Category Archives: Raising a Puppy

Adventures of Bill (guide dog in training) weeks 15-16

Bill is now 4 months old. He has gotten all of his shots and vaccines. He weighs 32 pounds. His  legs are getting so long but he still hasn’t grown into his feet.

He is now  house broken. He comes to me more often than going to the door but he no longer busy’s in the house.

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Training tips for 15-16  week old puppy

A 15-16 week old puppy needs to learn to come when called. The training for this actually starts on day one. When you begin feeding your puppy you should whistle feed them.  Whistle feeding is when you put the food in the bowl and put your puppy in a sit. You whistle and then say go eat. At the beginning you will have to hold him in a sit and let him go when you give the command. Soon the puppy will associate a whistle with the pleasure of food. Training your dog to come can be a lot of fun. You want your puppy to come to you on command.  Start with a long leash. Hook the leash to the pup and walk to the end of the leash, if your puppy follows you, get a someone to hold him until you give the  COME command and whistle. Then pull the leash toward you so that the puppy will run to you.  Give your puppy lots of praise.  Once your puppy has mastered this concept then you are ready to try the command off leash. Be sure to choose a time when the dog is playing outside in a fence in area and not when they have been bad.  Don’t call your puppy to come and then punish them for something they did.  If you do this, they will relate coming to you with being punished. When you call your puppy use an excited, happy voice and then whistle. The puppy will want to come and see what all the excitement is about.  Get at eye level with your puppy and give them lots of praise when he gets to you. You can always give him a little treat. Don’t give a treat every time or he will learn to come only when you have a treat.     You want your puppy to want to come to you for love and praise. If he is doing something that you want him  not to do, you go to him and make the correction.

There are times when you need your puppy to lie down. This is a command that is important for a guide dog in training. Service dogs spend most of their day waiting. The “down” command is a way to tell your puppy to settle down and wait. Young puppies master the sit command fairly easy but the down command has two-parts. The first part is the act of lying down and the second part is staying there.  I begin with Bill by using a bone or his favorite toy. I hold it up to his eyes and slowly lower it to the floor. While he is following the bone in a downward motion I say “down”.  Once he is fully down I give him the bone and put my hand on his back to hold him down to chew on the bone, then I say “stay” . Each time we stay in the down position a little longer. Until one day I no longer have to put my hand on his back. When choosing the bone or toy to work with make sure it is a special one that he doesn’t get very often. If you need a high quality toy or treat check out www.greatpup.com for a great selection and super prices.

Bill’s Accomplishments:

  • Has lost 5 teeth
  • House broken
  • Comes without the  long leash
  • Sits when I put on his leash and jacket on
  • Jumps into the car on his own
  • Loves to swim and go on long walks

    Bill's favorite chew toy.

    Bill’s favorite chew toy.

 

Adventures of Bill (guide dog in training) weeks 13 &14

Bill in coat at the first puppy meeting

Bill in coat at the first puppy meeting

Bill has had a busy two weeks. He is learning new things everyday. Puppies at this age are very curious this is both good and bad news. The good news is that your puppy is open to engaging in new environments. The bad news is that their curiosity can get them into trouble.

Training tips for 13-14 week old puppy

Bill has begun to adventure out into the public.  He has been wearing his coat more, sometimes just around the house to get use to it.  When we go out he walks with a small nylon leash. This is very important because you want a light leash that isn’t going to drag or weigh him down. Puppies at this age generally follow you around. This is the perfect time to teach your dog to walk on a leash. Begin by going short distances. Walk slowly and encourage your dog to walk along side of you. If he doesn’t give the leash a little tug say “forward” and when he starts to walk forward again say “good boy”.  If  your puppy runs out ahead of you, use the command “steady” and stop walking and pull him back to you. Being consistent is so important at  the beginning stage of learning to walk on a leash. Never let the dog drag or pull while walking.  If you do, you are teaching the dog to pull you.  Instead, stop walking and give the steady command when he is beside you again begin walking. I talk to Bill the whole time we are walking, giving him lots of praise for walking beside me. I have raise 7 dogs and none of them have ever had to wear a gentle leader or choke collar to prevent them from pulling. Never allow them to pull and you won’t have to worry about teaching them not to pull. You need to walk your dog daily and continue to work on these command. Be patient and consistent.

