A very good booklet to
download for free By Dr. Ian
Toilet training your puppy
When I’m toilet training a young puppy I make sure that I take them out to "go” when they’ve woken from sleep, just after they’ve eaten, after a playtime, and at regular intervals throughout the day. I take them on lead, to the place I want them to use. I have a treat or two in my pocket, and I repeat over and over, "wee wee!". When the puppy does its duty, I say "Yessss!!" and reward and pet them. .
By having the pup on lead, it doesn’t get distracted by other things and start wandering about. It also makes it easier for you to find the "deposits" to clean up. The reason I say "quick-quick" is so that later on, you can get your dog to toilet before you go out and leave the pup, by using this cue. (This is how they train Guide Dogs for the Blind, here in Victoria)
One of the most common mistakes new puppy owners make, is NOT taking their pups outside IMMEDIATELY they get up in the morning, and IMMEDIATELY after a long time away. At these times, not only will your pup be very excited, but it will probably need to go to the toilet. If you choose these times, to "have a little play and a cuddle", the puppy will most certainly have an "accident" before you get it outside
If you get up in the morning, open and close doors, flush the toilet, have a shower, and THEN go to your pup, you will find that they have already made a puddle. That’s because, when they wake, they need to toilet! After many litters of puppies, which are inside, I reckon I have this down to a fine art. Before I go to bed at night, I put out my dressing gown and slippers. As soon as I wake in the morning, I quickly (and quietly) put on the gown and slippers and go to my puppies. They are usually asleep until I open the door to their room, so I can take them outside before any accidents happen.
How long does it take to toilet train a pup? It depends on how diligent the owner is. If you’re away for most of the day and your pup has to use the newspapers, it will take longer. The pup left to use newspaper will eventually mature enough so that it doesn’t need to eliminate quite so often. As long as the owner takes this pup outside before leaving it, and as soon as they come home again, it will be "housetrained". The pup who is put outside to toilet more often during the day, will learn quickly that outside is the place to toilet, and will begin to let its owner know when it wants to go out. Once your pup learns that outside is the place to "go", it will begin to give you some sort of sign that it wants to go out.
I’ve had dogs that paw at the door, ones that would give a little bark while sitting at the door, and a couple who would just sit at the door and wait silently. If you have a pup that sits quietly at the door, you have to be very aware of where they are at all times. My dogs are usually with me or in their beds when inside, so if they’re not in those two places, they’re probably at the door - waiting. I COULD teach them to use
their "speak" to let me know when they want to go outside - if I want that behaviour, it’s entirely UP TO ME to teach my dog - it doesn’t always "just happen!" Never punish the pup for toileting in the wrong place, instead praise and treat for the right place.
A crate is one of the best purchases you can make - for you and for your dog. If you "crate train" your puppy correctly, it will become his place of comfort, safety, warmth and security. Your pup will already be sleeping in one of our crates with a litter mate before he leaves so should be happy to go in.
Pups and dogs sleep for many hours of the day, and it’s good for them to have an area where they won’t be disturbed or accidentally stepped on. The crate will also be useful to keep your pup in, when you are busy and can’t watch him. Put him in his crate with a chew toy and he won’t get into mischief while you’re not watching.
If you have children, and the puppy needs a rest, putting him in the crate and letting the children know that he is not to be disturbed, will save your puppy from getting "cranky" from the over stimulation that children can sometimes provide.
If at any time, your dog needs to stay at the vets for any length of time, he will probably be put in a pen of some kind. If your dog is used to a crate, this will be less of a trauma. When you travel with your puppy, it’s very convenient to take the pen with you so that the puppy can be confined in a safe area, whether indoors or out.
