Thursday, 1 July 2010

Talking puppies....


Here is a snippet of a chat I had with a puppy owner recently, and thought it might be of interest: 

Training any dog is a matter of personal approach of course and what suits one may not suit another. This also applies from breed to breed.

A quiet, balanced approach is what I like to drum on about, and it sounds as though you're on the right lines.

Other people with your puppy can be your worst enemies as they love to be marauded by a puppy and then walk away leaving you to put it all back together again. I am polite but firm, and tell people that I do not want him to jump up when saying hello (for example) I then show them the sit, hold the collar and then offer the back of hand and then progress to calm fussing. Start as you mean to go on I say, so of course the pup gets a puppyhood, but we start to introduce the rules from an early stage so it's not a shock at any point.

Very young dogs are very able to get the rules right from the start I can assure you. I do a few puppy visits that address problem behaviours, and it never ceases to amaze me how controlling and out of control some 12 week (or thereabouts) pups can be!

Sometimes we do need to constantly redirect for certain what appear to be persistent unwanted behaviours. If you let it go by without addressing it there and then, when will it stop? Will it stop? Puppyhood can at times feel like one constant noooooooooooooo. Be sure to mark positively the behaviour you do want and then you'll have a ratio which is perfectly acceptable. I read in The Times this morning at a coffee shop that experts advocate a ratio of 1 correction to 6 praises for teenagers...I thought that would work well for a young dog too.

Don't stress about bonding as you have a life time to do that. Correcting a dog will not adversely affect your relationship. If anything you may find the opposite. Keep it fair, keep it balanced. No shouting, no smacking etc required.

I don't like shaker bottles personally (though I have used them in certain circumstances) it can (you have a collie remember) set up a bit of a 'flinch' reaction, and I would rather use my voice and attention or withdrawal of attention for example.

Go with the flow and keep it balanced (gawd I sound like a hippie) and you'll be fine.

Best of luck.

Nick

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