We recommend the following books, and provide them to our families on our adoption list:
- Raising Puppies and Kids Together, a Guide for parents. Pia Silvani, CPDT and Lynn Eckhardt
- How to RAISE A PUPPY You Can Live With, 4th Ed, Rutherford & Neil
We strongly suggest a trainer, especially if you have young kids or special needs. Special needs families should consider a trainer necessary and a weekly part of their work for at least the first year to ensure the dog and family are working together. Although many families think training is easy and simple with this breed, training is not a one size fits all approach. Trainers meeting with families often can adjust behaviors (both the families and the dogs) before they become an issue that is difficult to address and many times personal approaches which may work for one dog do not work with others. Good trainers have the ability to read a dogs behaviors and adjust training approaches. We strongly suggest you listen to your trainer and follow thru. IF you disagree with your trainer find another who you can work with easily. Trainers have incredible abilities, trust them.
We can house train your puppy!
Beyond what we provide here, 0 to 8 weeks, we do offer additional training of our puppies for those families that are looking for a trained puppy. This involves 2-4 weeks of training in the home of a wonderful trainer at an additional charge. The puppy will go through basic obedience, house training including crate training plus a great degree of socialization both in home and out with adults, cats, other dogs and children. Please note this does NOT mean the dog will instantly be a perfectly trained adult dog. It is still a puppy and will require follow through in your home. However, it will provide the basics and an excellent start for those that do not feel they can provide these themselves. References are available. Please email us for details if you are interested in this trained puppy service. This is not the same as a board and train facility where the dog is put in a crate and removed for training sessions a few designated times a day, we feel this does not work. Our trainer takes on one puppy at a time and teaches daily living with free roam of the house and crate training at night. We currently can recommend a quality in home trainer in South Carolina, Cincinnati and Orlando.
Here is a basic description of our in home puppy training:
Puppy Life lessons
Learning to live at home
If you are going to crate train, the trainer will use your crate (or one like it) and set up the crate in an area similar to yours. For example a laundry room or kitchen. This simulates as best as possible the puppies family situation, noises, lighting and smells.
Puppies live inside and are watched by a trainer, they are not crated while the trainer is home but watched and sometimes tethered to the trainer. This provides two lessons. One, signals of needing to go to the bathroom are noticed and puppies are taken outside before they have inside accidents. If they do have an inside accident they are caught in the act which is critical to their knowing where to go potty. Once outside the trainer uses words to train the puppy to go to the bathroom on cue. Puppies will learn when they are outside to play and when they are outside to do their business.
Two, a puppy learns what living inside involves. What they can and cannot chew on, what sounds are common, to be comfortable around day to day activities. If you crate a puppy then let him out just to play the puppy learns that being out of the crate means fun focused play time. This is not what you really want. You want a puppy to just walk around, sleep on the floor, greet people, and play when asked.
Puppies need socialization and lots of it. Our trainers will take the puppy everywhere (inside, outside, car rides, stores). Their main focus is to meet over 100 people of different heights, genders, and ages. Meeting adults and kids who are wearing hats and glasses is even critical to supporting a social puppy.
Yes, they will teach the puppy to sit, stay, lay down, sleep at night in a crate and come plus not mouth or jump up but this is less critical than the social and life lessons we can offer. You will be taught all the commands the puppy knows.
After the life lessons training. You will have a 30 min training session on how to use the lessons learned and continue training at home. Life lesson training usually takes 2-3 weeks and puppies can go straight to our trainer. We do not feel this changes the bond you will have with your puppy, just like preschool your puppy will be happy to get to know you and bond with you.