Make sure that the crate you select is large enough for your dog (when fully grown) to turn around, stand up or lie down comfortably. A portable or airline crate may be more convenient if you wish to travel with your dog, taking the crate with you. Put some nice soft bedding in the crate and allow your puppy to "investigate" it. Before putting your puppy in the crate, decide on a "command" that you will always use when you want your puppy to go into the crate, maybe "into bed" or just "crate". You decide, but always use the same command. When your puppy has had a chance to sniff the crate, place him in the crate, giving your "command". Close the door, praise the puppy, and give him a treat. Then let him out. Try luring your pup into the crate with a treat and when he is in, close the door, praise him and give him a treat. Let him out. (If he doesn’t follow the treat into the crate, place the puppy in the crate again) Repeat until you have the puppy going into the crate with almost no help from you. Practise this several times a day until your puppy has the idea, and then you can start working on leaving him in there. Firstly, leave your puppy in the crate, with the door closed for 5 minutes, before letting him out. Then, some hours later, try 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and so on. Each time you return to let your pup out of the crate, tell him what a good pup he’s been, before you open the door and let him out.
Remember never to use the crate for punishment - it’s meant to be a good place for your dog to go.
I like to have my puppy crate in a "secure" area with the door open most of the time. I make sure that there is water available and some newspapers on the floor, in case the pup needs to toilet when I’m not there. A pups natural instinct is NOT to soil its bed (crate).
Examining your puppy
You need to be able to touch your puppy all over its body to prepare the pup for vet and groomer visits, and also ensure that you can examine every part of your pup to check for fleas, wounds etc. If you only ever pat your dog on the head and back, you can be missing vital signs of injury or illness.
There are also grass seeds that can get between your pups toes, into its ears or eyes, up its nose, etc. These seeds can pierce the dog’s skin, and cause nasty (and costly) problems. If your dog will not be examined while you search for these seeds, it can be almost impossible to detect them before the damage is done.
To get your pup used to handling, start by gently rolling the pup onto its back. (This is a submissive position for the pup to be in, and you are in the dominant position - some pups don’t like that. This is a good time to show them who’s BOSS!)
Hold the puppy in position, while you run your hand over its body.
Check the armpits, the tummy, the "private areas", tail and inside ears (smell them), check its eyes and put your fingers inside its mouth to check the teeth.
(You’ll need to keep an eye on the pup’s teeth, because you need to make sure that its "baby teeth" have fallen out before those second teeth are in place)
If your puppy struggles when you put it on its back, make sure you don’t let it up, while it is struggling!!! Only let the puppy up, when it is STIL
There’s no need to treat your puppy roughly if it struggles - that might make it struggle more! Just keep your hands firmly but not tightly in place, until the pup is still. Then let it up.
It is very important to be able to examine your dog completely.
YOU have to be vigilant, because you are responsible for your pups health.
Bathing & nail clipping
Puppies should not be bathed until they are at least one month of age and you need to be careful that they don’t get chilled. Have lots of nice large towels to wrap puppy in after the bath. I like to get them used to a hairdryer right from the start. Have it on a low heat and blow setting, and talk to the puppy in a "soft/fun" voice if you think it may be a little afraid. Always be firm but gentle, when introducing your puppy to something new like baths and drying with hairdryers.
When washing their faces, do one side at a time so that the puppy can always have one eye open to see what’s happening. Make sure that you keep shampoo out of eyes! I use a hose with spray attachment which I can attach to the taps over the basin or bath and I stand the pup on a rubber mat so that they don’t slip. I can direct the spray to the exact place I want the water to go, so it doesn’t go in their ears or eyes.
When using the spray attachment, I can soap, lather and spray clear, as I go. Make sure that you use a proper Puppy Shampoo. You can use a pure soap or baby soap but my first preference would be sodium Lauryl sulphate free Shampoo. Whatever you use, make sure that it is THOROUGHLY rinsed out, so that the pup’s skin is not irritated. Make sure that you keep puppy warm after its bath.
This is a good time to trim nails, because they are softer. Taking a little bit of nail every week or two, is much better than leaving it for a month or so, and needing to take more off. Many dogs have black nails, so it’s hard to see where the "quick" is located. If you let the nails grow too long, the dog’s foot cannot be placed properly, because the nails hit the ground before the pad of the foot. If you’ve let the nails get too long, you can’t just clip off half the nail, because they will most certainly bleed (and it will hurt the dog!). As the nail gets longer, the quick comes further down the nail too. So, to keep the nails in good order, a little bit, often, is the best way to go.
