This really depends on what "being a puppy" means to you. If this means playing, enjoying, snuggling and affection as PART of the puppy's experiences, well then yes. If this means, you do not expect perfection or for a puppy to act like an adult dog, that is an absolutely correct mindset. If that means you are aware that your new puppy (or dog) needs to be protected from things in our domestic environment that they don't understand, then that is also a yes. Your puppy is now learning about an domestic environment and how to treat humans (and other animals as well).
Environment plays a big role when your training your dog. Dog training usually begins in a non distracting environment. Later on distractions are used in order to further train your dog to planned upon goals.
In the beginning non distracting environments are largely controllable by simply training inside in a quiet room without anyone around. The unexpected distraction (spouse, kids, knock on the door, car driving up) may happen, but they are not expected or planned for. For those who also reside in your home, you can let them know not to disturb you when you are training. In those instance, you just have to shoo whoever came in away (or settle the dog after the truck leaves) and find your training footing again to end on a good note.
As you move forward to distractions, environments can be somewhat controlled or predicted for dog training with good planning. Non distracting environments can have creative distractions added to them on purpose.
Getting your first dog or puppy is such an amazing time for most people. Like some other pets (like parrots for instance) they need our support as much as we need theirs. You can revel and enjoy the cute loving nature of your dog or puppy. Many, especially first time dog or puppy owners, make some mistakes that are avoidable if you know about them. The mission of this blog is to help dog and puppy owners with information like this. Btw, dog trainers make mistakes too, because not all dogs are alike. They have very individual personalities. At another time, we will address those too. In the meantime, here is some general advice on mistakes to avoid.
In the first series for this article, I am going to go over new puppies for new puppy owners, as this article will be too long otherwise. Later on in the month, we will go over adult dogs and rescue adult dogs.
Fall is a beautiful season, and winter weather follows in the not too distant future. Many people do not know what to do to keep their dogs active when conditions are not great to do outdoor activities. Luckily, there are things we can do with our dog when stuck inside.
In the last blog, we discussed the place command. The stay command, specifically, is a command that you can is part of a sit, down, or stand command. This is where you want your dog to stay in a certain position anywhere that you are.
The place command is one of the first things I start to teach with many dogs. This command combines a send away, a stay, a stay within a barrier, impulse control and calming exercise all in one. Additionally, this can be the very start on walking on leash with a puppy or dog. Some dog owners and trainers may only utilize the stay portion, but I feel the send away portion is very valuable as time goes on. Let me explain a little bit about this very useful exercise.
The ability to teach dog training commands that are later on reliable and functional depends upon how the ability to break them up into steps and then layer onto them different environments and distractions. This is also true when you are modifying your dog's behavior or changing your dog's perception of things that might make them defensive or scared. Many dog owners are not aware that going slower and methodically is going to give them a much better chance of reaching their dog training or behavior modification goals with their dogs.
Dogs neither understand English nor read minds. It is the dog owner's and trainer's job to break commands down into parts which can be taught well, and then advance the command by increasing things like the three Ds (duration, distance and distraction), which was discussed in our previous blog post.
Patterns, as I define them in dog training and behavior modification, are manufactured predictable events. That is they are a sequence of steps that become predictable with repetition and consistency. Remember, canines do not share our human language. We can not tell them what is coming up, but our actions to create patterns and structure can place them on more predictable ground.
As humans we take this for granted for ourselves, but if you think about it, our every day patterns and structure lend to the feeling of safety and security for human children and adults alike. Of course we can talk to each other should an unanticipated event comes up. Can you imagine how scary some events are to dogs who do not have that sort of heads up? We can make everything smooth sailing (or smoother sailing anyway) by adding a little pattern and structure to certain parts of our canine's day.
Leon loved fetching as a wee young thing. We both learned about this skill together, and had a lot of fun doing it.
What do I mean by your dog's "bliss"?
Engagement in dog training is the ability to create a relationship with your dog where you are the reward. Engagement done well will have your dog insisting on continuing the activity with their owner. In other methods of training, there are some elements of this as well, but the engagement that I am talking about is much more. Engagement in dog training is more about play with their owner or handler to create that very strong bond and work ethic. As with anything, it can have it's pluses and minuses. I really enjoy this method, because I get to play with my dog and train. The thing that motivates me in this method, is seeing my dog have fun while we are doing it. Why do I also use other methods other than Engagement and Motivational methods? One reason is this is a bit slower process than some other methods in the shorter term. Sometimes if you really need to stop your dog from jumping on your elderly relatives, while including them in your family activities, you might want to take a faster course of action. Of course there are ways to control what you dog does by confining them more, but I like my dogs to have certain freedoms during the day, where this perhaps might not happen if I was only using this method. It takes longer not in time per day, but the progress to build to a goal in general will take more time. There are reasons to want to spend a longer period if time in training your dog. I will go over that at a later date.
Author, Robin Rubin
Owner and Head Dog Trainer in Maine, Robin Katherine Rubin, started her Maine dog training business in September 2004. Our dog training facility is located in Southern Maine in York Beach and we help families enjoy their dogs more, making sure they listen reliably and resolving unwanted behaviors.