Now that we are walking on leash and going out into public it is time to talk about your backpack. Every puppy walker carries a backpack with our supplies. These supplies are very important for three reasons: 1.  to clean up any accidents 2.  to help train the puppy while out and about and finally having things to entertain your puppy makes the outing a blast!  My backpack has the following in it:

  • wet wipes, paper towels and a plastic zip lock bag to clean up accidents
  • air freshener spray in case we leave a smell
  • a tie down cable ( I don’t use this very often) but sometimes I need him to stay close to me
  • toys, bones and treats to keep him entertained while he is waiting for me.
  • Hand gel
  • and of course, collar, leash and coat

One of the first places Bill and I went was to a restaurant. This is an easy one. I always busy him before going into any building.  Bill goes under the table while I  eat.  I always bring a special bone for him to chew on while I eat. The only time that he gets this bone is when he is under the table at a restaurant.  Most of the time he is so excited about the bone that he spends the whole time chewing or sleeping because he wore himself out chewing.  I carry him out of the restaurant because I don’t want him to have an accident in front of people eating at the beginning of our training. When his bladder control is more trustworthy I will let him walk out of the restaurant on him own. Sometimes it depends on how far we are from the exist door.

Bill’s Accomplishment:

  • Went to his first puppy meeting
  • Went to the mall and a few stores and restaurants
  • Had a swim in the ocean
  • Weighs 28 lbs at 13 weeks
  • Sits on command
  • Whistle feeding ( we will cover this next time)

Adventures of Bill ( guide dog puppy in training) Weeks 11-12

11 weeks bill photo

I can’t believe how fast a little black lab puppy can grow. It makes me sad to see how quickly he is growing. This must be how parents feel about their children. We  want them to stay little forever. But they don’t, so we continue our pursuit to raise a great pup.

Training tips for 11-12 week old puppy

Bill is the first puppy that we have raised in the summer time. I must admit raising a puppy during the summer has it challenges. We live in North Carolina where the heat and humidity can before unbearable. Puppies dehydrate very quickly so it is important to have access to water at all times. I know what you are thinking, the more they drink the more they “busy” and you are right. I think of it as more opportunities to practice house breaking.

The other challenge that summer brings to raising Bill is the payment. We are to take Bill out to socialize him and practice walking on leash, but when the temperature is 90 degrees with the heat index of 100, it is difficult to put Bill in a hot car and go to the store and walk across a hot parking lot. You should test the payment yourself. I wear flip-flops a lot during the summer so I can easily slip them off and put my foot on the payment for about 10 seconds. If it is too hot for my foot it is too hot for Bill’s feet. Your hand can work just as well. When the payment is too hot, I just pick him up and put him in a grocery cart and push him across the parking lot. We work on walking on a leash when we get in the nice cool air conditioning store.  Remember if you can’t take your dog inside then don’t take him with you to the store on a hot day. A car can easily heat up to 110 degrees and cause a heat stroke and kill your dog.

Bill is ready to start learning commands.  The next two things I want him to learn is “off” and “sit”. We are getting out more and meeting lots of new people. The first thing that Bill and all puppies want to do is jump on people. When we meet someone I put Bill in a sit. I  tell the person waiting to pet him not to pet him until he sits.  At this point, I say “sit” while pushing his bottom down. When he sits I say “good boy”. When you first start this training you may have to keep your hand on his bottom while the person is petting him.  He will soon learn to sit if he wants someone to pet him. If he breaks the sit, stop petting. The nice things about this approach is Bill can’t jump on people if he is sitting.