When it comes to nail clipping time, I have some treats ready. I gently put my fingers between the pup’s toes until I get a firm hold of one nail. Then I clip, and treat, and LAUGH!! "Isn’t this fun!!" Then I wait a minute until the pup is relaxed again, and do another nail. (You don’t have to do ALL the nails at one time - start with one foot a day, so that it doesn’t become a battle)
You may find, however, that your puppy behaves better if you trim his nails when he’s on the table for other grooming.
Some pups don’t mind having their nails clipped, but others can scream even when you’re "between" nails. So, a little bit of patience when they’re young, can make a difficult job, easier.
You may even find that it’s easier for you, and your puppy, if you file the nails instead of clipping them.
Bones, dogs & people
Yo and your family need to be able to take food away from your dogs. This is something I ask the members of my Puppy Classes to "test" fairly soon after they acquire their pup. I think of it as a safety issue, as much as a way of emphasizing your position in the pack. A top dog can ALWAYS take food away from any other dog in the pack - if it couldn’t, it wouldn’t stay top dog for long.
To Start with, cut up food, something a bit special, and put it on the bench. Give the bowl of food to the dog containing about one-third of their meal. When the dog is almost finished this, pick up the bowl, and put another third of the meal in it, with a piece of cheese on top. Give this to the dog. (Try to be fairly quick). When the dog is nearly finished this amount, take the bowl again, and put the last third of the meal in it, and another piece of cheese on top. Give the bowl to the dog. Make sure that you’re taking the bowl while there’s still some food left in it -for this test, there’s no point in taking it when it’s empty.) The dog soon learns that you taking the bowl of food doesn’t mean that he won’t get it back. Therefore he doesn’t have to protect it from you. He learns that not only does he get MORE food put in the bowl, but that he may get a special morsel as well! Good stuff! Once you’re quite satisfied that there’s no problem with taking the bowl of food from your dog, you might only do this "once in a blue moon", just to check. Then you need to be able to take a bone from your dog. For some reason, dogs can often be OK with you taking their food bowl away but will try to stop you taking their bone. I believe that this needs to be dealt with, because if you ever have someone else try to take your dogs bone, (perhaps a visiting child) they could be bitten..
There are two ways of dealing with this.
One is to offer your dog a treat, while it’s chewing on a bone. Reach for the bone as your dog reaches for the treat, and take the bone away. Wait a moment, and then return the bone. If the dog is leaping for the bone, say, "leave it" and don’t return the bone, until the dog sits quietly. I should warn you here, that even with a treat, some dogs would still try to bite you when you reach for that bone. THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED!! You should have some idea of how serious your dog will be in protecting it’s bone. If you think the dog may attempt to bite you, make sure you’re wearing thick gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself. Even the sweetest pup can hurt you if it decides not to let you have this bone. Keep your strongest hand free, to grab the dog, and reach for the bone with your weaker hand. Be in such a position that you can grab the dog by the scruff of the neck with your strong hand if it should attempt to bite you. That sudden stillness, a low growl or bearing of the teeth, will alert you that you need to be careful. You must not show fear - you need to have that "how dare you!!" attitude if your dog threatens you. If the dog "goes at you" when you reach for the bone, grab him/her by the scruff of the neck, and with your sternest tone, say "NO!!" and hold the dog still, while you pick up the bone. You don’t need to shake the dog, but you may want to push him/her to the ground if you feel it’s necessary. Hold the dog there until it calms down, but if it goes for you again, do the same thing again. OUR dogs know NOT to do this as they are taught as pups. YOU must always be the TOP DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you have a puppy that is biting and nipping, you’ll need to teach it that this is not allowed.
The first thing to watch, is that your hand movements are not quick and vigorous - that will cause the puppy to "go after" your hands to grab at them.
Try to keep your hand movements slow and minimal.
If your puppy bites or nips you while you’re having a game with it, say "ouch!" and stop playing for a moment, putting your hands out of the way by folding your arms. When the puppy stops, say "Good dog" and resume the game, but if the puppy bites again, say "OUCH!!" and walk away, leaving the pup alone. Don’t come back to the puppy for at least five minutes.
