Puppy Training Update

by Melissa R. on July 26, 2013

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Working on our sit/stayMy 7-month-old puppy and I have started taking a couple of training classes. They have been so wonderful and are really helping socialize Emme! The two classes we are taking right now are Basic Obedience and Foundation Puppy Agility.

Basic Obedience Update: There are about 6 dogs in this class, all mostly puppies, from 12 weeks to a year old. And of all different sizes: terrier to Newfoundland! The first couple of classes were a bit chaotic as all the dogs learned to be a little calmer.

What we are learning:
Sit, down, stay, heel, place, and loose leash walking. Emme started out not doing so well as she was so distracted by the other dogs and people she would not pay attention to me. Our solution was to try a Gentle Leader headcollar on her, and it worked miracles. She pays attention to me at class now! It helps her understand I am in control and to pay attention to me. If she is just on her regular collar, she pulls and pulls and pulls! At home she is well behaved, so it was a bit frustrating to say the least. But, the Gentle Leader fixed that! Life is a lot easier now. I try to take it off some to work with her, so we can wean off it once she learns to be calmer.
Always tuckered out after class
As we have been doing a lot of the basic commands since I got Emme, she is doing very well in class, and we are working on “proofing” our stays. This means I put her in a stay, and then walk away and tug on her leash… If she doesn’t move that is great! We also try dancing, skipping, singing, clapping our hands and many other things to distract her from her “stay.” Doing great!

We also started working more on “Come” – which we need much more practice with!

Foundation Puppy Agility:
Only a few dogs in this class, from Emme’s age up to about 2 years old.

What we are learning:
Touch, stay & go, target, go around, go behind, circle, here, walking on a low plank, hand signals.

The basic idea of this class is to just get your pup familiar with hand signals and some new commands and then starting to incorporate them into simple things like going around a pole. The class is laying the foundation of being able to communicate with your dog. Our hope is that when Em is old enough to start real agility training, we’ll have a better start.

For instance, once she learns the command “Go around” – she is going to know to circle around whatever obstacle is near us. It is really fun to see the wheels turning in her head and exciting when it seems like the message is getting through!

I’ll try to get some video soon. Stay tuned!


About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John G July 29, 2013 at 11:05 am

We had a lovely block Labrador ‘Holly’ and when she was a small pup we took her to a local training centre and it work miracles for us and she seemed to love it too. The hand signals were the best, not having to shout in the park or around the house was fantastic. We used a half choke lead at the time (not wanting to be too harsh!) but I can see how the gentle leader headcoller would really work. We used the technique of every time she wanted to pull we stopped, made her walk around you in a circle then carry on. After a bit of persistence she got the idea!

Chris October 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

Melissa, you are doing the correct thing by starting your puppy with training at an early age. When trying to get your dog to respond to the command come, make sure you never yell at the dog when using this command. Also when calling your dog when it comes to you reward them.

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