New puppy owners often make the mistake of endlessly worrying about
finding the right accessories, puppy treats, or bed.They spend little or no time thinking
about how or what they will teach their new puppy. Yes, a puppy needs
nutritious food and a safe, warm place to live, but another equally powerful
and important biological necessity is the need for a strong pack leader.
Puppies are naturally hard-wired to follow a pack leader.A pack leader is, by definition, strong,
stable, and consistent; traits many new puppy owners forget.Many of my clients are strong leaders in
their jobs, but when they come home, they turn to mush with their dogs.Then they come to me puzzled as to why
their dog won't behave.
Puppies sense our confidence levels and will take control if they perceive us
as weak.When this happens, bad
behaviours, such as excessive barking leash-pulling, or anxiety, will develop.
The most important thing you can do is become your puppy’s pack
leader.This role doesn’t begin when
your dog is six months old or when he’s bad.For your puppy to grow into a healthy,
balanced dog, you must demonstrate leadership from day one!
Please find SAFE ways to exercise your puppy!Talk to your veterinarian about the risk of long-term bone
development problems, parvovirus, and other health issues before
implementing an exercise routine.
Puppy to Walk on a Leash
by Martin Deeley
The one thing I find about training dogs is that there are no hard and
fast rules.Some dogs take to a collar and leash easily
and some do not.Some owners have
to put their dogs on a leash the moment they get them—especially if they
live in apartments and there are leash laws—and some may not put
their dog on a leash for a few months.I
have worked with many different dogs and owners over the years, and
the most important features of introducing a leash is patience, calmness,
confidence, taking it slowly (at the pace and temperament of the dog) and using
ways to overcome any fears or
concerns by the dog.
To get your dog walking on a leash you first need a collar and a leash.Sounds like an obvious step, but there are
many different types out there.Initially, I prefer a light flat (leather) collar and a light leash for
a young pup.
The first step is to get your dog familiar and accustomed to a collar.Try to avoid problems and situations where
your pup could get concerned, fearful or even have a temper tantrum.Just attaching a collar and/or a leash can do
this.So put the collar on when there
are other things that will occupy his mind and he has to think about.Attach the collar when your pup is going
outside to be in the yard with you or even in the home when you are interacting
with him.Put it on snug, but not so tight
that it is uncomfortable and irritating.In other words, he should forget about it as you are getting his
attention and interacting to take his mind off the wearing of the collar.Put it on at mealtime or when you are doing
some basic training. Very quickly he will come to accept the feeling of
the collar and leash—especially if it is related to food—and you can then move
to the next stage.One thing to look out
for is if he scratches at the collar.If
he does this, gain his attention and encourage him to simply follow you or get
him to play with a toy so he forgets the irritation.
With some dogs the moment you pick that leash up and he feels some
tension he can go into his ‘I am a fish on the end of a hook’ antics. So,
after attaching the leash let him run around dragging it.You should always be supervising this to avoid
any possible tangling.It also helps to
have another dog around to engage in play while the leash is on.If you have no other dog, then play with
him or go through some fun training routine, such as a small retrieve with a
toy or sits and downs with a treat.When
he is doing this and looks comfortable, occasionally pick up the leash and call
him to you. Do it gently and encourage him to come up to you.Treats again are great, but always make sure
they are small morsels and not big treats that he then spends
When first holding the leash, do not attempt to get him to walk at heel
yet.If he does that naturally, great,
but if he doesn’t do not be tempted to yank on the leash to get him to do so.Do everything calmly and gently.Sometimes even just standing still or
kneeling down while he figures out what is happening is a good idea.Give him time to process all this information
regarding what the leash is and does.Let him gain confidence in you, and then in the leash and himself.You can even use a treat held in your hand
down by your side at his head level to get him walking alongside you on
the leash, and then occasionally make him stop and sit for the treat.
Some dogs can sit and decide not to move.In this instance, walk a few steps away, go down on one knee and
encourage him to come to you using a treat.Then set off walking again.For
many pups with concerns, and even those without them, the collar and leash can
be a little restricting and can create resistance in your dog. Some dogs may
walk alongside you and not leave you off leash, but when they have a leash on
they behave differently.
Take your time and keep your cool, but be persistent in what you do to achieve
the results you want.Even if the
results are only a small step towards what you wish to achieve in time, the
small steps become the big ones you seek.Very quickly you will find your dog accepting the leash and eventually
he will come to walk nicely on it as well.
Article by MartinDeeley
Don’t tap your pup’s nose to stop
biting.Why?You will cause the pup to become hand-shy.If you expected a person to shake your hand
and they slapped your face instead and the next day they shook hands and the
next time…. what would your response be?You want your pup to relate positively to you, not be fearful of the
hand that may be feeding it, grooming it, putting it on a lead, etc.
learn bite inhibition, e.g. not to bite fully.In a pack of other dogs, it is important not to damage your relatives or
other pack members when playing.How
strong a play bite is depends upon the feedback obtained by the dog from the
“bitten” animal: if the “bitten” animal bites back or yelps or stops playing then
it was too hard.
for humans, dogs’ skin is thicker than human skin especially around the neck
and head area (where dogs tend to grab other dogs).
If you wait
until your pup has bitten your skin then your reaction is to pull away, the dog
has learnt only that it can make you dance.You should react when the pup grabs your clothing, including shoe laces,
etc.Don’t shout and dance about.Why?The pup learns to make you
more exciting and interesting and is rewarded.Do yelp and close down, stop
interacting and stop looking at your dog.Become immobile.After all, your
playmate has hurt you so why should you continue to play?After a period of one minute, normal activity
Don’t pat your pup when he/she climbs
or jumps up on you.Why?Your pup is being rewarded for jumping up.Do
only pet your dog when the 4 paws are on the ground, thereby preventing your
pup from learning to jump up.