When puppies in a litter are playing, and one puppy bites another enough to hurt it, the hurt puppy "yelps" and of course, stops playing. This is how puppies learn to inhibit the strength of their bite - they learn that if they hurt another puppy, they lose a playmate! Now that you are your puppy’s new "pack", it’s up to you to teach it to inhibit its bite. Once the puppy starts to nip less and is inhibiting the bite, you can introduce the command "no biting". Eventually, you will need to give your pup the message that it must never bite you, evenly gently.
If a puppy is nipping at your heels while you’re walking, you can get a squirt bottle (not spray) filled with water, and say "No!" and immediately squirt the pup every time it grabs at you. You will get the best results, if you can make the puppy believe that this "wet stuff" came out of nowhere!! We don’t really want the puppy to know that you are the one who is doing the squirting. You want the puppy to think "When I nip, I get WET!!" Yuk! They soon learn not to nip, if they don't like getting wet.
If you have a biter and a nipper, just remember that this is a fairly natural behaviour for excited puppies - because you don’t like this behaviour, you have to teach the puppy, not to do it. There’s no need to yell or hit at the puppy - just make sure that it’s not a worthwhile behaviour from the puppy’s point of view.
If you have young children, this problem can be harder to eliminate, because children do tend to have quicker movements. Their natural reaction to a nip from the puppy is to quickly pull their hands away. That makes the puppy go after their hands, so you have a vicious circle. Children can also "stir" a puppy up to total excitement - it’s more likely to nip when in this sort of mood. So, before you can train your puppy under these circumstances, you need to train the children first!! Tricky!
Puppies & children
I’ve found that puppies that are brought up with children are wonderful with them, as long as the children haven’t treated them roughly. Young children can easily hurt puppies. Its only defence would be to bite, and I’m sure no one would be happy with that scenario. Never leave young children alone with your puppy - it’s a bit like leaving two toddlers alone in a room, one wielding a pair of scissors! Risky. The basic rule is not to allow a child to do anything to your puppy that you would not allow it to do, to a younger sibling. This includes teasing, pinching, chasing around the house, harassing, kicking, screaming in its ears, jumping on top of the puppy or otherwise hurting it. YOU must protect your puppy from this sort of attention, and you would be unable to do this unless you are there to supervise. It’s not such a good idea to allow children to play chasey with your pup. If the children are chasing the pup, it can upset your training him to "come" because the pup is learning to "evade capture". If the pup is chasing the children, it can turn on that "prey instinct" in the pup, and children can get nipped. Better games for children to play with the puppy, are "fetch the ball" - roll the ball along the ground and as you throw say, "fetch". If the pup chases the ball and takes it in his mouth, say "yessss!" and call the pup to you excitedly. If all goes well and the pup arrives in front of you with the ball in its mouth, say "give" and gently but firmly remove the ball from the pups mouth. (Don’t tug) Then REWARD. Hide-and-seek is another great game for children to play with a puppy. They can go and hide, and then call the puppy - when the puppy finds them, REWARD!. Remember REWARD, doesn’t just mean food. It can be a game with that "special" toy or just lots of petting. (In fact, I would warn against children giving food to a pup in an excitable situation - too easy for little fingers to be nipped)
Crime and punishment
Now that you have your lovely little puppy home with you, please remember that YOU are his/her new family and must have the patience to train this puppy to behave in a manner that you will be happy with.
Always keep in mind that this IS a dog, and although you may wish to treat it as a baby, it has dog instincts and will never be human.
This pup does not understand your language, so you will have to be clever and inventive to find ways of making sure that your pup understands what you want of it. You will need to be consistent, persistent and patient. Always treat your dog with kindness, and make sure any punishments you use, are not harmful or cruel. You will find, that it is easier to train a dog by rewarding good behaviour (with treats, voice, pats or play) than punishing for wrong behaviour .
At this stage your pup will want to chew on everything and will toilet when and where the need arises. A pups instinct is NOT to soil its bed, make sure that you have provided a place where its OK for your puppy to toilet, when you can’t be there to take it out.
