- Why start with puppies?
- No negative habits to overcome
- Brain is developing its “view of the world”
- Vital socialization period: 2-5 months
- Pups are learning by the minute
- Play is a strong motivator
- Less likely to challenge leadership
- Aggression is easier to prevent than treat.
Basics of Communication with Dogs
- Explain the pack theory
- Don’t correct acts more than five seconds ago
- Ask yourself, “if that was wrong, what is right?”
- Show what is right, then reward
- Give command once, then insist on compliance.
- Use one work to communicate basic idea.
Reward Based Training:
- Never strike the dog for any reason-it isn’t natural dog behavior and it makes you unreliable
- Find out what motivates your dog
- Food treats: size, variety.
- Using food to lure, reward, then remind.
- Verbal praise (but don’t overdo it), petting, hug, ball, chew toy, squeaky toy, walks, all rewards.
Preventing Canine Aggression:
- Act like the “leader of the pack.”
- Practice the “learn to earn” concept.
- Handling and restraint: elevation and range of motion (hint: handling will help you know what is physically “normal” for your dog).
- Teach “move” and close tethering.
- Be trustworthy-don’t “lose your cool”.
- Don’t unintentionally tell the dog you are its subordinate. (ex: free food, excessive petting, sleeping on bed, owner walking around dog, dog goes through doorways first, leads on leash walks, can growl or whine and get what it wants).
Preventing Food Bowl Aggression:
- Exercise at meal time with food bowl. Goal is for dog to think human hand around food is a good thing.
Preventing Canine Fearfulness:
- The “jolly act” when dog shows fear.
- Use socialization checklist early in pup’s life.
Coming to the Veterinary Hospital:
- Make it the “cookie place!”
- Bring dog treats in a ziplock bag.
- Give opportunity to eliminate before entering.
- No free feeding- dog gets meals.
- Use confinement to encourage holding it; then access to yard using command such as “get busy”- reward dog for eliminating outside.
- If you do catch dog eliminating in house, interrupt (but don’t punish) the puppy. Take dog outside immediately to designated bathroom area. At this time, if dog does not eliminate, he should go right back into confinement. The reward for relieving outside is freedom.
- Dog should not see you clean up after it.
How to Correct (not punish) Puppy Biting:
- Yelp and whine like an injured littermate.
- Stop play or attention giving.
- Time out.
- Praise appropriate play.
- Elevate (like picking up a toddler) a few seconds.
- Interrupt and redirect into another activity.
- Indirect punishment (bitter tasking material on hand).
- Restraint (in non-fearful or aggressive dogs only).
- No begging or getting on furniture (reinforces pack heirachy).
- No puppy biting and adult serious biting.
- No jumping up on people (OFF!) Sit for greetings.
- No chewing human things: redirect – praise toy chewing, use taste booby traps.
Introduction To Commands:
- Never call your dog to you for something negative (like reprimand, bath, nail clipping, taking a pill).
- Come when called – dog’s reward for coming is freedom to go play again.
- Lure into a sit position.
- Shake! Then reach for the paw.
- If pup jumps up, turn away and say “Off!”
Bring Puppy to Class:
- Health requirements: Exam, vaccination, parasite free.
- Practice as often as possible, especially before meals, greetings, during commercials. Dogs need lots of repetition!
- Wear: comfortable clothes and shoes for the floor.
- Bring: nylon collar (no slip collars) and leash, identification tag, treats (anything you can break off into pieces as small as your pinkie nail, and bring a variety).
- Have puppy exercise and eliminate before class.
- Don’t feed before class so dog is food motivated.
- Hang out with dog while they’re eating.
- Begin working with commands “come”, “sit” and “shake”.
- Conduct short, positive and multiple training sessions.
- Many repetitions with rewards are key.