Basic Puppy training


It is only in recent years I have appreciated the advantages of using a collapsible indoor kennel (more commonly known as a cage) both for training and safety purposes. Even if you have a utility room that is without furniture, electrical equipment, wires, children (and their toys)quiet and draught free, an indoor kennel can still be an important training tool and it also helps the puppy feel safe and secure. It is their bed, their home . This kennel can be used anywhere e.g. car, hotels, visiting friends, dog shows etc., your puppy will settle more readily and you have peace of mind that your puppy is safe and secure. BUT A KENNEL IS NOT A PRISON AND SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR LONG PERIODS. A little more on using the kennel as a training tool later.

It has been widely acknowledged that between the ages of 8 to 14 weeks a puppy has the ability to learn and absorb more than at any other time in its life. Use it - don't loose it.

Some general pointers :

There are three types of communication to teach your pup - voice, hand signal and whistle. Sometimes use all three together, its a bit like pat your head and rub your tummy.

Voice Tone should be light, excited and encouraging - I call it 'a silly voice' men must do it too !!

Hand Signals Sit - One palm of your hand facing puppy as you say - Fred sit. This hand signal is also used whilst saying Fred wait. Recall - Arms open wide , body leaning low and forward as you say - Fred come.

Whistle Gundog black plastic whistle (2.10.5 or 2.11 are the most popular). In the house do not blow very loud, their ears are very sensitive. One short blow for sit. A trill - three our four short blows, is to come, known as recall.

In the early days say Fred sit - your palm in front of his head whilst the whistle may also be in your mouth giving a gentle blow - easy !!

Sit on the floor yourself, be at his level. When puppy does the task, praise immediately (either with a treat, silly voice and physical reward)

1 Use the pups name with a one word command Fred Sit, Fred Come, Fred Flat (I use flat instead of down.) Simple language.

2 When you've said it once, you mean it - e.g. Fred sit - you can either hold a special treat (sausage, cheese, real meat) slightly above his nose moving your arm between his eyes then his ears, running the palm of your hand down his spine encouraging him to sit. Reward the second his bottom touches the

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floor. A reward can be just a lick of the sausage through your closed hand. Hopefully he will like and want more, so do it again.

Fred flat - treat in closed hand, move hand along floor encouraging pup into down position. If he doesn't understand do something else - play with him and then try again - remember only say Fred flat once.

If you repeat a command - Fred sit, Fred sit, Fred sit - he will count and wait till the third time because he thinks that is what you want him to do only sit after three commands. Yes, you have actually taught him to only sit after three - that rule applies to all instructions. Equate it to your dog near traffic - if he is nervous DO NOT KEEP SAYING 'its okay, I'm here, I'll stroke you and you will be fine - what you are doing is, saying its okay to be nervous !!

3 Soft toy - purchased from charity shop ! - eyes safe - definitely no squeak - they encourage a young dog to bite harder to get a squeak, no good for a working gundog - it will squeeze the pheasant or rabbit in order to get a squeak!! Throw the toy occasionally behind the pup giving command Fred, back, fetch. (In the early days I call all the toys whatever they be 'teddy') Sometimes, with the help of a partner place the toy behind the pup so he is not always fetching a moving object. On his way back to you say Fred come (be near to floor, arms out stretched). If he doesn't come back and just runs round ignore him do not go to him and do not take toy from his mouth at this stage. Just sit there with lovely smelly sausage and offer it him as soon as he is close - it does work eventually. Whenever he is coming towards you in any situation say Fred come - you are then re-inforcing his learning of that word,

I also use clicker training if I feel the pup needs extra reinforcement, but that is another method of training.

Cage as a training tool, Never, either first thing in a morning or when you return from elsewhere give your puppy immediate attention. Ignore him, don't even give him eye contact and certainly don't speak till he has stopped his 'wiggle bum'. When you feel he is calm, walk to cage, still not making eye contact open door and walk away either outside for toilet training in garden or make yourself a cuppa. Don't let him think he is the most important thing in your life - even though he is. Especially train your children this routine. You will have a different puppy within a week, calmer and more respectful to you and yours

There are hundred of more techniques but these few basics just may help with your new beautiful munsterlander.

Enjoy and if you ever want to discuss or ask questions I am happy to oblige - details from Maureen.

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Basic Puppy training

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