Know the breed
This breed is very sensitive to training and is therefore easily trained. The flip side to this is if you are aggressive with training, the dog will end up fearing you and avoiding you, almost feeling they need to protect themselves and even others from you. Yelling at the dog is negative, the dog has no idea what you are saying, just that you are hostile. You need to change your attitude, period. A stern “NO” is enough and if that is the only word you ever use to stop a behavior they will understand what NO means and follow your direction in whatever situation. Dogs are NOT genetically prone to hating men, or one person, or to guard food or toys, this is a result of a person’s behavior towards the dog or puppy and if multiple men (or women) yell at the dog the dog learns that the voice type should be feared. If multiple children hurt the dog the dog fears children. On the flip side if these people are sweet and use positive training the dog learns people of all kinds are good. This is a sensitive breed that is easily trained with a positive training method.
From 0-8 weeks we send out weekly emails that cover grooming, training, selecting a vet, and many more topics.
The topics covered in these emails include:
- Be the Leader
- Love and Attention
- Supervise with children
- Teething/Problem Chewing
- Doggie Zen
- Leave It
- Toy or Food Guarding
- Expose to the world
- Gentle but firm
- House training
- Be Positive, the result is positive
- Pools and Dogs
- Jumping up
- Time Out
- Avoid frightful experiences
- Do NOT Restrain
- Do NOT Isolate from Humans
- They know they did something wrong, or do they?
- Will they cry when they leave their mates or what should I do when they cry in the crate?
- What kind of socialization should I be doing? I am concerned about disease.
- House Training, they do not seem to know what I want them to do outside?
What can you do to train your puppy?
We recommend three items:
- Two way Communication and Relationship Building
First, please know I am not a certified trainer. I have been working with pets and breeding dogs for over 40 years and I have two kids, one is in the 9th grade and another is 3 years old. I read just about every book that comes out on the subject of dog training and breeding. However, this does not make me an expert; it does give me knowledge and hands on experience which I share with my puppy families. Each family is given a short training session at pick up and a series of written papers over the first 9 weeks on puppy behavior and training. I recommend every family finds two things, one an in home trainer that will come to your home and answer specific questions about your own family situation. This trainer should be experienced in BEHAVIOR, not just sit, stay, and come. The second sign up for a puppy training class. This is critical and will help in establishing you as the leader, provide socialization both human and animal, plus teach the basics, sit, stay and come.
Two way Communication and Relationship Building
Two way communication and relationship building involves understanding what your puppy needs from each family member. People mistakenly believe that the communication between a family and their dog is one way: telling the dog what to do. That is only half the equation. For balance, the dog must be able to respond and “talk” to us and we need to listen.
First from the home leader, the person that will be the primary care giver (this is never a child), the puppy needs the most effort. The home leader needs to be designated as the leader up front and everyone needs to know this person will apply the rules, the schedule and manage puppy time until the puppy is considered an adult. The home leader sets up all the other family members to succeed. To succeed everyone needs to know the rules, the schedule and what is expected. The home leader takes the cues from the puppy and adjusts the schedule (see schedule below) as needed by the puppy.
The leaders’ secondary responsibility is to teach the puppy how to LIVE in your home and make sure the puppy is provided its basic need so it does not hunt for it in incorrect ways. This involves two things, free roam and love.
The puppy needs free roam time, time to look around the home, smell, and experience things on their own terms quietly. The home leader should either supervise this time or put a leash on the puppy and allow the puppy to follow them everywhere for free roam time. Children need to understand this is free roam time, NOT play time. Also, the puppy needs love, just basic love, holding and petting. This is rarely provided by a child. This is best done as the leader or the co-leader is watching TV. It is sitting with the puppy on your lap and cuddling. If you do not want the dog to be on the furniture then sit on the floor for this time. This time is critical in bonding for you and the puppy but also remember if this is not provided they will seek it. Putting the puppy in a crate all day and taking it out to go to the bathroom and play with the kids never teaches the puppy how to live in your home. The puppy will jump and nip just saying... please love me love me. Both free roam and cuddle time teaches the puppy how to live in your home and builds a strong relationship.
