What do I teach? – new dog or puppy


DogdobermanMar292013by Jeanine Renzoni

What do I start with?

Since prevention and management is huge in my training program, crate and kennel training is right up there, which means I’m also house training, alone training, wait training, training sit and down at a slight distance training, collar touch/hook up training, hand signal…go in/come out training. Note this is all either captured (rewards when they just offer it) or shaped (rewards when they do part of something I want them to do). And I do introduce and use clicker to help them know, yes that was it! You get a reward.

I hand feed so there’s avoidance of most food guarding, and then all the things the dog does to get each mouthful of food, like target training, which is another signal for come. I use each trip outside to reward pottying out there, but before we get out there the dog/puppy offers a sit at the doorway and yippee a life reward = outside! Outside on the leash (for young dogs I often use an extendable leash) we only move in the direction I wish or they wish to if there’s no pulling, otherwise we stop. I play name games and running away when they look with a toy – a fun and fast way to teach coming. And each time they check in, well they get one piece of yummy dog chow (or a pat or a game), ‘cuz I want them to learn to check in often.

There’s a huge world of things a new dog/puppy needs to know, whether they are eight weeks or six months. And it kind of depends on the lifestyle you’re going to have with them which things have more value and weight compared to others.

According to one source 90 percent of dogs know the cue to sit (or at least their people say they know it). Some people say you should get them to know one thing well before you go on to the next. I say, are you kidding? One thing. What about all the other time you’re training when you aren’t thinking that you’re training? One thing?

So what about all the problems. What problems? If the dog/pup knows what to do there will hardly be problems and if a problem comes up, then it’s time to think about preventing it happening again and training what you want them to do instead. FYI yelling at them to not get into the garbage or not chase the cat is not training them what to do instead. See the not in the sentences, think do, not not-do.

What do you think is basic training?

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2 thoughts on “What do I teach? – new dog or puppy”

  1. I never teach one command well before I move on to the next. Perfecting can come later! I find joy in teaching my dogs new things and I love variation!

    The funniest parts is when I just bring out the clicker and the treats and sit there and wait for my pup to offer anything new. I’ve reinforced several funny behaviors, like clapping jaws, barking, roll over, back up etc. 🙂

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    1. Oh yes, today we were backing up the stairs – good for learning how to use those back legs and makes stair walking much more controlled. Looks pretty silly too. Although it is always interesting when I want to do a demo and do want the cues refined, then I practice on each quite a bit. But to start with…variety and fun and more fun and variety.

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