Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When Puppy Comes Home-- Training

TRAINING: Dogs love to work.  And don't we all love to show off the neat tricks our dogs can do?  All dogs should be trained in basic obedience (sit, stay, come, down).  A good goal for you and your dog is the Canine Good Citizen test (CGC).
Cocoa during his CGC test at Wal-Mart

Your puppy may have come to you with basic obedience skills, but it's up to you to KEEP him trained.  Spend a few minutes every day practicing the basic skills.  Put some food in your pocket and go through "sit, stay, come, down" a few times with him.  This keeps your dog sharp and helps him to know that YOU are the boss.

Dogs love to learn new things.  There are plenty of resources available to teach YOU what and how to train HIM-- websites, YouTubes, and don't forget the library!  

Three key things to remember when training:
  • keep it short (10-15 minutes)-- think "kindergarten" attention span
  • keep it simple-  use the same command for the task your training, and don't over-complicate it; some tasks need to be taught in multiple stages and then pieced together.  For instance, training Bailey to get a juice from the fridge comprised teaching him three separate tasks that we then bridged together after he had mastered each of them.
  • consistency-- a little bit every day (or several times a day) will pay great dividends
    Getting a juice
    Bailey opening the fridge

Never too young to train!
In an effort to keep your dog at a healthy weight, use part of their breakfast or dinner for training purposes.  For instance, if they get a cup of kibble at a meal, give them 1/2 a cup in their bowl and then put the other half in a training bag (or your pocket) and use it to train them.
Or use all of their meal for a training session.  You decide.  The point is to not give them food and treats in addition to their normal diet, or you'll end of with a pudgy pooch.

So, get your food bag and go spend a few rewarding minutes with your buddy!

Monday, March 16, 2015

When Puppy Comes Home-- Sleeping and Place

Bailey, Lucky, and Cocoa getting ready to head to town for some training.
This is the fourth post in a series with the new dog owner in mind.

 SLEEPING:  Eventually, you might want your new BFF to sleep with you, but we highly encourage you to start them off in a crate appropriate to their size.  All of our labs have their own large crate for night-time purposes.  Please don't think you're being mean to your dog to put him into a crate.  Dogs
are den-creatures and the crate becomes their safe place.  Of course, your dog shouldn't spend extended periods of time in the crate outside of sleeping, but crate-training makes for a very well-adjusted dog.   A crate also provides a safe place for a dog to travel, as seen in the picture.

Good boy Lucky!!!!
PLACE:  We all like to know where our "place" is and dogs are no exception.  Make sure your dog has a bed of some sort in the house.  We don't allow our puppies to just wander when they're in the house.  Putting them in their "place" for an hour at a time allows them to be a part of the family, but not get into mischief.

We love Kuranda beds for our dogs.  These beds are elevated from the floor, making them easier on the joints.  The simplicity of the design keeps them from capturing dust, dander, hair, and who knows what else!  When we're not using one, we just lean it up against the wall, and it's out of the way.