Children need to be taught how to play with the puppy. This is best done BEFORE the puppy arrives. They need to understand that puppies are different than dogs, puppies jump, chase, nip and so on and it is the job of the entire family to train the puppy to be a good adult dog. This knowledge empowers the children.
Practice BEFORE the puppy arrives these three things. One, the child is going to stand like a tree and ignore the puppy during free roam time. Two, practice what is expected of them when you take the puppy outside to go poop. Where should they be and how should they behave. And three, how do they teach the puppy during play time, remember, playtime must be a designated time during the day. The child should be calm and relaxed, moving in slow motion. The puppy will mirror them, if they are excited they puppy will be excited. Play time is best scheduled after some free roam time so the puppy is tired. The child should be taught how to reach if the puppy jumps up, nips and how to hold and pet the puppy. Use a stuffed animal to show them BEFORE the puppy arrives. Various training techniques are taught in books, I have my own that I go over with my families.
Just as a child needs a schedule to have their best day a puppy needs a schedule. A puppy cannot tell time, so it does not need to be, from 7 to 8 this happens. This also helps the child know when what will happen, this way they are not always asking to play with the puppy when you want them to do something else. The schedule should be written up and resemble this:
- Wake up
- Go outside with co-leader
- Eat ½ their food in their bowl alone and then be feed half their food by leader and child together (read how to do this below)
- Go outside with leader
- Free roam time until school
- In crate while child is taken to school OR go in car to school (leader's lap or in crate)
- Nap, then outside, followed by free roam then out
- Pick up child at school with or without puppy
- Take puppy outside for fetch time with leader only, child watch at window
- Inside playtime with child (supervised)
- Nap, then outside with co-leader
- Evening training with child and co-leader (plan each week what to work on, sit, stay, etc.).
- Evening cuddling with all family members
The schedule should be written before hand but should be adapted to the puppy once it arrives. For example, if the puppy wakes up and is very excited in the evening, add a fetch time to the schedule. The point is to get the puppy on your schedule, but also provide the puppy what he needs individually as well.
As stated in the beginning, look for two types of trainers. Here is my recommendation on becoming the leader.
Summary and excerpts from: A Social Faux Pas: Kids, Puppies, and Dominance by Jennifer Sobie, reprinted with permission.
No more freebies
It is terribly important to keep in mind that effective leadership of your dog hinges upon giving. This is why others choose to follow—because there’s something in it for them. A good leader makes sure the dog that is getting something is made to work for the privilege. This is precisely the concept that works to loft entire families—kids and all—to positions of respect in the eyes of their dogs. It’s the “no more freebies” method. The technique is very simple. A family can teach their over-insolent dog that he’s not quite the high ranking official he thought he was simply by keeping the things he wants and needs from him until he acknowledges a family member and does something for that person.
Of course, the easiest behavior for a person to get from a dog is a sit, and so, logically, the payment a family can ask from their dog is that he sit and stay sitting until he’s told he can have whatever he needs. Again, he’s made to wait until he’s told he can go. If a family can integrate this concept into the day-to-day care of their dog, they will subtly but dramatically change the dynamics of their relationship with that dog. Every time they feed the dog, give him treats, let him out, give him a toy, play a game with him, or, with a very arrogant beast, every time they bestow upon him the gift of their affection and attention, he will be reminded that the people in his family control his environment. By keeping each of these things out of his reach until he sits for one of the family and waits on that person’s signal to take, he’ll learn that people are important and to be indulged. He’ll learn that he must work through them, as opposed to over them.
Making the dog wait isn’t the end of the story. More important is how he’s made to wait. The dog must control himself, as opposed to being physically controlled by the owner. He must learn that he gains things through his family members, not that he is kept from things by them. He can only learn this by taking the initiative himself to keep still with no guidance or interference from the owner. This might sound as if the process is complicated or perhaps even impossible, but it really isn’t. All a person needs to do is to control access to the reward, removing it each time the dog moves before he’s been told he’s able, until the beast teaches himself to keep still. It is actually this aspect of the exercise—that the dog control himself—that both makes the interaction so very impressive to the dog, and that makes it possible for all but the very youngest of children to be an active part of the care of the dog.