Provide your puppy with a sleeping area that is dry and comfortable, (a crate and pen is the best option for this) pup can move around in without causing any harm to itself or your belongings. You should always have fresh water available for your pup, in the pen and outside. If you will be leaving the pup alone for any length of time, you should put some sheets of newspaper in one corner of the pen area (furthest away from the sleeping area) so that your pup can use the paper to toilet if necessary.
Whatever area you choose, make sure that there are no electrical wires that your pup might chew on, and nothing the pup can get stuck behind, such as washing machines, etc. (It’s not a bad idea to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the intended area, to see what might be tempting to a pup, down on that level.)
Don’t forget, that to your pup, that antique chair is just another piece of wood to chew!!
The curtains are great to chew and swing on, and cushions can be "killed" without fear of retaliation! What fun for a pup I ALWAYS USE A PEN AND CRATE, MUCH CHEAPER THAN NEW FURNITURE
Here is a wonderful "tip" for all of us when it comes to puppies doing the wrong thing. Here it is......
Take a few sheets of newspaper, and roll them up tight to form a roll. Secure with rubber bands. Keep it handy at all times, and if your pup has just wet on your beautiful new carpet, destroyed the kids homework, stolen your husbands socks, deposited a very wet and smelly poop behind the curtains, etc. etc.etc. Take that newspaper, and..........HIT YOURSELF OVER THE HEAD THREE TIMES!!!!!
While saying "I FORGOT TO WATCH THE PUPPY!! I FORGOT TO WATCH THE PUPPY!!! I FORGOT TO WATCH THE PUPPY!!!
If you have given your puppy the OPPORTUNITY to do any of the above things, then YOU are the one who has done the wrong thing!!!! The puppy is being a puppy and will continue to do those things, until you teach it not to. To teach the puppy what it must not do, you have to BE THERE when the behaviour is happening, and say "NO!" immediately. Five seconds after the puppy has finished the behaviour, is too late!!
This is why you need to leave the puppy in a safe area when you are unable to supervise its every move.
Even when you are home, don’t let the puppy have the run of the house unless you are right there beside it (every minute - watching) and ready to say "NO!" to inappropriate behaviour. If given the run of the house without supervision, your puppy will almost certainly eliminate in areas that YOU would find unsuitable.
The best thing to do is to leave your puppy in its safe area, and take it out to toilet at regular intervals. After a toileting expedition is a good time to have a playtime with your pup and to let it explore a little - but, stay with it!
Know your dog
By now you’ve spent quite a bit of time in your dogs company and should have a fair idea of its temperamenT
To be able to train your dog effectively, you need to really KNOW your dog.
Let’s suppose you have a very "hyper-active, excitable pup" and you’re training it to sit. Remember that it’s very important to praise your puppy when it does the right thing during training.
You tell your puppy to sit. It sits .... and you praise it using a very excited voice "GOOD DOG!!!! CLEVER PUPPY!!" This puppy will probably leap up at you and be SO excited that you’re pleased! Is this what you want? Not really. You’ll want that puppy to stay in the sit after you praise it, and wait for your release word. For this type of puppy, it would be better for you to use a "soft and gentle", "goood puppy. goood baby" The puppy will still know that you’re pleased, but shouldn’t be so tempted to jump up to play with you.
However, if you have a puppy that is so "lay-back" that it’s hard to keep it awake for the training session, that excited voice, could be just what’s needed to keep its interest.
The same will apply when your pup does the wrong thing.
If you have a shy puppy, you wouldn’t need to use a particularly harsh voice for that puppy to know that it’s done the wrong thing. You really wouldn’t want the puppy to "cower" or submissively wet, because you used the wrong tone of voice. But a puppy who is confident and going at full speed all the time, may not even realise that you’re displeased unless your tone of voice is quite harsh. This doesn’t mean that you have to SHOUT at your pup – their hearing is much more acute than ours!
Watch your puppy and learn how it reacts to things. You will then be able to "tailor" your training methods to suit YOUR dog. We all want to have a dog who`s happy to learn, and enjoys its training sessions - we DON`T want to have our dog "head for the hills" when it knows the training session is about to begin.
Teaching your puppy to wait
Once you’ve taught your pup to "sit", you can teach it to "wait".
