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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Am Smarter Than a 6-Month Old Pup

Alvin Sez:
You're Going Where?
Why Aren't You Taking Me?

I need a vacation and thank you very much - I am going on a see-5-baseball games-in-10-days hot dog, beer, and baseball stadium vaca.

There are 2 doggie issues swirling around this vacation:

1) Prince Alvin sometimes makes me crazy so I need to get away. Today he escaped through a carefully handcrafted gate into the forbidden living room. Once he arrived, he happily started pillow chewing. Fortunately a family member noticed the method he used and let me know. Ten minutes with a few pieces of wood and some screws and his escape route was sealed off. However, as I informed Alvin that he was done being Houdini, the same family member pointed out that my maniacal laughter was a wee bit unsettling. Yes, I am smarter than a 6-month old pup.

2) The same pup who makes me crazy has a bad case of separation anxiety. When we leave for a few hours, he waits for us at the top of the stairs and whines and barks. How long will he wait when we're gone for 10 days?

I don't think it'll be too difficult to have a good time on a baseball vacation. And yes, I will miss Prince Alvin - a lot.
Hopefully, Alvin will get plenty of visitors (people) and see a few dog friends (Snowy, Zoey, Scooter, Artie, and Lexie) and forget about us. And make someone else laugh maniacally!


Are YOU Training Your Dog or Is HE Training You (4 of 6)?

This is the fourth in a series of blogs about dog training:

Training Foundation
Obedience Commands (you are here)
Overcoming Aggressive Behavior
Advanced Commands/Tricks

Obedience Commands

I refused to take Alvin to one of those puppy obedience classes. Not only did it cost too much, but I wanted something I could use over and over again. So I checked out the dog training DVDs on Amazon and came up with It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD
This DVD is the best substitute for formal training you will find for both basic commands and some of the more advanced commands.

Here’s why:

  • It’s truly well thought out train-the-trainer approach so that owner can correctly train their animals as long as you are consistent and patient with your dog.
  • It’s a highly organized five-week training program you can easily follow.
  • The instructor demonstrates commands using puppies and dogs who have had no previous training as well as the instructor’s trained dogs.

These are the basic commands I taught Alvin using this DVD (which I played so many times I started sounding like the instructor):

  • Sit

  • Down

  • Stay - The pup needs to know Sit and Down first. Then teach “Stay” gradually from both the Sit and Stay. Stay is a gradual training from small steps to larger ones.

  • Come - This is the most important command and of course, it’s also the command that’s the most difficult to teach to get the highest percentage of recall. Alvin is rarely let off leash because we have not perfected the Come command.

  • No (not in the DVD, but essential to arrest negative behavior) - You need to say this word with conviction and every human family member has to practice the same degree of conviction (words of wisdom from Alvin’s vet). Alvin tends to backback when reprimanded but we ignore his belligerence.

  • Leave It

  • Drop It

  • Leash Training - This is another training process that tends to take a lot of time for some dogs. Alvin pulls constantly so the walks are short to modify his pulling habit.

There are other basic commands, but the ones mentioned above are the most critical.

The most important lesson I learned from It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD (and Alvin) is as follows:

These commands must be repeated in short training sessions on a daily basis and reinforced whenever possible.

For example, Alvin is required to sit and stay before he goes outside and before he comes inside. He comes in and goes out after I do. This did not happen overnight, but after a lot of repetition.

And Alvin is by no means the perfectly trained dog (yet) as you will see in the next blog about overcoming aggressive behavior (this blog and the next will publish on approximately 8/10/2009).