Teaching a dog to teach himself to sit and wait for something is a very simple procedure. The principles involved are the absolutely most basic in learning: reinforcement and punishment. And even if you don’t care to grab a text book on learning behavior, you can zero in on the basic nature of these two learning principles just by knowing that if a dog finds a benefit in doing something, either because he gains something he wants or because he is able to make something stop that he does not like, he’ll do it and do it again (reinforcement), and if he finds unpleasantness in doing something, either because it causes him discomfort of some sort or because it causes him to lose something he likes, he won’t do it again (punishment).
The idea in the wait exercise is to teach the dog not to move, and you do that by making moving unpleasant through loss. Remember this is a “wait” and that you have something that your dog wants. Your power is in his desire; if he wants it, he’ll try to figure out how to get it. To teach the dog about not moving (waiting), you simply show him what you’ve got, and then, each time he gets up to grab it, you take the thing away. You teach the dog that getting up causes a loss. This puts the dog in a quandary of sorts, which gives you even more power. You and you alone have the answer to his problem! You control the movement of the goody. As soon as the dog sits still when you know that he wants to move, you can say “Go!” and indicate to him that he can go get the goody. Aren’t you wonderful? Yes you are, and, at the same time, conveniently, sitting is reinforced because the dog gains the goody.
Teaching the sit and “wait”
Grab a dog food bowl, a handful of kibble, and your dog. Let the dog know that you have kibble on your person, and then put the food in the bowl and set it on a chair or counter or anywhere else handy to you. Place your dog into a sit. Once he’s sitting, put one hand on him and one on the food bowl. Next, pick up the food bowl. Tell your dog to “Wait,” let go of his collar or chest, and put the bowl on the floor about two feet in front of him-don’t let go of the bowl. When he gets up, don’t tell him “No” or reach for him. Instead, pick up the bowl. Quickly. Your control of the bowl is your ultimate control of the dog. Then, without talking to the dog or schooling or anything, put him back in the sit and start over. Say “Wait,” let go of the dog, and put down the bowl. Don’t take your hand from the bowl; you must keep it there so you’re ready to snatch it up if he moves. You’ll probably have to do this “pick up the bowl and start over” thing five or more times. But, with each consecutive repetition, you’ll notice a change in your dog’s behavior. He might get up faster at first (frustration), he might lie down (trying a new behavior), he might begin to wait until the instant you take your hand off from the bowl, or he might start looking from the bowl to you and then back again. You simply need to keep repeating the lesson until your dog sits while your hand is off him and off the dog food bowl Then, the moment this happens, say “Go!” and nod toward the bowl to help the dog figure out that he can have the food now. You might have to repeat “Go” more than once.
Waiting is important for everything a dog might want, so it would be a good idea to also practice this when letting your dogs in and out the door. If one of your guys has ever knocked you aside or stepped on your toes as he or she bolted out the door, you might even find this fun. Bring the dog to the door and sit him. If your door opens in and is hinged on the left, you should place the dog on your right—or you’ll end up forcing him to move before he’s earned the privilege simply to avoid the swing of the door. Once he’s sitting, tell him to “Wait,” and then open the door. A door opening is a prompt that says to most dogs to move, so he’ll very likely get up. No problem. Just shut the door in his face. Then sit him back down and start over. Keep it up until you can hold the door open and get through it yourself without the dog moving. Then you can say “Go.” It’s easy to cheat on this door thing. Far more people say “Go” when the dog is already moving (bad thing) if they’re at a door than when they’re in front of a food bowl. I think it’s because they want to go out too. At any rate, don’t do it. Don’t cheat.