This is a very useful command to teach your dog. You can have your dog wait before it jumps into the car, wait before it comes in or out of the door, wait before it begins eating its meal, wait at the kerb when you go walking, etc. etc. You’ll be surprised at how many times this command comes in handy.
Sometimes when you open the door of the car, your dog can leap in before you have a chance to say anything. (Your puppies are probably a bit small to be doing this yet, so you can guard against this behaviour happening) If you’ve taken your dog to the park, and it has muddy feet, maybe you’d like to put a towel on the car seat before the dog gets in – if you have trained your dog to "wait" you’ll be able to do this without any trouble. If not - muddy seats!!
When I take my dogs walking, and am able to let them have a run off lead, I can call "wait!" and they will stand where they are, until I catch up to them. I could call them back to me, but sometimes I don’t want to do that.
As I come out of the door with my dogs, and I want to lock the door behind me, I tell the dogs to "wait". They stand quietly while I lock the door and put the key in my pocket. That’s a lot easier than trying to do this with dogs leaping excitedly because they’re about to go walking!
When you begin to teach your dog to "wait", you may need to put the pup in a "sit" and hold its collar. Use your release word when you are ready to allow the dog to "stop waiting".
For instance when teaching the pup to "wait" before eating its meal, you can put the meal down (you may need to be holding the pups collar), get the pup to "sit" in front of the plate, say "wait" (if the pup pulls towards the plate, say "No! Wait!" and get it back in the sit) and when the pup is sitting nicely without pulling towards the bowl, say your release word! Make sure that the puppy knows, that you will not give that release word, until s/he stops pulling towards the bowl. I don’t ask my dogs to wait very long before eating their meal, but they ALWAYS have to wait until I give the release word.
All these things, teach your dog that you are the BOSS.
Teaching your puppy to come
Having your pup come to you when you call is the most important command you can teach your pup. You just never know when your puppy might get loose and be heading for a dangerous situation, and you need to get it back to you - fast!!
Firstly, you need to make sure that you NEVER call your pup to you, and then be cross with it or punish it in any way. If your puppy is chewing on a piece of furniture, or digging in your garden, you need to GO TO the pup, and tell them NO!! at the very moment they are performing the naughty act to wait more than 3 seconds is too late!
If you see your puppy doing something naughty (in your opinion - not the pups) and you call the pup TO YOU so that you can let it know that you don’t appreciate that behaviour, you will be giving your puppy exactly the WRONG message.
A pups attention span is very short, and the minute you call him, he will have forgotten whatever it was that he was doing, and be on his way to his best pal - YOU! When you are then cross with him, or even worse, punish him in some way, (please don’t ever HIT your pup) he will think he got into trouble for coming to you. Your pup does NOT speak your language, and there’s no point in telling him that you’re cross because he dug up your daffodils!! So.....the next time you call your pup to you, do you think he’ll come quickly?? NO! Why would he? He might get into trouble again!
To make sure that your puppy will always come to you quickly whenever you call, you need to make it the most wonderful thing that your pup can ever do. Coming to you must always be a GOOD thing for your pup. Call your puppy in a high-pitched and excited "fun" voice, and when he gets to you, give him a treat and LOTS of praise and petting. Do this five times a day. (For at least 8 years) Make sure that your puppy is in a safe area when you are practising the recall, and if he doesn’t come when you call his name, turn your back and walk away. Don’t chase the pup, and don’t call in a "cross" voice. He will soon learn that every time he comes, he’ll get a reward of some sort. (Food, petting or a game with a special toy and you!) Don’t use the word "come" until your pup is coming consistently, and then use the pups name first, and "come" when he’s on his way to you. If you don’t have a "safe" area to practice in, an extension lead (not the electrical type) is a very good tool to use.
This is an exercise you can begin as soon as you get your pup, and continue for every day of its life. It’s a good idea to have one special toy that your dog only gets to play with, when you have been training. It becomes a reward for a job well done, and the dog is never left alone with that toy. It’s YOUR toy, and you allow the dog to play with it, for a little while, when it has worked well. Choose something small, so that you can carry it in your pocket.
