Starting Puppies

Puppies.  I LOVE puppies!  Besides puppy raising service dogs in order to help make a huge difference in someone's life, I do it because- PUPPIES!  I have learned so much on what to do, what not to do, and what to just take a deep breath and relax about.

Today's dog agility blog day is on Starting Your Puppy.  I was almost tempted to just repost the one I did for Backyard Agility when I wrote on Foundational Tricks.  Or my even earlier post on My #1 Advice.  But I'll write something new just for you.

1.  Don't be so worried about ruining your puppy that you fail to start training/doing something.  Because I pretty much raise a new puppy every single year and get to train tons more teenage dogs, I've had a lot of room for experimentation.  I think I've taught the stand cue using 4 different methods and the retrieve countless more ways.  While there have been times where I've said Ok, I'm not doing that again!  (as in Gracie's crotch punching, but perfectly straight front), nothing has been so bad that the puppy broke!  So train, experiment, and learn something along the way.

 2.  Talk and insert yourself into your training sessions.  Clicker training doesn't have to be done in a sterile environment.  While you want your puppy to have time to think and problem solve, don't hesitate to support your puppy and certainly use your voice and hands to show your pleasure!  When you're happy and you know it clap your hands!?  Seriously, make sure training is not just about the food or the toy but is about spending time with you.

3.  Socialization is not just about exposure.  It's about creating POSITIVE experiences.  In your quest to have the most outgoing and confident puppy ever, make sure to actually look at your puppy and ask how he feels it about it all.  Pass the puppy might be great for the wiggling and face licking Labrador, and it may be downright terrifying for your little one.  When in doubt, go with the new things as furniture approach.  Furniture isn't scary, it isn't anything to pull and whine with excitement towards.  It just exists.  So yes, it's OK to tell people they can't mob your puppy!  Just tell them you're working on focus exercises.

Make sure to go visit the rest of the blogs!

andrea  – ( March 5, 2014 at 10:33 AM )  

I love that notion - they aren't going to break - so so much - wish I'd thought to say it!

Geraldin Francis  – ( March 6, 2014 at 4:35 AM )  

I really love the puppies, so so so cute!! :D though I have dogs but they're all grown ups. I have a shih tzu and she's really adorable also. Looking forward on reading more from your posts. Thanks

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