you were not training…read more
When Not to Train Your Dog
There are certain times that training should be curtailed. These times are sometimes the most elusive of all to not only understand, but to implement. It’s difficult for a trainer to admit that, “today, I am not capable of training” for some reason or another. It’s also difficult to say that in relation to your dog. i.e.:” My dog is not capable of learning what I am training today.”…read more
Varying The Training Locations
The old saying, “variety is the spice of life”, rings true in the world of dog training as well. Arctic breeds have a propensity toward “attention deficit disorder”, or so it would seem, sometimes. In reality, they just, plain, get bored with repetition, and redundancy, as do I, sometimes. Don’t you? In order to avoid this situation, there are several ways to keep your dogs attention…read more
How to Distinguish and Identify Dog Temperaments
As trainers, it is incumbent upon us to get to know our dog as well as possible. We need to understand their moods, reactions to specific stimuli, and the periods of their ups and downs. This includes everyday living experiences, not just during
training. These observations and understandings will help you in your training. Coupled with the above, is knowing what temperament you are dealing with. In order to deal with a certain temperament…read more
What to expect From Your Dog
Today, more and more, we find that people expect unbelievable feats of accomplishment from all aspects of life than were previously though reasonable. Many things contribute to this strain on humans and animals alike. Television, Movies, News Broadcasts, and sensational specials, depict animals in feats of daring, and performing acts that only the most advanced trainers should attempt…read more