Patience and consistency are two elements that your dog needs to receive from you for him to learn. Your dog has to figure out what he can do that will work to get him what he wants as opposed to what he might try that won’t work, and you have to help him make the discovery. To accomplish this, you have to be very consistent in what it is you are punishing, and very consistent in what it is that you are reinforcing. You can’t get discouraged and change the rules. You must be consistent. Very consistent and very specific. You can’t be vague about how close the dog can get to the bowl before it is removed or vague about whether you’re really going to take the bowl away; you must be certain that any and all movement—a slight lift of the rear, a drop of the head forward in preparation to stand—results in a quick retreat of the bowl. Likewise, if your dog is learning to wait at a door, you must shut the door in the dog’s face every time his rear even begins to leave the ground. At the same time, it’s just as important that you are fast and consistent with your reinforcement. If your dog sits there for more than a split second, reinforce his hold of that position! Say “Go!” and motion him toward the bowl or out the door. This part, the reinforcement part, is what gets some people into trouble. The problem is that we sometimes feel as if we need to punish the dog for having tried to move. It seems to make sense that once the dog has tried to move, he has to be even more obedient next time and sit there and be good and think about what he’s done for a couple of seconds before we’ll let him “Go!” However, the real truth is that the dog never was “bad,” he was just ignorant. And, just as importantly, you can’t punish a dog, you can only punish behavior; every time you do something to a dog, you are affecting his behavior. If you make a dog wait too long while he is trying to learn this exercise (particularly the dog that is used to getting what he wants by taking it), the behavior you’ll end up punishing by making him wait too long is the “wait” itself. If he’s trying to figure out how to get what he wants but he discovers that his usual method of lunging doesn’t work in this case, when he tries something new, like not lunging and waiting, if you don’t reinforce that try immediately, he’ll give up on it. After all, it goes against what he’s learned so far through his experiences in his life—which is that lunging works best. The most difficult part of teaching your dog this lesson about waiting is trying not to interfere physically with the dog. It is very important that you remember not to try to stop him from getting up or moving. The truth is this is the only hard part of teaching your dog this lesson. You’ll want to try to stop the dog yourself, but he must stop himself. Your job is to control the thing the dog wants, making certain he can’t reach it or gain it until you say so. The key to teaching a dog self-control is that he learns about the consequence of his actions and not get help in figuring out what he must do to change things.
Ain’t no Stay
The truth is the dog’s self control is so important that it brings up a related issue. The “wait” is by no means a new twist on the “stay” exercise, in fact, the “no moving” part of the waiting exercise is actually incidental—no more than a handy tool for achieving your goal. The important part is the goal, which is to tell the dog “I’ve got control of all the things you need. You must acknowledge me before I’ll let you have these things.” You’re simply achieving this end through the use of the “wait.” For this reason, if a dog needing to learn something about respect has been taught to “stay,” even though capitalizing on this training and telling him “stay” would be the easiest way to get him to “wait,” it would not be a good idea. “Stay” is a wise exercise to teach a dog, coming in quite handy in the most varied of situations, but it is far from the best way to establish a dependent relationship between your dog and yourself. The reason is that a “stay” exercise is taught differently than the “wait” exercise. When teaching a “stay,” a dog is stopped physically each time he attempts to move; your control of his behavior is a physical one. It’s physical, and it isn’t immediately beneficial to the dog himself. In fact, if the dog is thinking about you, he’s probably thinking about how he wishes you would go away so he could do what he wants. However, the control exerted in the “wait” exercise is much more subtle, and its power much more eloquent and practical to the goal of building dependence in a dog. In the waiting exercise, the dog learns that he must control himself. He controls himself for someone, and continues to do so until that person says that he or she is satisfied. The power here is through a creation and nurturing of reliance; you develop dependence through contingencies of desire leading to fulfillment—contingencies of which you are always a key part. To insure that the dog is not confused or gets to thinking about what he learned in his “stay” training, the word “stay” should be avoided when the dog is being taught to acknowledge his owners through the “wait” exercise. In fact, if he has learned “stay” well, he should be given a new word entirely, one such as “hold” or “keep.”
