In this month’s video demonstration, I will show a few more foundation skills that I teach my young puppies. In the video, you will see me working with my 10 week old Labrador, Mighty. I start off with – get on your pot training. I have previously written an article with video demo on “the pot” training, you can review it by going to https://tntkennels.com/training-tips/training-on-the-pot
When teaching fronts I use clear plastic rods to help guide the dog into the correct front position. You will see how I start this training with a baby puppy. The first thing I do is lay the rod on the ground and encourage the puppy to touch and play with it. It is not anything I want them to be concerned or worried about. Then I hold the rod and while feeding the puppy, I rub the rod over their body so again, I am ensuring that this will be a pleasurable experience for the puppy. Once they are comfortable with the rod, I then show the puppy a treat with one hand and hold the rod in the other hand and start to move sideways and then into a circle. I go both ways, to the right and then I go to the left. The rod is to be on the outside of the puppy, as shown on the video. I initially teach these movements for body awareness and you will find that your puppy will move easier one way than the other. If you practise this enough then your puppy will get comfortable using his body equally well in both directions and on both circles.
Next I am teaching my puppy how to be comfortable with my hand in his collar and how to do a little bounce. I put my hand on the outside of his head and my fingers are curled into the collar. I put a treat right infront of his nose and say “get it bounce” the get it means it is okay to jump up and get the treat, and this is the start of a bounce. Eventually I drop the get it and just say ready, steady, bounce, and my hand is always in the collar. Bouncing is a team effort, I do not pull my dog up into a bounce, he does so effortlessly and with joy, so much fun to teach a puppy. It is important that my puppy does not feel that because my hands are in his collar that I am trying to restrain him. I want my hands in his collar to be something that he enjoys as I will use it throughout his career to keep him motivated and in drive.
Finally you will see me finish the video demo with a pull out on the lead. I teach this for a few reasons. One is, when you hold your puppy or dog back from getting something they really want, they then dig in even harder to get to it. So in turn, when I start teaching the dumbbell retrieve, I really want my dog excited to get to the dumbbell, so I hold them back on the lead and play the pull out game. This also encourages that when they pick up the dumbbell, they do so with their head first and not their feet. I will also use this later to correct a go-out. I will have my dog pull me out on the lead to the go-out location. Because it has been taught first as a game, then it becomes something that they enjoy doing. I start by bowling a white colour treat out about 3-4 feet in front of the puppy. Then I encourage the puppy to get it, get it, and help scoot them out with a little push on the rear while I gently hold them back as you see on the video demo. If your dog is also toy motivated, they you can use toys for this as well. I make it a really fun and exciting game for the puppy. Make sure you only do this on a buckle collar, and never a prong or choke chain.
In future articles to come, I will show you how I use some of these early puppy foundation skills to enhance my adult dog’s competition obedience training.