Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
DIY Puppy Training Part 6 Taking that big step
For Kathryn Hollings puppy Osito his sociability training actually started four days before he had his second batch of the three multiple vaccinations. This was at the request of both the breeder and her vet. The vet did though suggest the need that she should take some precautions. The obvious one is not letting Osito walk about the streets except in areas where there was little risk of disease. Another was not to expose him to other dogs where their vaccinations history was in doubt.
When taking your puppy outside do like parents do for human babies and make up a puppy bag with water, a bowl, plastic bags, lots of absorbent paper and baby wipes ready for any accidents. You may find that industrial rolls of paper have a much better absorbency rate than ordinary kitchen roll. Using baby wipes, these make the final operation of cleaning the pavement etc as if nothing had happened. We all know it is embarrassing but people do appreciate us cleaning up after our puppies.
Kathryn took Osito everywhere to meet people in shops, bars and outside restaurants. Fortunately, puppies even when they are not walking soon tire very easily. When they do so, they just simply fall asleep. This allows owners the time to sit at a restaurant and have a meal with their puppy sleeping on its towel in its own chair.
Most people love to see a puppy and even one that is tired is still quite happy when people handle and fuss them. Using a thick towel, you can give it to anyone who wishes to hold your puppy without the fear it could go to the toilet on them. The towel gives them that protection. People are pleased that owners do care to think about what can happen because with Sods Law it often does.
Puppies think that everyone is kindly and they will normally react accordingly. They do though always obey the one rule that anything coming towards them they initially back off until they can assess there is nothing to fear. This is why you never approach a puppy from the front and why you will see most puppies back away. When it does this it does not mean it is timid just careful. Also never, bend over the puppy as this too creates the same response. It is better to call the puppy over to you and better still if the puppy is on the floor then you should sit upright on your heels and sideways to the puppy then call it over. If you are lower down this will help to stop the puppy wishing to jump up to greet your face.
Eventually the time came at 8 weeks when Osito had his second batch of multi vaccinations. It was at this point Kathryn asked the vet when could she take that big step and let Osito walk on the pavement. He said that there were no current incidences of the deadly diseases here in Javea and that as vaccinations are cheap in Spain most people have their dogs vaccinated.
He still suggested a little caution of roaming dogs but said now was the time to take Osito out into the big world. With that, he picked him up and placed him on the floor saying, “There it’s done”. Once on the floor Kathryn rarely picks him up unless she feels uncertain about a dog or an area but other than that, she treats Osito like any other older dog.
I know that there are still vets who advise 14 weeks or as late as 20 weeks before you take your dogs outside. Vets are fallible just as doctors are. They must learn to keep up with modern thinking and the way puppies learn so rapidly during these 8 to 12 weeks. It is just too good an opportunity to miss.
Kathryn is not trying to copy John Gummer MP when, for political reasons, he was prepared to risk his daughter’s life from the possibility of eating BSE or CJD in beef burgers. Her concern is the potential aggressiveness by puppies towards others outside their family pack if they do not socialised during this important period.
If you are in any way uncertain of my advice in these articles, why not look on the web for confirmation information regarding the need for such early socialisation for puppies. If your vet is uncertain why not mention these articles and ask is this not in fact current thinking to socialise from 8 weeks. I repeat we vaccinate our children and never use any short period isolation for them so why do we do this for dogs. The risk is just as great.
Now we can start
I have to describe this method of puppy training on the assumption you have taken the same steps as Kathryn Hollings having gained agreement of your vet for taking your puppy into the outside world. For those owners who are still reluctant to socialise until after 14 weeks this requires a more correctional training approach. Such puppies have learned bad habits; they are boisterous, territorial and lost that appealing puppy look. They also play bite with much more power even if it is just in fun.
It is for this reason why so many trainers use enforcement training because using pain appears quicker or I should say it seems simpler for owners than having to learn to understand their dogs so they can train their puppies without using force. One other problem is that many instructors do not start training until the puppies are 6 months of age. Such a delay only compounds the problem. This is why so many dogs become classified juvenile delinquents. They are not they are just simply bored.
You have your puppy bag and a long retractable lead at the ready and your puppy has been asleep. You have woken it, fed it and have waited until it has gone to the toilet in the prescribed spot. Now you need to find an area frequented by people, children etc but away from vehicles for these first few weeks.
Here in Javea the Arenal is perfect. There are lots of active children, many people milling about, and many other dogs, there are lots of noise and plenty of places to sit and have a coffee. Puppies at 8 weeks have a short duration activity time and then they go back to sleep.
When you first take your puppy out of the car to put it down onto the ground clip the retractable to its collar, and lock it at a short length for the moment. If it a longish walk from the car to a safe training area then just try carrying your puppy at first. Once in the safe area place your puppy on the ground and unlock the brake. All you have to do now is walk and your puppy will follow. Resist any temptation to lock the lead and pull your puppy. You can try it and you will probably see your puppy sit down. This is the normal reaction to your pulling.
You will find that about 12 feet distance and your puppy will naturally follow you. This is their considered safe distance at this time and do not like being further from you than that. Walking using such a lead is only to give you confidence that your puppy will indeed follow you. Do not try to use the lead to give your puppy any commands. In four weeks, training this way, your puppy will walk using a normal lead by your side without pulling and never had its neck pulled.
You will find though that your puppy often entangles itself around people’s legs but most humans and dogs are very tolerant of puppies. There is some built in patience in us to look at puppies as adorable and treat them in a way we do not once they pass 14 weeks when that puppyish character will have begun to disappear and they become boisterous.
It is this appealing look of harmless looking puppies that endears people to want to meet them and this is the basis of socialbility training.