Puppy Pre School - Week 2
Establish the basics then start to add more commands
Continue training of sit exercise. Intervals between food rewards should vary with longer lengths of time being expected sometimes.
Add the Recall (or come when called). Refer to separate notes. Your aim at this early stage is simply to build an association to the command, “COME”.
Commence training the puppy to lay down on command. Use the food treats to lure the puppy into a laying down position – praise and pay. Take the right hand with the food, directly out in front of the puppy and pay further rewards for holding the position – in the same manner used in teaching the puppy to hold the sitting position. Take care: if you take the food above your puppy’s head, at this stage, he will most likely sit up.
Please ensure that you use food treats on every occasion this week – we will discuss progression from using food every time, at next week’s class. You can progress the exercise this week by introducing the command “down” or “drop”, given in a lowered voice. Only introduce the command when you are confident that the puppy will then lie down.
Timing is important to build an association between the command and the behaviour: give the command before lowering your hand to the ground to lure the puppy into lying down. Also, gradually increase the puppy’s ability to hold the down position while you become upright, even when the food hand is taken out of the puppy’s sight, behind your leg, momentarily.
Think about any unwanted behaviours that your puppy is currently performing at home. Instead of trying to stop the undesirable behaviour, think about what behaviour you would like the puppy to offer in that particular scenario and then go about training it.
Nipping and biting is a necessary phase for the puppy to experience in order to learn bite inhibition. It is vitally important that you let the puppy know that our skin is so sensitive that any touch of their teeth causes us pain. You can yelp like another puppy or use the human equivalent, “ow”, whilst pulling your hand away. This technique may not help in the instance of the biting, but will provide long-term learning in bite inhibition.
To interrupt the biting at the time you can offer an alternative, more appropriate toy, playing fetch or tug-o-war. Remember, it is important that your puppy learns to give you the toy on request – “give” or “leave”.
If the puppy insists on continuing to bite you, try time-out; in another room or in the “control position” ie sitting on your left hand side: right hand to the collar and left hand to the bottom to gain control without the use of food rewards. Puppy is only released from control position or from other room when relaxed and behaving perfectly for at least ten seconds. Children under the age of 12 will find this exercise impossibly difficult – it is imperative that an adult supervises all interactions and deals with the puppy’s inappropriate behaviours.
Ensure that your puppy is getting plenty of raw, meaty bones and chew toys to help him/her work those nasty needle-sharp teeth out of the gums – happens around four to six months.