Monday, February 1, 2010

Puppy Class 2

Socialization is the MOST important thing you can do for your puppy! I cannot stress this enough. You will need to expose your puppy to many different people and places, remembering to keep all activities positive and never to force your puppy.
Although dogs are removed from wolves by thousands of years, they are still a social pack animal. I discourage any form of 'dominating' your puppy to show who is boss. In stead, try the Nothing In Life Is Free method.

Basically, your puppy will need to work for everything he receives. (eating, playing etc...) Your puppy will have to preform a task for you first. (Ex: Sit.) Puppy will learn that YOU run the show, and they can remain clam knowing that they don't have to worry about shelter and other resources themselves.
Your puppy is a reflection of you!
The Puppy Test: Your child, your puppy and a chew toy...alone. Your child approaches the puppy and the puppy growls. Your child runs away. What did the puppy just learn? Well, he learned that growling is a good way to keep people away from his things! What should have happened? If you said that your child and your puppy should NEVER have been left alone together in the first place, then DING DING DING you are correct!
The Puppy Test Cont....You re-enter the room. Your child once again approaches the puppy with his toy, but this time he bites! What did you see? You saw your puppy biting 'out of the blue'. BUT did puppy bite out of the blue? The answer is no. The puppy already warned the child with the growl, but since you were not around to hear that, you now believe that you witnessed an un-provoked bite. (This is about the time that I receive a frantic phone call where you say something about being 'at your wits end...)
Anyway, I digress...your child and your puppy need to be supervised at all times. If you had been in the room when the puppy growled, you could have ended it with a stern NO! Then worked with the puppy on exchanging toys for treats! Simple.
Dinner time is a very special time for puppy and an important one for you and your family. The person who feeds puppy is a very special person, therefore your entire family should be involved. Place a hand full of food in puppy's bowl and set it down. When puppy finishes, drop by hand a few more kibble, then a few more. Have your kids do this too! This way your puppy will learn that hands near the food bowl bring GOOD things. This will prevent food aggression. Start handling your puppy while he eats. Touch him all over including his feet and tail.
The chew toy rules: The goal here is to prevent possessiveness. You will want to have around 20-25 toys for your dog and rotate them every month or so, so they don't get bored. Your puppy will need to learn to give up their toys when you ask them. (Note: never forcibly take a toy or chase puppy for it.) Simply offer puppy a yummy treat in return for the toy. Count to five and give the toy right back. Gradually increase the time you have the toy, but remember to always give it back.
Remember that your puppy will have problems and things will go wrong. Be prepared and remain calm.
Punishment must be given promptly followed by redirection and reward! (For more information about punishment, types and how to administer, see my blog devoted to the subject.)
Come back next time when we discuss jumping, teething and more!

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