Once you have taught your pup to "come", make sure that you always make it a good thing for your dog to do. THINK about how you train your dog. If you get to the stage where you can take your dog to a fenced park and let it off lead for a play, and then when it’s time to go home, you call the dog to you, put its lead on, and the fun is over - do you think the dog will still come immediately you call? Maybe not. In a case like this, you could call the dog, have a game with your special toy, and then put the lead on and go home. Don’t call your dog to you when it’s time for its bath, unless the dog LOVES its bath. It would be better to go TO the dog, and take it to its bath.
Good luck with this one - it’s a most important lesson to teach your pup. It’s a great feeling to KNOW that your dog will come whenever you call. BUT, always be aware, that there COULD come a time, when your dog will disobey this command, no matter how well trained it is (maybe it will see a rabbit, or another dog across the road) so
be very careful if you decide to let your dog off the lead in an unfenced area.
Go Wild & Freeze
This is GREAT to incorporate into class homework for families with an energetic pup that jumps up when overexcited. This game teaches dogs to sit politely when told to, even when very wound-up. Go Wild & Freeze becomes even more fun when children are players in the game, as it teaches the kids a positive way to play with their puppy and manage his behaviour.
What to do: First, teach your puppy to sit for a treat by holding one just above his nose then raising it slightly. As the pup reaches upward for the treat, his rear will go to the floor in a sit. Praise "Good Sit" and give the treat. Next, teach the kids and other players how to get the dog to sit for a treat. Now you're ready to start the game!
Call "Go Wild!" and have everyone jump around, wiggle, wave arms, and make happy sounds. After a few seconds, call "Freeze!" and have everyone stop and stand tall. When the action stops, the player closest to the puppy asks him to sit and gives him a treat when he does. Then start another round. Each time wait a little longer before calling "Freeze"... after a few rounds, the puppy will automatically be sitting when the players stop and stand tall.
I find in my Puppy Classes that once handlers have taught their puppy to "sit", and the puppy knows what sit means, the handlers will inadvertently allow the puppy to ignore their command.
What happens is this: The handler tells the puppy to sit. The puppy doesn’t sit. The handler then says (to the class in general or to the Instructor) "He does it at home. He knows the sit." and then they tell the puppy to sit, again. Maybe the pup obeys, maybe it doesn’t. When the handler has given the command and the puppy hasn’t sat, instead of immediately putting the puppy in the sit, the handler is having a conversation! During which time the pup has learned that yes, the command was given, but if he doesn’t obey, nothing happens.
I saw a girl standing observing a class today at Dog Club. She was chatting to someone, and her young dog was pulling on the lead. The girl told the dog to sit, and it totally ignored her. She did nothing, but said to the person she was talking to "This dog is so dumb, it doesn’t even know the sit."
I wonder who is going to TEACH that pup to sit???? Certainly not the handler!!!!
Dogs don’t understand our language - we have to teach them the action that goes with the "sound" we are making. Just saying the word is not enough!!
I came across something quite interesting regarding the importance of using one command, which you might find helpful. It’s long winded, but makes a very good point.
Here it is:
Never say it Twice twice.
Never Never Say It Say It Twice-Twice
ON GOOD BEHAVIOR - 1994 Gary Wilkes
Q: What do the words "bee", "moo" and "yo" have in common?
A: Say them once and they have a particular meaning, say them twice and they mean something completely different.
While we humans are quite comfortable translating this type of "double talk", it might surprise you to know that dogs also recognise double words, such as "sit-sit", "down-down" and "come-come". Some dogs are even capable of understanding "three-peats" such as "sit-sit-sit" or "stay-stay-STAY!!!"
One of the most common training errors is repeating commands. If your dog does not "sit" at the first command, we automatically say the word again ("sit-sit"). Over a series of repetitions, we inadvertently teach the dog to wait patiently until the second or third command before he is required to respond. While the owner fumes about stubbornness and laziness, the dog's comment would probably be, "Look, boss, the command isn't 'sit', it's 'sit-sit!' I'm just waiting for you to finish the sentence!" The ironic part of this exchange is that both participants are convinced the other is mistaken.