I use the command “off” to mean, off  of people, furniture or anything I don’t want him climbing on. Whenever he jumps on something I say “no, off” and push him down. When he is no longer on the object I say” good boy”. He will soon learn not to jump on things.

Puppy kisses

Puppy kisses

Bill’s Accomplishment:

  • He is climbing up and down 3 to 4 stairs on his own.
  • Bill is learning the command to sit before eating, putting on his collar and leash, and being petted.
  • Bill weighs 22 lbs at 11 weeks
  • He learned how to play in the pool  to keep cool
  • He went to my mother’s house and met the rest of the family.
  • He has played with large and small dogs and loves them all
  • Bill made it through the 4th of July with no signs of fear with all the fireworksHappy 4th of July!Happy 4th of July!

 

The Adventures of Bill ( guide dog in training for the blind) Week 9&10

Bill on the beach!

Bill on the beach!

I am always amazed at how smart puppies are and how quickly they learn. We continue to work on house breaking. Bill busy, busy’s every time we take him out. Our routine has made it easy for my husband and I to learn when he needs to go out. We still have accidents but every day he has fewer to none and every day he can go a bit longer between outings.

Training tips for 9-10 week old  puppy

The next three things you want to focus on with your pup is building trust, cutting teeth and loving his crate time.

1. Building trust: In order to successfully train you dog to be a loving, well-behaved dog you must build a trusting relationship. Remember a puppy associates whether you are pleased or angry with the last things he has done. No matter what you puppy may have done be pleasant and use kind words, a pat on the head and a smile. Teach your dog to trust you by being a safe place for him to come. When you call your puppy and then punish, you undermine trust in you. Say the puppies name as often as possible, “they are still learning their name” even when they bring you a shoe you say “no” and thank you when you take the shoe away from the puppies. Replace the shoe with a toy.

2. Your puppy is still cutting teeth. This is why they are putting everything in their mouth. It is important to give you puppy things to chew. One of the best toys for your dog to chew is a West paw toy. They are soft enough to chew but will not break into pieces. You can order them at www.greatpup.com.  Another great thing I do is give Bill ice cubes. They are free and they serve two purposes. One they give him something to chew and play with and they also work to soothe his gums by numbing them.  Bill loves ice-cubes!

3. The best thing for Bill, is his crate. This is his personal place. We can’t watch him 24 hours a day so there are times that he stays in his crate. You want your puppy to love his crate so the best way to start this love relationship is to feed your dog inside his crate. This makes the crate a happy place as well as keeping him contained while eating. Every time you put your dog inside his crate use the command “kennel up” and every time you get him out say

“out”. These command will help you later in training. No puppy should stay in their crate for longer than 3 hours at a time.

Crates have so many benefits:

  • they give your dog a chance for some alone time.
  • it is safe place that they can’t get in trouble or harm themselves.
  • It teaches them to control their bladder
  • It’s their den, which is what pack animals like.

Bill’s new accomplishments:

  • He went for his first vet visit, got shots and weighed in a 17 lbs
  • He went to the beach for the first time. We only walked, too early to introduce waves.
  • He rode in a shopping cart at a large supermarket in coat.
  • He spent half a day with both my husband and I at work.
  • He seems to be learning his name.
  • He learned he likes sleeping on his back
  • He has found the air conditioning vent and like to lay over them.
Bill sleeping upside down

Bill sleeping upside down

Bill with his West paw bumi

Bill with his West paw bumi

 

The Adventures of Bill ( guide dog in training for the blind)

Meet Bill

Meet Bill

Sunday we got our fourth guide dog in training for the blind.  I have written about this before but for those who don’t know. My husband and I train puppies for the foundation of the blind in Long Island New York. Each year I say I am going to keep a blog about our adventures,  I get busy and never do. So here goes the first attempt.