Kids and treats
Families have kids—that’s one of the things that get them defined as families—and kids should always be a special priority when teaching a dog about respect. Regardless of what anyone might tell you, a dog cannot be made to believe that children are not juvenile; dogs are an intimate part of a family and they notice all interactions within that family. They know that the kids are kids. But they don’t need to take advantage of them. Children can be taught how to make a dog wait, and their subsequent control of the dog will help dramatically in the dynamics between themselves and the dog. For this to work best though, children should use treats instead of the food bowl. Treats work great with kids because they can hold the goodies in their hands. This eliminates the problems of the child not being able to lift the bowl. It works like this. You give the treat to the child and tell her that it’s for the dog, but that the dog cannot earn it nor have it unless he does not try to take it. He must be polite and wait until he’s told he can have it. She’ll close her pudgy little hand over the goody and stand expectantly in front of the dog. Children do not understand that dogs don’t speak English, and they trust that their dog will know what they’re telling him because the people in their lives do. For this reason, it will work best to place the dog in a sit yourself, and then tell the child to tell him to “wait.” Make sure she knows that the dog needs to see the treat, but that he isn’t allowed to steal it from her.
Once the dog notices she has the treat, he’ll try to grab it. The instant that the dog’s head moves, have her close her fist up tight and snatch it high above into the air, away from the dog. She should hold it there until the dog is seated again. She can then lower her hand and open her fist before the dog, and try again. The dog will catch on. The child will teach the dog not just to sit and wait, but to sit politely, not even reaching toward the treat with his nose. In fact, the biggest problem kids have is not that they can’t get the dog to wait, but that they don’t remember to tell the dog that he can take the treat when they’re ready to let him. But of course, an adult could help here. And don’t worry when the kids don’t remember to tell the dog he can move or they use the wrong word to tell him so. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t all that big of a deal if the same word is always used as a “Go” word. It only matters that the kids give some signal that the dog can interpret as a release.
To make things as easy as possible on your nerves, all you have to do is think about what you want the dog to do and don’t want the dog to do versus the behavior behind all of these actions. Remember, make the dog wait and keep himself still. This means that any movement seen before you've said “Go” must have an undesired consequence for the dog; that is, if the dog moves, the bowl or food must be snatched up and away from him. Then anytime the dog keeps himself still, no matter how long, his choice must be reinforced with “Go!” and the chance to go to the food.
As a family is teaching their dog to wait for them, they might find that the dog hasn’t read this article himself, and he has his own creative interpretations on how things are going to be done. They’ll be better prepared to deal with his creativity if it doesn’t come as a complete surprise. “Huh?” The most common problem is one that is seen in situations where a dog has tried to gobble the food a number of times when he was supposed to be waiting. This dog has seen his goodies taken from him and has been replaced in the sit quite a bit, and, through these experiences, he has learned that it does him no good to try to move. The problem then is that this dog won’t immediately understand that hearing “Go!” changes his situation in any way. When he is finally told “Go!” he’ll simply stay sitting there drooling at his bowl with a blank stare. This blank stare thing can be rather a let-down, as anti-climactic as it tends to be. But it’s not really a problem; instead, it’s an opportunity to teach the dog even more things—things like what “Go!” means. Dogs aren’t born knowing that “Go!” means that they can move. It might seem obvious to us humans, but it isn’t obvious to a dog. He will have to learn it. The dog can be helped to learn the meaning of the word “Go!” in one of two ways. The first way is for the person saying “Go!” to simply be patient, and repeat the word every 5 seconds or so until the dog finally moves. Repeating the word won’t help the dog with spontaneous deduction, but it will make it likely that he will hear “Go!” just before he does move. Sooner or later he will connect the two. Another method is for the dog to be gestured toward the bowl with a hand movement as he hears “Go!” This movement will encourage the dog to move. Once he is moving consistently on “Go!” combined with a hand signal, the signal can be faded by gradually lessening the distance the person swings his or her hand toward the bowl.
