Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
DIY Puppy Training Part 2 the Rules
Sometime ago I did write briefly about puppy training but now it is time to go deeper into the subject because if we can use this as the standard method then in the future we should see fewer dogs with problems and more importantly less aggression.
If you train your puppy in these early weeks before it is 14 weeks old, you will have taught it all it really needs to know. After your period of such training, there should be no need for further obedience training, as you will have covered everything already. Any further training is simply revision.
One thing I must say at this point is if you are looking for a dog for yourself, as a nice quiet companion dog then purchasing a puppy is not the solution. Puppies go through a definable sequence of growing up. You will have to put up with house training, chewing, barking, play biting with lots of boisterous play that is initially difficult to curb because puppies are naturally happy. It is not fair to try to force a puppy into being some quiet docile pet when its very nature needs fun and play. It will take a few years before a puppy will become just a companion that stays by your side calm and quiet.
If a companion is what you seek it is better to have a look in at your local shelter for a grown up dog that you can not only know is not going to grow into some oversized dog but you can judge its calm character matches the sort of character you are seeking. Shelters are overflowing with ready-made housedogs so please do give them a chance for a new home.
For all those of you who wish to enjoy the thrills and tribulations of bringing up a puppy read on.
Bringing Puppy Home
For puppy training, we must start as soon we collect our puppy from the Kennels. That very first trip in our car can be the most stressful if the puppy has never been in a car before so please plan for this.
Some breeders do cater for this when they may take the puppies in a car to the vets for their injections. You too may find it an advantage when you visit to see the litter to take the puppy for a short car trip first so it acclimatises itself to what a car is and its movement.
On the main trip when taking your puppy home, stop for a short while and play. Normally the breeder will give you the sort of food it has been use to so take the opportunity to feed it in the back of the car before you set off. Do remember when it wakes even in the back of the car it may well wish to go to the toilet. For a puppy, food and going to the toilet acts just like a conveyor belt.
On your visit to the breeder take a blanket for the litter to use so that the litter smell impregnates into the cloth so when you take your puppy home it still travels with the litter and will sleep all the more peacefully during the return journey and also when it reaches its new home.
It is important not to stress your puppy into trembling or actually going to the toilets (which it could do anyway) or being sick otherwise it could take some time before it can enjoy travelling in the future as it will remember its first trip for ever.
Puppies are very hardy and do expect and except changes so do try to resist the temptation to fuss and pass your fears or concerns over to the puppy so it knows that there is indeed something to worry about. This is one of the reasons dogs always wish to greet you whenever you return. In the wild, some pack member never return as they die whilst hunting. Some will die of old age or new puppies are born. There is even evidence of lone wolves entering a new pack where they have been adopted by them.
You may find it an advantage to play with the puppy at the breeders to wear it out so that it wanting to sleep. This is a good time to set off for home for just a short trip then stop for a drink and let the puppy sleep remembering that the short trip was uneventful and that the remainder of a long trip home will not become a worry.
Rules when Puppy is in the Home
Once your puppy arrives in your home, everyone in the family must agree to the way in which you teach your puppy in its new world and what it must or must not do. If children are teaching the puppy to play and nibble their fingers whilst the parents do not, this will only cause the puppy confusion. You must all be consistent.
Be prepared for house training and purchase similar items as these. Made by Pethealth Europe is Pet Bon, which is a spray scent cleaner. There is also a spray called Previger. This product is a repellent spray to use on floors and furniture. It should help stop your dog fouling your house and chewing your furniture. It is a good idea to roll up carpets, as puppies do not like getting their feet wet when they wee.
Another excellent product is Pethealth Bitter Bite that is a stronger repellent that I use on furniture and on Winstonís tail as Osito kept attacking it. One spray and he stopped. You can use this to spray onto wounds and dressings to stop your dog licking it. Bitter Bite is also useful for spraying on your hands to stop your puppy nibbling. We also have compressed air for those stubborn attacks that owners just find they cannot stop no matter what they seem to do. This I would use only as a last resort.
Like any human baby, puppies are very demanding. When parents first take their baby home, the nurses always tell you not to go to their baby whenever it cries. Set up a way in which you can see your puppy is ok without having to go and see it whenever it barks, whines or whimpers. Just like a human baby puppies can and will soon learn if it makes such noises you will come running. Do not make a rod for your own backs.
