Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
DIY Puppy Training Part 7 Daily Tuition
Kathryn Hollings puppy Osito is now 13 weeks. With all her training he can sit, stand, down (flat), come, stay, and does an enthusiastic retrieve for his rope toy (called Dolly) that would put any competition dog to shame. In addition, he can now use his nose to find a toy thrown into long grass using scent detection. He will even go looking for Dolly when commanded to do so. He will offer a paw for a treat and at his mealtime willingly give you both of them. He barks on command and knows not to enter Kathrynís bedroom.
Though not taught competition style Heel Work, his walking by her side without pulling using a normal lead is a joy to watch. When Kathryn holds a squeaky toy Osito will do off the lead Heel Work that would disgrace many competition dogs. This is because of his eagerness and oblivious to all things other than walking perfectly by Kathrynís side, watching her hand.
He does not jump up on people he meets and he will willingly meet anyone. He is so secure within the infinite pack he will walk along with anyone until Kathryn calls him. He will play with everybody and any dog that would like to play with him. A few dogs are not so keen but in the majority, Osito loves to play with those that do.
He has seen the many doves in the Altea gardens without wishing to chase them. He seems oblivious to cats and Kathryn has taken him to see many animals that most puppies never ever see. She took him to the local Safari park where he did bark at the big cats and for one odd reason barked at the Gnu but for the rest they just looked at each other.
In the interaction area, he met potbelly pigs, small horses including a donkey that tried to head but him, various deer, as well as some more ferrets again. This is all part of teaching for the infinite pack so he does not have fear of animals or humans and does not learn territorial protectionism.
One advantage for Osito is meeting my dog Winston. He has been like an instructor progressively teaching him all the normal doggy games. From a puppy that initially lacked coordination skills Winston has gradually taught him to improve these like a Karate instructor teaching a novice. Initially Winston was careful but to watch them playing tag now with one another is at such speeds we would never have conceived from their first meeting.
In my working trails days I found that my experienced dogs taught my puppy the necessary skills far more quickly than I could. I would teach a search square by letting my puppy watch my older dog working and receiving praise. This encouraged the puppy to wish to play the same game. Using the natural competition between them, puppies learn at a must faster rate.
To achieve the same sort of skills taught to Osito in these few weeks the most important need is neither instructorís skills nor the fact puppies learn faster during this 8 to 14 weeks, though these help, it is in fact the requirement for owners to make the time needed to train their puppy.
If you are prepared to follow this type of training, you too will achieve a very sociable dog in only 4 to 6 weeks without the need for any further Obedience training classes unless you are particularly interested in eventually entering competition.
The Daily Routine
When Kathryn leaves her bedroom in the morning, she meets Osito with his tail wagging away in pleasure. Once the greeting is over, she then takes him to the kitchen for his first of his meals. Once this is finished, she takes him outside to go to the toilet.
He then plays in the garden until tired and then goes inside and flops down on his bed into a deep sleep. When he next wakes, he again goes outside to go to the toilet then it is into the car to the Arenal or local shops or new areas like Javea port. The intention is for Osito to meet everyone and everything possible. In safe walk areas Osito is off the lead and he will follow Kathryn until she lets him meet people who show an interest in meeting this happy puppy. He has met so many people now when they approach from the front he rarely backs away. He loves people fussing and stroking him so much so he now approaches people.
When either Kathryn sits at a bar for a coffee Osito will paddle about meeting people or he sits or sleeps under the table. Puppies only have a limited energy action time then it is important they sleep. If you can synchronise coffee time with these times needed for a nap it is possible to drink your coffee in peace.
After the first walk, it is home again for the next meal then again outside for the toilet then a little more play before disappearing indoors and falling fast asleep.
When next he wakes it is again outside to the toilet then back out to a new place like Denia, Moraria, Calpe, Altea, or even Benidorm. All these trips are just for Osito to walk along the fronts of these towns and meet more and more people who because he is a puppy wish to meet him.
You will find you cannot walk very far before the majority of people will come forward to meet your puppy. People just cannot resist fussing over puppies we love them because they are so appealing.
One command not often used outside at this age is the come command. Simply walking away will bring your puppy to you. It is not for you to chase after your puppy: Why? To do so is to play a game of chase. If you see your puppy start to play this game then walk away. This is signifying the end to the game and for its safety; your puppy will follow you.
Do practice the come command in your home for his meal or to play with a toy. Drum it into your puppy that "Come" means good things like titbits, praise, or both. Never ever, use "Come" to chastise your puppy.
After this second walk, it is time to return home for his next meal then out again to the toilet. Next it is playing with his retrieve toy until he is tired and flops back to sleep on his mattress.
When he next wakes Osito sometimes plays with Winston for an hour or Kathryn takes him out for yet another walk but this time in the dark. It does make a difference to a puppy walking with lots of people milling about in the dark than in the day. Try it and you will see what I mean.
On one occasion with Osito at 12 weeks and having heard a noise CD, bursting balloons and Party Poppers Kathryn took him to a professional firework display. With all the noise, the colours and people standing about watching the display Osito was far more interested in eating his titbits.
I went with her to Benidorm the other week and whilst walking along the front there was an unexpected daylight display of fireworks. Osito paid no attention and yet a few passers by thought this was cruel to have him there. How can it be cruel when any dog can often come across unexpected wedding fireworks or a professional display around any corner? This is Spain where fireworks are almost an everyday occurrence. Dogs need to learn to tolerate such displays.
The other night I heard the worst thunderstorm I have heard here and Kathryn said that Osito was unperturbed whilst my dog Winston did show some concern at the very loud bangs that engulfed us.
Police and competition dogs learn to accept loud gunfire as part of their life. They learn to adapt to loud noise and they even enjoy the sound as it signifies it is fun time.
With the final walk of the day, it was home with the last meal, last toilet and for Osito to flop onto his mattress to sleep soundly getting ready for the next exciting day.