Sit and go
Another common debacle is that the person doing the training will say “Go!” in that split second wherein the dog gave up on sitting and started to get up on his own. Unfortunately, this will mess up the training because it will change the entire focus of the exercise. Even though the timing was so close, letting the dog get up on his own will reinforce his initiative to take, instead of reinforcing his initiative to please his owners so that he can receive. What will happen is that when the exercise is quickly repeated, the dog won’t sit for much time at all. He’ll have figured out that to get the food, he needs to sit and then go for it. Of course, just because the beast beats us to the punch one or two times in training doesn’t have to mean the end of the world or that he’ll take to eating small children, it just means that it will require a bit more time to achieve success that day. “Go where?” When first learning to wait, some dogs (particularly puppies) will forget why it is that they’re waiting. Their teacher will say “Go!” and they’ll spring up and away, and right on past their food bowl. This is a time when you’re left with a blank stare. At any rate, the biggest problem with this is not the behavior itself, but the implications of the behavior. If the dog does not want the food, he’s probably waiting only because of some physical restraint from his teacher, and restraint will not help the relationship between the dog and his owners in the way that dependence will. The exercise should then be repeated while close attention is paid to the trainer’s actions to see what might be happening that is making the dog believe that it’s in his best interest to sit still. Once it has been figured out whether or not the dog is being influenced physically, the exercise should be tried with something the dog definitely wants, like a toy, a piece of liver, or a chance to go outdoors. “I Quit” Puppies catch on to waiting very quickly, but they often create a small problem for their trainers while learning. Before they’ve accomplished waiting and being told “Go!” they give up on ever getting the food or they actually forget what they’re doing. Once they’ve had the bowl taken away from them a couple of times because they’ve lunged at it, they lose interest in the food and they do things like fl op to the ground or jump on you or plod off in the opposite direction. In short, they switch their attention to doing anything fun that comes to mind. This kind of thing very rarely happens with adult dogs, but then adult dogs have learned to focus their attention and they’ve learned about the rewards of persistence, whereas puppies have not. The answer here is to capture and keep the puppy’s attention. This can be done by placing the bowl fairly close to the puppy and tapping it with a finger to make it interesting, or even by giving the pup a freebee. Letting him snatch a treat or two will get him believing that he can indeed succeed in getting the food, and it will give him a reason to want it. “I don’t care, I didn’t want it anyway” When a dog believes that he is to be king, it isn’t a conviction easily forgotten or abandoned. An overtly dominant dog will learn to give his respect to another, but it won’t happen overnight. In fact, though he will likely learn to wait very quickly because he is used to figuring out what he needs to do to get what he wants, he will probably stop waiting in a few days, like he’s had some great lapse of memory prodigious to veterinary medicine. In fact, what has happened is that he’s beginning to feel the pressure and figure out the story, and he’s rebelling. At a time when your average dog would be fitting into the groove and beginning to look to his owners even when he isn’t made to dos o, this dog is refusing to hand over his control. The thing to do is to ignore the dog. If he doesn’t want to wait, he doesn’t get. If the issue is dropped and the dog is left holding an empty bag often enough, he’ll come around. He likely won’t be found to sit without being told when he sees things he wants (as most dogs learn to do in no time at all), but he’ll come around to waiting.
The road best traveled
The Sit and “Wait” exercise is a viable solution to the problem of family dynamics and dogs. Ultimately, as a result of this extra step in the day-to-day care of their dog, you will have a dog that chooses to make decisions through each of the people in his family, a dog who thinks of going to his people when he wants or needs something instead of simply taking it for himself. To the dog, the role his humans fill in his life will be very much like that of a good boss to a person on the job: he will look to his owners for what he wants, not simply because he can’t get anything without them, but because he perceives that they are his benefactors and that things turn out better for him if he seeks his people for them. And I will have peace of mind. That you have excellent relationships with their dogs—happy dogs, happy people, I like that end.