Also, be prepared for door scratching. It is important you teach your puppy to play on its own or with an existing dog already in your family. Owners must shut the doors at times so your puppy learns to grow up without our constant supervision and attention. Closed doors create a barrier for the puppy and scratching and barking are its only methods of gaining entry.
There will be times when a puppy will scratch at a door to be with you. You need not answer every such demand but to ignore it until the puppy gives up. With Kathrynís puppy Osito, it has scratched at her bedroom door to get her up to pay him attention and to feed him. She does nothing until 10 minuets after he has given up. Only then, does she get up to receive the usual morning greeting then she feeds him.
If you have expensive doors that your puppy could scratch then purchase some Perspex and either Blue Tack or double-sided sticky pads and place the Perspex onto the door. This will mean the puppy can scratch and damage the Perspex so you do not need to worry and your puppy will soon learn that such actions achieve it nothing.
If you do not place something to protect the door inevitably, owners become angry at the scratching. Eventually when you do open the door to tell your puppy to go away, your puppy has won, as it now knows how to get your attention. Your puppy will have learnt that such actions do make you open the door and you will end up playing the game of "Whatís the time Mr Wolf". Shouting and arm waving are all part of the game so it only becomes worse. It is better to leave the door open and teach your dog not to come over the threshold by telling it OUT and praising it once outside the bedroom.
Do resist the temptation to push the puppy away with hands or feet, as this too is part of the Tag game. Such actions when your puppy is attacking your feet or hand will only encourage its play attacks with renewed vigour. This is always assuming you are not going to hit your puppy with major amount of pain so it learns to stay well away from you. Yes delivering major pain will and does stop the scratching or whining at the door but this is not the sort of training most people wish really to follow. Usually such training results from anger when all else seems to have failed.
Even if you do ignore the morning call your puppy may well keep trying for a while but it will soon learn such demands will achieve nothing so do be patient.
If you have to get up at such times like as when you need to answer the telephone then open the door and totally ignore your puppy so it learns that it has achieved nothing by its demanding actions.
One little rule we have to know is that when you push your puppy away, they will resist. Similarly, when you pull them they will pull in the opposite direction. We humans react in exactly the same way as a method of self-preservation until we know that such pressure is nothing to fear.
We often encounter this rule when teaching puppies and even older dogs to walk to heal or even to come using a lead. Another example is puppies jumping up at us and we push them away. Again trying to make a puppy come to us and watch the puppy go away which seems totally opposite to the command.
The problem exacerbates further as puppies apply this push pull to doggy games and assume we are playing not correcting and the problem only becomes worse. If you watch a puppy pulling at your trouser leg and you push it, away back it comes even harder and biting even more aggressively because it thinks you are playing the normal games.
Collars and leads
Do purchase your puppy a soft collar with a name disc just in case your puppy for any reason does become lost. Do not purchase a fixed lead but a long retractable. Fixed length leads create pain. A retractable allows your puppy freedom but it is never the less still restricted to remain by your side because of the inherent need for its safety. During these early weeks, we can use this need in order to train our puppy to remain by our side and to teach the dogs its name and its much-needed recall as well as heelwork.
There is one thing you should not do is when you are purchasing items for your puppy. Never purchase any type of training collar and lead. Such items are for use in enforcement training and work on the basis that if the puppy does not do something correctly then you as the handler can inflict pain. They learn that the pain will not go away until it does what it should do correctly.
Training collars include any type of noose choking or restricted choking like the half choke collars. It does not matter whether they are made of metal or rope they still inflict pain. In them selves, they are harmless until the handler pulls or jerks them to create pain for the puppy or the older dog. A lead and collar should only act like a safety line when it is necessary not as some torturous training device.
The puppy does know who created the pain even if not fully understanding as to why. The why it will learn in time when the pain stops but once it learns this and then does everything correctly it knows the owner can hurt it and its spirit is effectively broken.
There is no need for all this sort of enforcement type training relying on pain as the control. There is a better and more effective way of teaching a dog who is its leader in ways that your puppy will readily understand.
To be continued