Puppy Kindergarten Assignments & Information
- 4 On the Floor
- Being Alone is OK!
- Body Language of Fear
- Building a Cue
- Check List-Don’t forget your stuff!
- Clicker Basics
- COME! And Find me!
- Controlling Over-excitement
- Dog Trick Ideas
- Doggie Zen
- Exercise Planner
- Feeding Schedules
- Go to Place
- Hand Targeting
- How to Greet a Dog
- How to select a training treat
- Kibble Toss
- Kids & Dogs (the RIGHT way)
- Kids & Dogs (Things to Avoid)
- Leave It
- Loose Leash Walking
- Lure and Reward
- Move Away From the Guest
- Name Game
- New Experiences are OK!
- No No Bad Dog
- NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE!
- Positions Sit & Down
- Premack Principle
- Reinforcement Accounts
- Relationship Building
- Say Please
- Shape and Reward
- Sharing is GOOD!
- Socialization Log
- Strategic Treat Placement
- The Importance of Physical & Mental Exercise
- The Reward Event
- Top 10 Training Tips
- Toy Exchange
- Training Log
- Training Pointers
- What does your dog know
Awesome! You are in Puppy Class with your new pup! Now what are your goals? Remember that puppies must have a great experience whatever they are doing and whatever they are exposed to. If your puppy has a marvelous time in class, plays with his new friends, gets petted by new people and maybe learns to Sit, you’ve done a GREAT job!
Puppy class focus is on socialization. So just what is socialization? Well playing with other pups and getting petted by other people is only a small part of socializing your pup. Socialization means exposing the pup to many many different environments, textures, people, places, smells AND ENSURING A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.
Expose your dog to LOTS of new stuff and new places!
Has your pup had all her shots? GREAT! Time to join our Sunday morning walks!
Play – Play is very important when raising your pup and is a huge part of training. Teach your pup to find things, invest in interactive games and puzzles, put food in a box and hide the box, read our article on hide and seek, it’s in the curriculum download above.
Relationship Building – Relationship building is really important at any age and for the life that you own your dog. Training and relationships are a life long commitment to your dog. Teach your dog that he can trust you, he can count on you, that you are gentle and kind. Provide his food, water, toys, attention with warmth; and maybe ask for a little something before you so generously give to your pup. How about “sit” for dinner?
Stop Pulling on My Leash! – Don’t pull on your dog’s leash. It effectively teaches your dog to ignore you. By yanking and pulling on his leash, you are not teaching him to pay attention to you or to look at you when he hears his name and in fact when you are yanking and pulling on his leash you are most likely not using his name. Further, when your dog pulls away from you what do you do? You pull back. And what does he do? He pulls harder. And what do you do? You pull harder and so on and so. It’s not enjoyable for the dog or for you. Now that you are in puppy class, you have started playing the name game and have learned about marking behavior with “YES”. So when your dog is pulling away from you and the leash is taught, call his name in a very happy voice and when he looks at you say “YES” enthusiastically, as he approaches you praise praise praise and either toss him a treat OR even better bring him over to what had his attention if you can! Example, you are in the pet store and a person of interest is near your dog, he pulls and pulls to get their attention so what do you do? You say “FIDO” in your happiest and most enthusiastic voice and when he looks at you and comes miandering over to you say “YES” and bring him over to be petted by that person who he wanted to visit. Wonderful way to teach the dog “pay attention to me and I’ll give you want you want”.
Puppy Mouthing and biting – A great resource for puppy raising is Dog Star Daily. Regarding puppy biting and mouthing, it’s normal. Puppies investigate things with their mouths and they HAVE to chew. Provide your pup with lots of great chew toys; stuff a Kong with yummies and freeze it for example. While you are petting your pup, he may put his mouth on you. As long as pup is mouthing gently, you can allow this, this teaches the pup bite inhibition. When pup bites too hard, you can say OUCH really loud and stop playing with the pup right away. This also teaches bite inhibition. Science and research has taught us that dogs learn bite inhibition at an early age through playing with other pups and dogs, and us. Once a dog has reached adult, he can no longer learn bite inhibition.
