DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Puppy Training - The Big Picture

I finally got smart about puppy training - it's not a finite thing with a beginning and an end - puppy training turns into dog training and NEVER ends.

At first, I thought I could housetrain Alvin and teach him a few commands, and then bingo - a perfectly trained, obedient puppy. What WAS I thinking?

First, I discovered the Basic Command training needed constant reinforcement (this was explained very thoroughly in the It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD I used for training). The best example is the COME command - Alvin conveniently forgets that one. And if he's distracted - a rabbit, a bird, someone cooking food - he might forget "SIT." At times, "NO" is clearly a foreign sound. And housetraining - that's a never-ending vigil. One little lapse in his schedule means a possible accident.

Then the behavior/agression issues started in the last few weeks (Alvin is now 5 plus months):
  • Jumping up on everyone
  • Barking for seemingly no reason
  • Backbark (similar to people backtalk)
  • Biting/Nipping
  • Pulling on the leash
  • Constantly getting into mischief (pulling socks or clothes out of a drawer, chewing slippers, chomping on the computer mouse)
It was clear that housetraining and basic command training were not enough and it was time for a new plan. This must be the stage where many people give up training and decide the puppy wasn't such a great idea. And that's how dogs end up in shelters. Lack of committment - people just give up.

What's the solution in Alvin's case - a look at the issues and how to address them with more comprehensive training. And it seems to be working - one day at a time.

More details in future posts . . .