Steps to Training Success

1) Show your puppy how enjoyable obedience can be by making the training process fun and exciting! Use a LOT of energy and praise! 

2) Keep treats in your pocket at all times and stash them throughout your home (where your puppy can’t get them). Convince your puppy that treats can manifest from anywhere, at any time (but always have your puppy earn the treats).

3) At LEAST 5 times per day, ask your puppy to do ONE random command (come, sit, down, etc.). Be prepared with a treat to lure your puppy if needed (but NO BRIBING!). Treat and praise your puppy profusely when they have completed the exercise!

4) Always follow through! If you ask your puppy to do something, you must be prepared to help them execute the command (positively) if they don’t do it immediately and you must be ready to treat them once they have done it.

Additional Resources

Check out both of these articles to read more about Luring vs. Bribing & Mouthing in Puppies.

   

Barking

Goal: To reward our puppies for being quiet.

Exercise: Drop a treat when your dog is quiet.

You must make sure that you are dropping the treat before they bark! Timing is EVERYTHING!

If your dog does bark, you have three options:

1) Ignore the barking until it stops, wait a brief second for quiet, then reward.

2) Do a Foundation Recall (see video HERE to see what a Foundation Recall is).

3) Play the It's Your Choice Game (see video HERE to check out that game).

Jolly & Settle

Goal: To teach our puppies to calm down after being excited.

Exercise: 

1) Get your puppy really excited! 

2) Use deep massage to settle them back down!

3) Repeat!

Name Focus

Goal: To teach our puppies to look at us when we say their name.

Exercise:

1) Say your puppies name.

2) When they look at you, say "yes" sharply and give them a treat.

3) Repeat!

Hand Luring

Goal: To practice luring our puppies so that we are ready to lure them into the positions we ask of them.

We need to make sure we have the mechanics down so that when we need to lure them we're ready!

Exercise: Practice holding a treat as shown in the video and luring your dog around. Be sure to let your dog get the lure as a reward while they are driving into your hand.

Make sure your dog is attached to your lure, not a few inches away!

Your lure can only be effective for putting your dog into positions if they learn to stay on the lure!

Check out this video for a reminder about why we hold treats this way!

Foundation Recall

This is THE MOST important exercise to practice this week.

All other exercises will build off of this one.

To do a foundation recall, make the trill noise you heard in the video or the pup-pup-pup noise you heard in the video, and move backwards a bit.

Your puppy should come to you because that noise is so interesting and they have to check it out, once they do come to you, give them the reward. Also, if your puppy is on a leash, you can reel them in via their leash if they do not come when called via foundation recall.

Headcollar

Goal: To teach our puppies to walk on a headcollar. 

Remember headcollars give us lots of control over where our puppies are looking (they help us keep our puppies focus on us and not all the fun distractions) they are the easiest way to maintain a heel position.

Exercise: Continue working on getting your puppy comfortable in the headcollar following the Headcollar Training Plan

If you and your puppy are ready to move on from the "Introduction to the Nose Loop" step (they are putting their nose willingly in the nose loop and holding it there for 5+ seconds 5+ times), move to the "Sizing the Headcollar" step.

Do NOT move to the next step before your puppy is ready! 

Sit

Goal: To teach our puppies how to sit on command.

Exercise:

1) First, start by only practicing luring your puppy into position so that you both can get the feel for it. 

For a sit take the lure from their nose and move your hand backwards towards their back to get them to plop their butt down.

2) Once you both have the hang of luring, you can add in the command. Place a treat in your left hand and put it behind your back. This is your locked and loaded lure.

3) Say "sit" one time and one time ONLY.

4) If your puppy does not sit immediately, pull your locked and loaded lure out from behind your back and lure them into position.

5) As soon as they sit, say "yes", and give them the treat in your left hand that you used as a lure.

No bribing! If you hold the cookie out in front of your puppy while asking them to sit, they will always need that cookie in sight to sit! It becomes an integral part of the command!

Down

Goal: To teach our puppies to lay down on command.

Exercise:

1) First, start by only practicing luring your puppy into position so that you both can get the feel for it. 

For a down from a seated position, take the lure from their nose and move your hand down towards the ground between their feet to get them to lay all the way down.

2) Once you both have the hang of luring, you can add in the command. Place a treat in your left hand and put it behind your back. This is your locked and loaded lure.

3) Say "down" one time and one time ONLY.

4) If your puppy does not lay down immediately, pull your locked and loaded lure out from behind your back and lure them into position.

5) As soon as they lay down, say "yes", and give them the treat in your left hand that you used as a lure.

No bribing! If you hold the cookie out in front of your puppy while asking them to down, they will always need that cookie in sight to lay down! It becomes an integral part of the command!

Freak on a Leash

Goal: To prevent our puppies from becoming freaks on leashes!

If we always let people come up and pet our puppies, our puppies will start to expect it. They will then pay more attention to other people than to you. Plus, they may get frustrated when they are not allowed to go up to people and becoming freaks on leashes.

Exercise: 

1) Have a partner come up to you and your dog excitedly.

2) Body block by stepping in front of your puppy and yelling "NO!"

3) Repeat!

This exercise is good practice for both dog and handler!

Fist & Floor Leave-its

Goal: To teach our puppies that puppy teeth do not belong on human skin!

Exercise:

1) Put a good cookie in one hand and put that hand behind your back.

2) Have a fist of a few  lower value cookies/kibble and anchor that fist to your leg.

3) Your puppy will likely go after your fist because they know there is something in there. Once they stop going after your fist, say "yes" and give them the good cookie behind your back.

4) Repeat until they are no longer even trying to go after your fist.

5) If they are totally rocking it, take it to the floor! Same set ups, but this time your hand is covering the lower value cookies/kibble on the floor.

This exercise can be easily overdone! If it is overdone, we will lose our lure! Not something we want to happen!

Do WAY more luring than leave-its!

Tug

Goal: To teach our puppies how to play tug! This is also another exercise that will help our puppies learn that teeth don't belong on skin!

Exercise: Play some tug! When you are done playing tug, follow the video to get the tug back and end the game.

It's okay to let your puppy "win" sometimes and this will not cause aggression. Letting your puppy "win" will prevent them from not being willing to give it up because they are afraid you will take it away!

Also, be sure to follow the Rules of Tug:

1) The tug toy is your toy, not your dogs. Be sure to not leave it out all the time.

2) If a tooth touches you at all, even by accident, it is game over.

Your puppy may like to learn to play tug with a flirt pole. Check out this article to learn more about flirt poles and how to make one!

Obstacle

Goal: To build our puppies confidence in walking over strange (but safe) things!

Exercise: Find something strange, but safe, for your puppy to walk over in your house and lure them over it.

Have some fun & be creative!