Bill came to us on Sunday June 9th. He is a special puppy because his dad is Abner.  Another dog we raised a few years back.  His face  is on my blog page.   So technically he is our grand pup . He looks just like his daddy. A beautiful black lab, full of love and spirit.

Training tips for a 7-8 week old puppy

When you first bring home your puppy there are two things you want to focus on the first  two weeks:

1. House breaking you want to begin house breaking on day one, hour one and minute one.

  • We use the command “busy, busy”. You can choose to say whatever command you want.
  • You need to set a routine for your puppy. They are like babies and need to be on a schedule. Because they are so young they have a very small bladder and will need to be taken out every half hour to hour depending on the size of your puppy.
  • Always take them to the same spot on leash, give command and when they “go”, then praise, praise, praise. Then they can come inside and have free range of the house to play. If they are going all over your house let them play in their crate and take them out every half hour to “busy”. Puppies learn very quickly when they follow the command then they can go inside and play.
  • Always take them outside after eating and sleeping. Puppies take lots of naps throughout the day so each time they wake up take them out.
  • Don’t get frustrated with your puppy. House breaking takes time but with consistency  you will be successful.

2. Teach them the word “no”! Before your dog learns his name he needs to learn the word “no”.

  • Use the word “no” “leave it”  to identify the things around the house he is not allowed to play with, chew or touch.
  • As soon as he leaves the item alone them him “good boy”.
  • Give him an alternative toy. When your puppy is playing with something he shouldn’t, tell me “no” and give him a toy he can play with and when he begins playing with his toy say “good boy”.
  • Think long-term. Start limiting the things your puppy can play with or chew on . Sometimes when they are young it is cute that they are carrying around a shoe. It’s not cute when they eat your shoe at three years old.

Begin your first two weeks focusing on the training above.

Bill’s new accomplishments this week:

  • Learned how to play tug of war with Coal.
  • Got stuck under the coffee table.
  • Learned that he could run, jump and bark.
  • Went on his first outing to an outdoor restaurant and sat on my lap during lunch.

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Reading your dog’s body language

Often time is appears that my dog can read my mind, after all, and soon as I finish putting on my make-up my dog stands up and walks to the bedroom dog because he knows that I am ready to leave for work and he is going eat. When I put on my tennis shoes he gets all excited because he knows that we are going for a walk. He even knows when it is time for bed. I brush my teeth and he goes and gets on his bed to go night, night.

What is actually happening is that he is observing and studying my habits and routines, and has learned to anticipate my actions. Since dogs communicate with each other through body language they quickly pick up on ours. You can do the same with your dog. Just as your dog takes cues from watching you, so can you learn to interpret what’s on your dog’s mind by watching him. Mason my dog, comes running up to me when I first sit down in my recliner for the evening. His ears are up and he tail is wagging so much that his entire body is moving back and forth. I know what is coming. He is a going to jump up into the chair with me. All 65 lbs of him.  This is when I interrupt Mason’s naughty thought and distract him by giving him a command.

In a stern voice I say “sit”, which stops him in his tracks. Once I have interrupted his thoughts I distract him with a ball or toy.  He is rewarded by a petting or a treat. Then I tell him to lie down. This technique can be used for any naughty habits your dog does that you would like to change. You first have to anticipate their behavior by observing their body language.

How many words does your dog understand?

Tagalog Talking Bird

Tagalog Talking Bird (Photo credit: joshbousel)

 

Sure everyone’s dog knows the basic “sit” “stay” “down”.  But if you really want to impress your friends you can teach your dog over 100 words.  It just takes time, motivation and patience.

 

The first time I met a dog who could pick out his toys by name was when I was in college.  My friend had a bird and this bird talked nonstop. Their dog’s name was Rufus and he was a busy little dog. The bird would call for Rufus he would come running into the living room looking at the humans to see who called him.