So what to do if you want to pet your pup and he’s biting? Put something else in his mouth, like a chew toy.
See our Training Tips page for help with housebreaking and crate training.
Training – It is important that you Train behaviors so that you can Use those behaviors when you need them. Take every opportunity that you see to train, and set up plenty of training trials. What does that mean? For example when teaching a dog to come when called, set it up with the dog on a long line, 20 or 30 foot leash, and call your dog. If he comes to you YIPPEE and make a party! If he doesn’t, use the leash as an anchor and go get your dog. Do not pull on him, he is not a fish to be reeled in! OR you see your dog is bored and just miandering around outdoors, good time to call him and show him some entertainment! OR your dog’s recall is coming along great and you see he is hunting chipmunks in the woodpile. Call your dog and when he comes YIPPEE rewards and love AND LET HIM GO BACK TO HUNTING CHIPMUNKS.
Mark And Reward Training! When you see your dog do something you like, whether you asked for it or not, say “YES!” in a happy enthusiastic voice and deliver Love, Praise and a Treat! Your dog will do “it” again!
Name Game – So how important is this “Name Game” anyway you ask? Your dog knows his name you say? If you were in a room full of exciting other dogs and people would your dog look at you when you called his name? If your dog was getting petted and loved and treated by someone, would he look at you when you called his name?
The Name Game is really important to train, and train a lot and don’t stop training just because your dog knows his name. Make your dog’s name mean “prime rib is coming to you!”
So what is your dog suppose to do when you call his name? Just look at you. His name just means look at you and gives you the opportunity to ask for something like Sit, or Come or just focused attention.
Generalization! Dog’s don’t generalize well. Help the dog generalize by asking for known behaivors everywhere. Sit in the kitchen, Sit in the living room, Sit outside, Sit in the pet store.
Short Training Sessions! Train your dog in 2 minutes sessions, then take a 2 minute break, then 2 minutes of training again! These short training sessions will speed up your training by allowing both the dog and YOU to stay focused and to have fun. Don’t be intent on getting to the final product of the behavior in 2 minutes, just work for 2, then take 2 off. Repeat for 30 minutes several times per day.
Jackpot! Throw down a handful of tasty treats and be extra silly and enthusiastic to show your dog that you LOVE what he just did!
Luring – Luring is putting a piece of food (or something that the dog LOVES) in your hand and getting him to follow your hand. Luring is a great way to get your dog into a sit, a down, a heel etc. Luring also teaches the dog a hand cue for the behavior so be careful that your had is positioned exactly the same whether you have food in it or not. I like to keep my hand flat and put the piece of food under my thumb.
Capturing – Capturing is seeing your dog perform a behavior that you did not ask for and saying “YES” and delivering a reward. Capturing is a great way to teach sit, down, heel, tricks, etc.
Shaping – Shaping is saying “YES” to small proximations toward an end goal. Example a dog who doesn’t want to lay down but will go half way down – say “YES” to half way down a few times then wait for a 3/4 down before saying “YES” and then eventually a complete down. Shaping is a great way to teach sit, down, heel, tricks etc.
Enthusiasm – Your Enthusiasm, how important is it anyway?
Your enthusiasm is really a huge ingredient when training your dog. Dog’s don’t speak your language, they hear your tone, discern trained words, watch your body language etc. to determine and figure out what it is you want from them.
At home with the family, we are usually very relaxed with our dogs and perhaps a bit silly. We might squeek at them, tell them we love them, cuddle with them, play with them and we are generally pretty happy when we are at home with our dogs.
But what about when company comes ………… dreaded company. Do we then Yell at our dogs to “get off” if they jump or “get off the couch” or “GO LAY DOWN” in a stern voice, etc. Take the time to train your dog nice behaviors with one guest at a time and be sure to have that same enthusiasm that you would have if there was no guest in your home.
