Dog

Puppy training, why do it?

There is nothing worse than walking down the street and having a stranger’s dog bark at you, or growl, or bound up towards you and ignore pleas from their owner. Especially if you have young children or are nervous around dogs. We have been lucky that C has encountered some friendly dogs so far but we know friends who have had bad experiences which have made their children very nervous around animals. We think it’s part of being a responsible dog owner to have control of your dog when out in public. Not only that but we want to be confident that our toddler, and others who we spend time with, are safe around our puppy. A dog needs a recognised pack leader and, as J was the driving force behind having a dog, he is going to be in charge. So, therefore, he needs to be the person doing the training. As usual, he did extensive research and asked around to find the best local trainer and we ended up going for one recommended by numerous sources. Last week, when Jessie was just 9 weeks old she went for an assessment/introductory session. For anyone who hasn’t already met her, this is Jessie.


She’s a golden Labrador retriever and has a lovely temperament. Labradors are known for their intelligence and ease to train (one of the reasons why we wanted to get one). The trainer we went to said she would be easy to train and seems very amenable (but she probably says that to everyone). She will do a four week course (the first four Saturdays in September I think, once she has had all her vaccinations) and then after that she should have all the basics grasped. We will of course have to keep up with the training at home, even puppies have homework. The trainer already showed us some stratgies to start at home which I’ll go into more below. We’re also looking at doing gun dog training with her in case J ever wants to shoot with her (it will also mean she is super trained). 

So some of the key suggestions for training:

  • The puppy should not walk ahead of you, she should ideally either be by your side or behind you. Slightly in front is ok if necessary but she shouldn’t be too far ahead.
  • Use the puppies normal food as treats and give them lots of treats to reinforce good behaviour.
  • When she has gone to the toilet in the correct place say ‘be quick’ (goodness only knows why) and offer several treats
  • Praise after, not during, the good behaviour.
  • Start lead training as soon as possible to get them used to it
  • Focus on praise of positive behaviour rather than admonishing the bad

I hope this is useful to someone, once Jessie has started her proper puppy classes, I’ll do a more comprehensive training post.

Dog

Puppy, end of week 2

So we have now had Jessie as a part of our family for two weeks now and it feels like she’s been here for so much longer. Her confidence in her surroundings is growing and with this she has become more playful and more of a scamp. She’s done really well with housetraining and we’ve had very few, if any, accidents. We still do a bit of a poo watch after she’s eaten but she is taking herself to the backdoor most of the time. We’ve not heard a peep from her during the night which is brilliant and she’s using her puppy pad in the night as required. 

With labradors, mental challenge is as important (if not more important) than physical exercise so we’ve been giving her lots of different types of mental simulation. She’s been chasing an ice cube around the floor on a really hot day. 


Doing some basic training skills; she’s already mastered the ‘sit’ command and has been working on the ‘give me five’ (or paw) which she’s pretty good at. She’s got the hang of ‘fetch’ now but she doesn’t always like to give back the thrown article and instead likes to play tug of war, more practice needed I think. Next step is ‘down’ to get her lying down which she’s quite a way off so far. I’ve got a post about training to come later this week. 

She was due to have another one of her vaccinations on Saturday but had a bit of a rash on her tummy (the vet says it’s an allergic reaction possibly to washing powder or poison ivy and she has antibiotics to remedy it), so couldn’t get them this week. Hopefully she’ll be alright to have them next week instead. As she seems to be a big fan of trying to chew everything we’ve introduced a great tip from some friends of mine. We fill her Kong with cream cheese and then bung it in the freezer (Kong do sell their own product to fill with but it is a bit overpriced). Then when it’s out the freezer it can keep her entertained for ages trying to lick it out and the coldness helps to numb her sore gums (kind of like bonjela for puppies). 

Jessie is getting better at walking on the lead in the field although we are finding that whenever we’re out with C she always insists on holding the lead as well. It’s going to be an interesting time when Jessie starts getting bigger!