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Old 09-10-2006, 10:15 AM   #1
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Question Puppy training

Ok... (I use to post under NahzisMom, but we changed her name so...well yeah. Anyway).....

15 week old puppy - lab/aussie mix

She's my puppy, but my friend and I live together so she is part of our lives every day. She and another friend of mine think I am too strict with the puppy. They think puppies should only have to learn to "come" and "sit" and everything else should just be fun play time and they shouldn't be having to "contain" their energy. They claim she will favor everyone else over me because I'm too strict.

From day one (I got her at 12 weeks), she's had rules. I didn't let her have the run of the house, I made sure that certain rooms that are "off limits" she wasn't allowed to go into. I crate trained her so that when we are out and can't take her she has her safe den. She was housebroken in a day (really quick learner). She already knows "sit" and "come", she's pretty reliable about "down" and "heel" while on walks. Right now I'm teaching her "go to bed" and "give it" (since she loves to run around with anything and everything in her mouth!). They think that I should lay off, basically. "When does she have fun?".... We play a lot, we do. I take her on long walks twice a day and we always stop halfway through and play at the park. We play at home with her toys, but she has small bursts of energy and then she's tired, so goes off to rest. There are a few times during the day when she goes into "wild puppy mode" and is running and crashing all through the house.... I noticed that she only does this after a long walk or vigorous play time, so in my head she has gone into an overtired mode, and just like a little kid she's gone hyper, and so I put her onto her bed and within 5 minutes she's crashed for an hour nap.

I work with little kids, it's my love. But with the puppy I've sort of followed the same philosophy of: Start as you mean to go on. So if she isn't going to be allowed to jump on people to greet them as an adult dog, why let her do it now?

She is a happy puppy. She eats well and she plays well. And it's not like I try to "contain" her energy all day... she is just a mellow pup (seriously - I was worried for awhile, but it's just her temperment). So until that changes (praying it doesn't) I'm enjoying her easy-trainability and mellow-ness while I can....

Am I trying to train her too much? Or should I keep going? Isn't it easier to teach them things at a young age? We start "Puppy class" next week... which I have no clue what they will teach us, but it's mainly for socialization. Will I be the only one in there with a puppy who sits at my side on command? Should I lay off and let her "have more fun"?

I'm not a puppy expert.... so I really don't know.

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Old 09-10-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
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Hi there, sounds like you are doing a great job with your puppy. If you use the right kind of training methods your puppy will learn to consider training as a rewarding play session anyway, as well as keeping them mentally stimulated. Just remember to keep the sessions short with lots of positive reinforcement, and there is absolutely no reason why she can't learn all the things you have mentioned. I totally agree with start as you mean to go on.

Re the heeling on walks, I wonder if you are actually meaning loose leash walking rather than heeling as such? Asking a young puppy to maintain a true heel position for more than a couple of minutes would be a very big ask, but there is no reason why they can't learn loose leash walking.

I am sure you won't be the only one in class with a puppy who already knows the basics, and it will make your life much easier. Don't be suprised if puppy struggles to perform in class what he does easily at home, this will be a large increase in the distraction level which forms the next stage of your training.

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Old 09-10-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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ps - I would be concerned for any puppy who is not learning 'come' and 'give' at this age...

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Old 09-10-2006, 07:22 PM   #4
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Thank you for the reassurance... I was starting to question myself and feel guilty. I guess I do mean "loose leash".... just where she doesn't pull me while walking. Thanks!!

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Old 09-10-2006, 07:40 PM   #5
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I find that as long as you are using positive reinforcement type methods in the main for the training you are doing, it should actually create a closer bond between you and your puppy rather than the reverse as your friends have suggested. Of my two dogs, the one I work for obedience is the most bonded to me.

In the bad old days when training was mostly about harsh corrections with a choke chain people weren't encouraged to start training their pup until about 6 months. Thankfully now we can capture the little sponge stage early with reward based training that is not harsh on the dog, is enjoyable for both pup and owner, and very effective. Far easier to teach a puppy to loose leash walk for example when they are in the naturally follow you around stage rather than wait for the independent teenage stage.

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Old 09-11-2006, 07:51 PM   #6
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I completely agree with Kaos. Puppies need structure. It is much much easier to train an appropriate behavior than to go back and try to "undo" what has been done.

Just remember...puppies have amazingly short attention spans, and you can't push too fast or too hard.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:50 AM   #7
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O completely agree with everything that's been said here and you sound like you're doing a great job with your puppy . My puppy was 9 weeks old when she knew 'sit' and was doing really well with 'come'. She goes into her crate when we go out, and she's now 12 weeks (today) and can give the paw, come, sit, lie-down, stay and wait for her dinner once it's been put down until we say she can have it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching a puppy the behaviour you will expect of it when it's older, they become much harder to teach once they think they can get away with say, jumping all over you, and then they grow and jumping up really isn't funny!

I also agree with the hyper-mode you talk about where they just get over tired and we put our pup in a quiet place when she gets like that and she drops straight off to sleep - they are just like children!

Training bonds you and your dog really well, I wouldn't be surprised at all if she becomes more attached to you than anyone and a well behaved dog makes for a much more relaxed house when they get bigger and you really do need some control. Despite disciplining my pup she gets loads of play and walks too and she's a really bright a bubbly pup.

Kepp doing what you're doing, you sound like your doing really well with her and you'll have a well rounded dog when she grows up

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Old 09-12-2006, 02:09 PM   #8
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Training Is Fun For Dogs (as Long As You Are Keeping Positive). You Are Doing A Great Job. Puppies Have Fun By Being With You And Playing With You. They Don't Have To Be Going Crazy To Be Having Fun. Just Tell Your Friends That She Is Fine. Walks Are Also Fun, So, I Wouldn't Be So Worried. Just Look At It This Way, There Are People That Don't Do Anything With Their Dog. They Have No Stimulation, And That Is Being Hard On A Pet.
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