Category Archives: dog training

Puppy Socialization: 9 Easy Steps to Help Ensure a Well-Rounded Puppy

In our book Canine Health and Dog Training go hand in hand. We are happy to be able to provide the following article.

By Marc Street, Veteran dog trainer and owner of The Happy Dog and Very Important Pets Spas (VIP), reprinted with permission

Once you bring a new puppy into your home, you need to be aware of his special needs. Dogs are social animals, and instinctively have a need to bond with their ‘pack’. Your puppy needs to learn how to respond to you, but also to other dogs. Here are some simple things you can do to ensure that your puppy becomes a welcomed member of the canine society and your home.

  1. Touch your puppy. Puppies need to be handled. Rub their ears, massage their paws, get them used to being poked and prodded. By getting your puppy used to being touched, visits to the vet and groomer become easier. The more you do this the more likely your puppy will be accustomed to being touched, and will be less likely to resist.
  2. Pass your puppy. Your puppy should meet 100 people before he’s 6 months old. Pass the puppy becomes a game. A new puppy is hard to resist, which is good for him. Let others hold him, pet him, touch his ears, the pads of his feet, etc. Remember that when you pass a puppy to someone, make sure that they are supporting your puppy and have a good hold on him before you let go. The last thing you want to do while socializing your puppy is drop him, which could be a traumatizing experience for the puppy and all!
  3. Feed your puppy. Your puppy needs to accept your presence around his food bowl. You can avoid future problems by not allowing your puppy to become protective of his food bowl. A dog that becomes protective of his food may become aggressive when approached. If your puppy does act protective, take it as a warning sign and seek professional help ASAP. Work to get him used to your presence while he is eating.
  4. Play with your puppy. Spend time with your puppy. Teach him games such as fetch and hide & seek. Take your puppy’s toys away from him. He needs to learn to accept that you can take his toys. By doing so at an early age, you are helping your puppy not to become protective of his toys. If your puppy becomes aggressive when you take away his toys, your red flags should go up. Seek professional help; behavior like this will not go away on its own.
  5. Teach your puppy. Every puppy should know some basic commands. SIT, DOWN, COME, DROP IT, and LEAVE IT. Take a “puppy kindergarten” class as soon as you get your puppy. It’s a great place to start, and it should be a lot of fun for all. Do some research and ask around to find a reputable trainer.
  6. Roll your puppy. When playing with your puppy, roll him over onto his side. Hold him there for a few seconds and then let him go. If he struggles don’t let him go. You’re trying to teach him that physically he can’t over power you. When a dog is on his side, he is in a submissive position. By placing your puppy in this position, he learns that you are the dominant member of his pack, and that he can trust you. He will learn that nothing bad will happen when he allows himself to be vulnerable to you. Make this a fun part of every day.
  7. Puppy play groups. Many people think that they need to shelter their puppy as you would a baby, which leads many dogs to grow up unable to socialize with other dogs. By getting your puppy into a “puppy playgroup” at an early age, he will learn how to interact with others. It’s never too soon for your new puppy to meet other puppies.
  8. Kids and puppies. Puppies need to learn how to behave around children. Children need to learn how to behave around puppies. Your puppy needs to learn that a toddler pulling his tail is allowed, and that snapping in response to a tug is not allowed. Children need to be taught not to pull puppies’ tails, or they may get snapped at. It’s a fine line, however there is a mutual respect that all puppies and kids need to learn early on. Never leave a child unattended with any dog at any time. It only takes a second for a disaster to happen.
  9. Your frightened puppy. Remember that puppies, like toddlers, are learning everything for the first time. The first time they hear a loud noise or something scares them, they will retreat and be afraid. Your first reaction is to smother them with ‘It’s OK’ and lots of attention. Don’t. Act like nothing happened. By drawing attention to his fright, he will grow to be afraid of everything. Let your puppy realize that the noise he heard wasn’t that big of a deal, and he will learn to recover from startling situations quickly.

Marc Street is a Rainmaker Ranch Labradoodles www.labradoodle-breeder.com Recommend Trainer located in West Palm Beach FL, he can be found at Very Important Paws http://www.veryimportantpaws.com/ .

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Canine Health, Dog Stress and Training go hand in hand

Be the Alpha Dog.

To understand how puppies and pack animals behave and why is the primary tool in training your puppy for life. I am not going to tell you how to teach your puppy how to sit or stay or come, I will however, teach you and your family how to be successful teachers and leaders to your puppy. Although the information that follows can be used on an adult dog it is intended for Labradoodle and Australian Labradoodle puppies.

All puppies will, within a group of humans or other puppies, try and determine and/or control their place in the pack, be it the leader, second in command or a follower. In my opinion, it is not the responsibility of the puppy to be the leader, to have complete control, or perceived control over the group. This is like assigning a 5 year old child to be leader of the family. The weight on his or her shoulders would be tremendous. The puppy should be, after all, a dog. This to me means alert you, the leader, to potential threats, but not feel the need at all times to protect everyone and the property when you are home. Leadership is a high stress job and after all you want a loving puppy dog, a playful companion not a stressed out, always on alert, attack dog. If you did you would have purchased a different breed. Stress, in dogs, just as it does in humans, also leads to illness.
A dog bred and trained to be a pack leader eventually becomes an adult dog and behaves unlike a family companion. This dog will growl at someone or another dog if they touch its food or toy. It will bark beyond a simple warning bark and may even move into the ultimate protection mode of itself and its “things”.

What are some simple steps to tell your puppy you are the pack leader? Just teaching it to wait is one of the many keys.

  • Wait at the door. Place your dog in the sit and ask him to wait for the command to go through a door, even a wide open one, until you give him permission to move forward.
  • Wait for your dinner. Place your dog in the sit and ask him to wait to eat his meal until you give him permission to eat. This is especially great for kids with parental supervision.
  • Wait to get in car. Make your dog wait outside of the car while the door is opened, hatchback is lifted, or tailgate lowered, until you give him permission to jump in.
  • Wait to get out of the car. Ask him to wait or stay in the vehicle while car door is opened, hatchback is lifted, or tailgate lowered, until you give him permission to jump out.
  • Wait to get out of kennel, crate, or exercise pen.
  • Wait for your leash. Place your dog in the sit and ask him to wait calmly to go out for a walk while leash is attached to collar.
  • Wait and ask to be petted. If the dog nudges you for attentions ask him, do you want something, please sit, or give me your paw before being petted rather than jumping up, pawing, or nudging you for attention.
  • Wait and ask for permission to jump on sofa or bed. Dog sits and waits to be invited onto furniture instead of jumping up uninvited.
  • The best training advice is to find and secure two types of dog trainers. One trainer is found by attending a class. Classes provide a few things. They get your puppy socialization. It is easy to teach a puppy to sit privately at home but try and get him to sit when 10 other puppies and lots of smells are around with humans talking at the same time. Two, hire a personal trainer to come to your home. These trainers can actually see your environment and understand why Rover is actually doing what he is doing. They can see that he likes that specific sofa because it is near the door and window. Be sure and get references on a personal trainer. Find one that has an understanding of behavioral training versus basic commands. Basic commands can be taught in the larger class. Many times your breeder can provide references as well.