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Puppy Training Starts When the Puppy Crosses the Threshold
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Saturday, January 27, 2024
 

Editor’s Note: Some of you welcomed a puppy into your families over the Christmas holidays. Others will be bringing one home as winter recedes and spring beckons. Fran Jewell, a dog behavior consultant and NADOI certified instructor and national vice president, kept a diary of what transpired when she introduced a new puppy into her home a few years ago. Hopefully, it will offer some food for thought for others.

BY FRAN JEWELL

As many of my clients know, I am bringing home a puppy this Thanksgiving week.  He will be the first puppy for ME in seven years!

There have been a lot of puppies in this house, but all have been service dog candidates. This new little guy is Kalidor. He is a 9-weeks-old, long coat, black German Shepherd.

I want to dispel the myth that puppies will take months to house-train to stop biting, and that obedience training shouldn’t start until a puppy is 6 -8 months old!  I thought what might be fun is for my readers to see what I do with my puppies in a weekly diary!

This week, my focus will be on teaching him his name, teaching him about marker training or clicker training, house training and crate training. I will teach him: No jumping and no biting, “sit”, “down”, “come” and “watch.” And I will socialize him with my pack. Sound ambitious?  Not really.  Many of these things I can combine very quickly.

First thing is going to be teaching him to recognize his name and come running when he hears it.  I will wait until he is hungry, put him on a leash so I have him close at hand, then simply say his name and give him food from my hand.

I want him to see that his name equals food.  At the same time, I will not give him food if he is jumping or biting me. As this is going on, I slip in a click with the clicker as he is taking his food for his name.  As he learns that “Kalidor” means food, I back away.  As I say his name, he follows the food. Then I introduce the word, “Come,” while he is in the process of coming toward me.  This is the only time I say “come” for several week. It is not yet a command.

When he knows click means food, I can introduce “watch” and “sit”.  I take him to the door with a leash on and wait for him to look at me.  When he looks up, he will surely sit.  I click and treat for sit and say “sit”.  When he looks up for another treat, I click/treat for looking at me and say “watch”.

Then we run outside to the place I want him to go potty. I wait for him to relieve himself. When he does, I click, name it and wait for him to “come” running back to me for that treat.

When he gets to me, I wait for him to sit, click/treat. Then I wait for him to watch me again. He gets one treat for relieving himself outdoors, sitting, watching me and refraining from jumping.

Then, we run outside to the place I want him to go potty. I wait for him to relieve himself. When he does, I click, name it, and wait for him to “come” running back to me for that treat. When he gets to me, I wait for him to sit, click/treat.  Then I wait for him to watch me again. He gets one treat for relieving himself outdoors, sitting, watching me, and no jumping!  

--Fran Jewell owns Positive Puppy Dog Training. You can reach her at 208-721-7221.

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