Don’t wait to train it till you need it

Today I wanted to take photos of puppy retrieves. Of course, the place we do this best is the kitchen, sitting on the floor. Photog Marcy Mantell said no-go on the indoor photos with flying pup. Speed and no light does not mix. So out to the yard we went where we sometimes have good retrieves and sometimes we have lots of chase- no- come- back- with- toy. Still, the photos were cute and I have a record now of both good and bad retrieving at 9 weeks.  Yeah, I should have spent more time outside, but it was 100 degrees last weekend, and we played inside. Should have trained that more before Iwanted him to retrieve in front of the camera outdoors!







We wasted most of the today’s food alottment working on walking beside me without attacking my feet. I wasn’t going to waste so much time on moving ground work at this early age, but clicking and treating walking beside me is what works to keep him thinking about the position and not thinking about killing my tender toes. I can also carry a dangling toy or leash and get him to tug while walking. The attention is on killing toys not my shoes. It is working. I could not walk 10 feet with him on leash a few days ago without the shoe shark coming in for blood. Another method that works is that I can totally stop moving when he comes in for a nibble, nothing interesting happening when I am standing still, and he will stop. I think this annoying behavior will be gone in a couple more days of lots of treats, patience and toy work.

If I only practiced walking on leash when I really needed to get somewhere it would be totally frustrating. I learned 35 years ago when I strated training horses that you never wait to train something till you need the behavior NOW. Like you don’t wait to teach the stallion colt to wear a halter and load in the trailer until he cuts his leg and you have to load a couple hundred pound monster who is in panic into the trailer NOW. When they hit the ground the halter goes on and you feed them from the back of the trailer until they think it is fun jumping in and out.

This one training detail has always been at the forefront of my training plans. I don’t train walking on leash when I need to get to the field right NOW with the pup, I train it when I have no need to go anywhere other than up and down the yard to teach leash manners. I don’t teach “wait at the door skills’ when I really need to go in or out the door. I train it when I definitely don’t need to pass through the door and when I have the time to put in the effort and energy and reinforce all the skills I need long before I really need them.

In a couple days we head out of town for our first weekend of shows, Ace and the nnp (no name puppy) and me in the new RV. I am looking forward to the adventure and spending lots of play time with a pup I hope has a name before I get back home on Monday.IMG_9163IMG_9251   

Here’s a couple more cute shots Marcy took of the angel puppy.
I love training pups!!! 



2 responses

  1. What great advice! It’s especially important for dogs like my Dobe who grow so quickly as puppies that the amount of time you have when you’re easily able to hold them is remarkably short.

  2. Hi Nancy
    Congratulations with your nnp. He is very cute. I will enjoy keeping up with your training. He will be so much fun for you. How is Ace with the puppy? ‘

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