Puppy Socialization: 9 Easy Steps to Help Ensure a Well-Rounded Puppy
By Marc Street, Veteran dog trainer and owner of The Happy Dog, reprinted with permission
Once you bring a new puppy into your home, you need to be aware of his special needs. Dogs are social animals, and instinctively have a need to bond with their 'pack'. Your puppy needs to learn how to respond to you, but also to other dogs. Here are some simple things you can do to ensure that your puppy becomes a welcomed member of the canine society and your home.
- Touch your puppy. Puppies need to be handled. Rub their ears, massage their paws, get them used to being poked and prodded. By getting your puppy used to being touched, visits to the vet and groomer become easier. The more you do this the more likely your puppy will be accustomed to being touched, and will be less likely to resist.
- Pass your puppy. Your puppy should meet 100 people before he's 6 months old. Pass the puppy becomes a game. A new puppy is hard to resist, which is good for him. Let others hold him, pet him, touch his ears, the pads of his feet, etc. Remember that when you pass a puppy to someone, make sure that they are supporting your puppy and have a good hold on him before you let go. The last thing you want to do while socializing your puppy is drop him, which could be a traumatizing experience for the puppy and all!
- Feed your puppy. Your puppy needs to accept your presence around his food bowl. You can avoid future problems by not allowing your puppy to become protective of his food bowl. A dog that becomes protective of his food may become aggressive when approached. If your puppy does act protective, take it as a warning sign and seek professional help ASAP. Work to get him used to your presence while he is eating.
- Play with your puppy. Spend time with your puppy. Teach him games such as fetch and hide & seek. Take your puppy's toys away from him. He needs to learn to accept that you can take his toys. By doing so at an early age, you are helping your puppy not to become protective of his toys. If your puppy becomes aggressive when you take away his toys, your red flags should go up. Seek professional help; behavior like this will not go away on its own.
- Teach your puppy. Every puppy should know some basic commands. SIT, DOWN, COME, DROP IT, and LEAVE IT. Take a "puppy kindergarten" class as soon as you get your puppy. It's a great place to start, and it should be a lot of fun for all. Do some research and ask around to find a reputable trainer.
- Roll your puppy. When playing with your puppy, roll him over onto his side. Hold him there for a few seconds and then let him go. If he struggles don't let him go. You're trying to teach him that physically he can't over power you. When a dog is on his side, he is in a submissive position. By placing your puppy in this position, he learns that you are the dominant member of his pack, and that he can trust you. He will learn that nothing bad will happen when he allows himself to be vulnerable to you. Make this a fun part of every day.
- Puppy play groups. Many people think that they need to shelter their puppy as you would a baby, which leads many dogs to grow up unable to socialize with other dogs. By getting your puppy into a "puppy playgroup" at an early age, he will learn how to interact with others. It's never too soon for your new puppy to meet other puppies.
- Kids and puppies. Puppies need to learn how to behave around children. Children need to learn how to behave around puppies. Your puppy needs to learn that a toddler pulling his tail is allowed, and that snapping in response to a tug is not allowed. Children need to be taught not to pull puppies' tails, or they may get snapped at. It's a fine line, however there is a mutual respect that all puppies and kids need to learn early on. Never leave a child unattended with any dog at any time. It only takes a second for a disaster to happen.
- Your frightened puppy. Remember that puppies, like toddlers, are learning everything for the first time. The first time they hear a loud noise or something scares them, they will retreat and be afraid. Your first reaction is to smother them with 'It's OK' and lots of attention. Don't. Act like nothing happened. By drawing attention to his fright, he will grow to be afraid of everything. Let your puppy realize that the noise he heard wasn't that big of a deal, and he will learn to recover from startling situations quickly.
Marc Street is a Rainmaker Ranch Recommend Trainer located in West Palm Beach FL, he can be found at Very Important Paws.