What about when you take your dog out? Maybe to training class, maybe shopping, maybe for a walk. How important is your enthusiasm then? It’ is very important! If your dog sees a stiff, stern, grumpy human when he is out and about, and a happy, silly, relaxed human when he’s at home it sends mixed messages but the one CLEAR message it sends is “get me home, it’s more fun there”.
Your Enthusiasm is very important !
Recall – Getting your dog to come when he is called is easier than you think! It’s also easy to ruin the recall and teach him that coming when he is called is not a great thing.
- Make certain that the reward matches the behavior he just gave. In other words, if he was chasing chipmunks and came when he was called, and you petted him on the head and made him stay indoors, bored, for the evening – will he come to you next time he is having fun? No he won’t. BUT if he comes when he is called, you give him a JACKPOT of awesome treats, a game of tug and chase hiim around the house for 5 minutes will he come again? You Betcha!
- The BEST reward you can give your dog for coming when he is called is to let him go back to doing what he was doing!. This means setting up training trials AND watching for good training opportunities.
- NEVER punish your dog when he comes to you. If your dog was having fun digging in your prize flower garden, and you call him, and he comes to you – DON’T PUNISH because all he knows is that he came to you. You must reward him for leaving his very fun activity and coming to you.
Stay – Teaching your dog to Stay is easier than you think! Here are a couple of training tips for Stay:
- Always go back to your dog to release him from his stay. Never Ever call your dog out of a Stay.
- Count the seconds! Yes, Seconds. The best way to train a good solid stay is to increase duration in increments of seconds. You think “I want a 5 second Stay” – cue your dog to Stay, count to 5 and release. During training, never just wait to see how long your dog will stay. Count the seconds so that you can track progress.
- Train duration and distance separately. This means train up to a 30 second stay while you stand right in front of your dog, no moving away from your dog. Once your dog can stay for 30 seconds (and it doesn’t matter what he is looking at, he just needs to Stay) then it’s time to work on distance, one step at a time.
- When you start working on distance, drop your duration down to seconds again. Take one step away from your dog, return to him right away and release. Increase distance one step at a time.
Leadership – Don’t be “the boss” or “the bully” or “the alpha”, be the Leader! What do “Leaders” do?
Leaders control all resources such as water, treats, food, play, attention & petting, sleeping spots, toys; anything your dog likes, you as the leader controls! What does THAT mean? It means sit while I make your dinner and stay there until it is firmly on the floor. It means wait patiently until I throw the ball. It means sit at the heel position and you may get a treat.
Leaders make rules and teach those rules to others. Leaders do NOT have to go through doors first, but polite dogs wait at the door until released to go through. It doesn’t matter WHAT your rules are, make them as simple and silly as YOU want, just have rules teach rules and stick to rules.
Does your dog Respect you? Probably but who cares? YOU have all the stuff he likes! Teach him how to get access to those things, such as down stay on the beddie may just get you a bully-stick to chew on!
If you are not your dog’s benevolent leader at home, will he pay attention to you in public? No.
If you are not your dog’s benevolent leader at home, will he give you polite behaviors outside the home when asked? No.
If you are not your dog’s benevolent leader at home, will he work for you during class, at the pet store, on a leisurely walk? No.
Leadership starts and is strengthened at home, along with relationship building and your enthusiasm.
Leave-It! – Leave It is an important behavior to work, work hard, work creatively, and make strong. You may be walking and see a dead rabid skunk. You may see some other danger that interests your dog. You may see children running. Leave-It means “take your attention off it, and in fact look at me please”. Remember, Never Ever Ever give your dog the article you asked him to leave as a reward. That will only teach him to obsess over the article and compete with you for it.
Wrong: “Leave-it!” “Good boy, ok you can have it now”
Right: “Leave-it!” “Good boy!” and offer something different for a reward
Example: You drop your chicken dinner on the floor and say “Leave-it!” “Good boy! Here is some cheeze RIGHT out of the fridge just for you!!”