Puppy Pre School - Week 4
Stay consistent in your training and follow the training 'rules of thumb'
Calling puppy to “come” away from great distractions. The command is not optional. Always follow through on your command and insist on the correct response.
If you have been consistent with not allowing the puppy to leave the sit or down positions until released, the Stay exercise will be easier.
Start with having the puppy hold the control position on your left hand side, on a relaxed lead – use your right hand on the collar or lead and your left hand on the puppy’s bottom to gain the control position. Do not commence training the stay until your puppy is accepting of the control position and you have his attention.
With the food rewards and the lead in your left hand above the puppy’s head, use your free right hand to give a stay signal and command. Praise the puppy immediately, whilst reaching for a food reward. Repeat several times until you are confident the puppy understands to hold position, waiting for the food reward.
Now introduce a movement of your right foot, after you have told the puppy to stay, praising immediately after the command to keep the puppy focused. Repeat several times. Now, after commanding stay, step out on the right foot and face the puppy – return to beside the puppy before you pay food reward. (Paying from in front of the puppy is too similar to the recall and will have the puppy wanting to follow you as you move further away.) Repeat several times. When confident; progress to stepping further away from the puppy.
The Stay exercise will need to be progressed on three levels: distance, duration and distractions. Strengthen each area individually and then gradually combine them – always building on success.
A couple of training “rules of thumb” that I follow:
If the puppy makes the same mistake twice, do not let it make that same mistake a third time. Go back, making it easier for the puppy to be successful and then more gradually progress to achieve success.
When any animal is learning (including ourselves), a success rate of at least 80% is necessary to maintain confidence and interest. If your puppy’s failure rate is more than 20%, they will soon lose interest. Go back; make it easier for them to get it right.
If you haven’t already, invest in a good quality chest harness or head-halter, for walking your dog. There are various brands available
Continue to regularly perform mini health checks on your puppy. Investigate his ears, eyes, teeth, mouth, feet, abdomen, and genital areas. Know how each of these body parts feel and look, so that you are more likely to detect a health problem early. Perform your health checks on top of your washing machine – it is a similar height and feel to the Vet’s stainless steel table.