 

When he figured out that it was the bird he would look up at the cage and bark. The bird would call out a toy. “Rufus get your bone”, Rufus would run around the house until he found the bone and bring it to the birds cage.  The dog would get any toy by name, bone, ball, bear etc. The bird often liked to play with Rufus by calling for him to get a toy and before Rufus could bring him that toy he would call out another one. This would put poor Rufus into a frenzy trying as many dogs do to please the bird. Rufus never failed to bring every toy that the bird called.

 

I was so impressed by this little dog. I thought that he was the smartest dog ever.  Today I know that all dogs can learn this trick.  You simply choose one toy. Lay the toy on the ground in front of the dog and tell him ” get the bone”. Once he does you give him lots of praise. After a few repetitions, try putting the bone with other toys and ask him to “get the bone”. If he goes for another toy simply ignore him and keep saying “get the bone”.  When he gets the bone, praise, praise , praise. With practice, your dog can learn to associate words with objects.

 

This game is a great way to direct your dog from unwanted behavior. Entertain guest when they come over. But most importantly it is a great way to bond with your dog. This game requires participation from both owner and pet. The time spent learning any new trick build a trusting and positive, fun relationship.

 

Train a puppy change a life

Ever wonder how dogs become service dogs?  Well, like all dogs they start out as adorable little puppies. The difference between an ordinary puppy and a service puppy  is  from day one they begin their training. They are held, loved and touched on a daily basis. When they turn eight weeks old they are sent to a loving home of a puppy walker.  These are amazing people who agree to raise these precious animals through their puppy years.  The puppies go everywhere with their puppy walker. They go to work, the grocery store, movies, mall, church, school all public places. They are exposed to  all  types of  situations. The puppy walkers are constantly looking for fears, hesitations anything that would keep them from being a good service dog. 

The puppy learn  the basic commands, come, sit, stay, leave it, forward etc. These commands are so important for the future training of service dogs. These small puppies learn quickly that praise and love are their rewards for following commands. They’re so smart and seem to know that they have a very important job to learn. All puppies in training wear a yellow coat. The coat represents working time. The coat is removed when it is time to play or just hang out at home.  Living with the puppy walkers gives the puppy a place to learn house manner, interact with family members and just be a dog.

When the puppies are between 1 year and 15 months they are called back to the foundation to continue their training. This is the hardest part for people like me, the puppy walker to say good-bye. You see, I am  raising my third puppy. Raising these amazing dogs is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Puppy walkers are all volunteers. It takes hundreds every year to raise these dogs through their puppy years. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life and change your life in a positive way. Become a puppy walker and meet some of the most amazing dogs.  Even if you are only a part of these puppies lives a short amount of time it is the most  crucial year of their lives.  You can see more photos and information by liking my fan page at Facebook.com/greatpup

Visit: http://www.guidedog.org  for more information on becoming a puppy walker.

Training your dog to be a great pup part III sit/stay

The question that is most often asked by dog owners is, ” How do I prevent my dog from jumping on me?”  The truth of the matter is that when a dog jumps on you it is their way on greeting you. They are saying hello, nice to meet you or I am so glad you are home.  As annoying as this behavior maybe be I don’t recommend that you punish your dog for jumping instead teach them to sit and stay. Your dog can’t jump on you while he is sitting.

Even more dangerous than jumping on people is the issue of safety. Many dogs take off running out any open door. They could end up in the middle of the street and get ran over. Teaching them the command of sit and stay at the door and waiting for the command “release” will keep them safe. It will also allow you to have visitors over to your house without having to put your dog away in fear that they might run over the visitor and knock them out of the way to get out the door.

Sit and stay is also useful when getting in and out of the car, going up and down stairs, waiting for their food  and greeting others as well as any other activities where you want your dog to wait in one spot for a short period of time.

So how to you teach your dog to sit and stay: You need to teach your dog three commands;

  • sit
  • stay
  • release

Release is the command that allows your dog to leave the stay command. It is very important that you give the “release” command consistently along with the sit and stay command. If you forget then you will teach your dog that he can decide when to release himself and then he will move at will. This behavior will defeat your whole point of sit and stay.