The primary reason for this confusion is that most people take language for granted. We are so conditioned to respond to humans that we forget that animals do not think of words as we do. They know words as sounds that are connected to particular situations. Our mistake is that we assume that dogs speak "language" and that commands "cause" behaviours to happen. If we are talking to another human and receive no response to a simple request, we automatically repeat the word on the assumption that the person did not hear us.
Often this second command is spoken louder than the first, still convinced that the first word was not heard. To test this reasoning, watch the way tourists attempt to communicate with people who do not speak their language. When the first word brings no response, they automatically say it again louder. If increased loudness fails, they will probably try to pronounce the word in an exaggerated manner and sometimes add a foreign sounding ending to it, such as turning "car" into "car-o". If a person, or a dog, does not know an association between the word and its meaning, saying it twice or twenty times will make no difference.
While repeating commands tends to erode good behaviour, there are two other types of repeated words that can seriously effect a dog's learning potential - praise and corrections. Dogs listen for praise to tell them which behaviours bring treats and affection, while scolding identifies those behaviours that should be avoided. Both praise and scolding are dependent upon good timing to be effective. Repeating the words that identify good or bad behaviour does not necessarily give them added emphasis but does slow them down. This makes it difficult for the dog to know which behaviour "caused" the praise or scolding.
For instance, if your dog likes to jump on Aunt Winnie, the time to say "No!" is at the instant he starts to jump. If you are in the habit of saying "no-no-NO!" Your dog has already done the deed and escaped before you got to the end of your double talk. In this case, your dog heard the first "no" as he started to jump on Winnie. He knows he can ignore this sound because a single "no" has little or no consequence tied to it. It is the all important, and much louder, third "NO!" that he must pay attention to. By the time he hears the third "NO!" he is racing down the hallway and thinking of darting out the doggie door.
All thoughts of jumping and Winnie are long forgotten. Just as scolding must be quick to be precise, long-winded praise can be equally inefficient. If your dog decides to sit momentarily for Aunt Winnie and then jumps on her, a series of "Good-boy-good-boy-good-dog" will capture both behaviours. Instead of praising just the sit, you have mistakenly reinforced the jump as well. Without a fast signal to identify good behaviour, the dog will soon be convinced that the entire sequence is appropriate.
Avoiding the problem of "double talk" takes some concentration and observation. The tendency to repeat oneself is so deeply ingrained that most people are unaware that they do it. The quickest way to tell if you suffer from a case of "double talk" is to have a friend listen as you train your dog. Try to work as you always do. You friend may surprise you by distinctly hearing you repeat a command even though you could swear that you only said it once.
If you are fairly caught giving commands twice, don't panic. Merely recognising the problem is half the battle. First, get a package of doggie treats at the store. Offer a small treat to your dog, so that he knows what you are offering. Now give the command "sit," and bite your lip after you say the word. Wait for 30 seconds to allow your dog to realise that you aren't going to say it twice.
If the dog sits within the time limit, praise him and give him the treat. If your dog simply stands like a zombie, turn your back and walk away from him. A very shocked dog is most likely to quickly follow you to get another chance for the treat. Ask him to sit again. Give him another 30 seconds. If he does it, praise him and give a treat, if not, walk away and try it again.
After several attempts at getting the dog to respond to only one command, your dog will not wait for the second one. Once he realises that you aren't going to repeat yourself, you can give him less and less time to perform the behaviour before his failure "causes" you to go away. Soon he will perform the behaviour instantly, on the first command.
Reducing praise and scolding to a minimum is an even easier task. Start by developing the habit of saying the word "good" at the instant your dog performs a behaviour correctly. After you say "good", wait a second before you start including the normal excited and affectionate praise. By waiting a second you are prepared to withhold the more powerful reinforcers if your dog switches to an incorrect response. In nature, a dog rarely has a second chance to respond to the sound of a bear or the smell of a rabbit. Your dog is descended from animals that must respond instantly to the slightest hint of danger or safety. To utilise you pet's best attributes, avoid using double-talk for commands or reinforcers. It's really not necessary to say it twice twice!!
Many thanks to Karin Bransgrove for some of this information.