Start with the sit command. Use your normal voice and say “sit” as a statement not “sit?’.  If your dog doesn’t understand what you want him to do show him by saying the command and at the same time pushing his bottom down to the ground. When your dog is in a sit position praise, praise praise.  Another way to teach sit is using a treat. Say “sit” hold the treat in front of the dog, slowly move it over your dogs forehead and push your dogs bottom to the ground. When they are in the sitting position give them the treat. If you have a food motivated dog they will pick up on this very quickly. Continue working on the sit command until your dog sits every time you command him to. Randomly give him treats and praise for sits. Then the next time you come home from work and he wants to jump up on you give him the sit command and then pet, praise and love him for not only following your command but not jumping on you.

Teaching your dog to stay: Once your dog has mastered the sit command then begin the stay command. Start with dinner time. Put  your dog in a sit and tell him to stay while you place his bowl on the floor. If your dog breaks the stay before you release him, pick up the bowl.  Once your dog stays then give the release command so that your dog can come over and eat. Eating is one of the best parts of your dog’s day so use this time to teach stay and release.

You can also practice at the door. Start with using a leash. put your dog in a sit at the door. Say sit, stay and then begin to open the door. If your dog breaks his sit  close the door. Having your dog on a leash will prevent your dog from running out the door at the beginning of training. You will find over time your dog will understand they are to sit and stay until the release commands allows them to go outside. You will need to practice at every door in your house for consistency.

If you have stairs teach your dog to stay at the bottom of the stairs until you have climb the stairs then you release them. When they start to follow you up the stairs put them back in the same spot and say stay. Practice until you can walk all the way to the top while your dog waits at the bottom. You can use treats to reinforce their good behavior.  Use the same procedure when coming down the stairs.

Sit, stay and release is use whenever you want your dog to remain in one spot for a short time.  This training will make your dog a great pup!

 

Training your dog to be a greatpup

A dog that is looking for someone to show him how to be a great pup.

We have all been around unruly, untrained dogs and I am not sure who is more uncomfortable me,the owner or the dog.  Either way an untrained dog misses out on the fun of life. They are put away, when company comes over to visit so that they will not jump on the neighbors. Untrained dogs are put away, when the family sits down for dinner because they beg at the table.  These dogs never get to go on walks because they drag their owners across the neighborhood.  Finally if these poor dogs are ever left off leash they run away not to return until they feel like returning.

Most dogs live between eight to sixteen years. Why not make these years enjoyable with your dog. All great dogs  should be trained in the following areas:

1) To come when called

2) Be crate trained

3) To learn the basic commands sit,stay  and leave it

4) To walk on a leash

I have addressed using crate training to house break your dog in an earlier blog. Teaching your dog to come. This is so important for several reasons, first for the safety of your dog. If your dog runs away from you or escapes from your backyard you want to be able to recall your dog.  This command could save your dog’s life. It could prevent your dog from running into the street and being hit by a car.

Secondly, teaching your dog to come builds trust between you and your dog. When your dog comes to you it should be a happy experience for them. If your dog chews up the newspaper and brings it  to you.  You then begin to  scold him for chewing the newspaper. Then you just taught your dog that when he comes to you he will feel bad and be scolded. So instead, make coming to you a happy, pleasurable experience. Be nice and use kind words.

Start by putting your dog on a leash. Let the dog run to the end of the leash and then say “come” giving the leash a little tug your way. Once the dog runs to you, be over joyed with praise, pets, kind words and even some small treats. Gradually release the dog further and further from you until you are comfortable letting them off leash in the house or fenced in backyard. Repeat the process until the dog trust that coming to you is a happy experience and in return you trust that your dog will come every time you recall him.

greatpup

For people who treat their dog as a member of the family. This blog will give you the latest product trends for your dog as well as tips and news to make your dog a greatpup.

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