Friday, January 20, 2017

Puppy/Human Training

Once we brought home this cute and adorable little furball, now what?  Well, we were somewhat prepared.  We had a crate for his home that a good friend had lent to us, we had his brand new red blankey that the breeder had given us along with a ziplock bag of the food that he had been eating as a pup and we did the stop off at Hollywood Feed to pick up other essentials.  This meant a collar and even though a bit early, the leash to go with it, a corral to block off some of the backyard due to having a winterized pool, a few toys and a bag of food.  

It has been exactly 6 days and I already have a list to stop off at this store for 6 more items, such as a brush, shampoo, more treats and chewies and of course more toys to chew and play with.  He is such a playful and fun dog and after a brief playtime, he is still young enough that he sleeps like a log afterwards.  And where does he sleep?  Right by my feet while I write and do my research.  

Davis is so inquisitive that he misses nothing new.  Each day the two of us have had to come up with a new plan to help our puppy still be able to explore in a limited space, yet be safe.  He has trained us how to puppy proof our home.  I will remind anyone who thinks they are ready for a new puppy in their home.  Don't do it if you are not prepared to never take your eyes off of him. Puppies can find potential trouble everywhere.  Just be ready for it and have your plan to be soft, gentle and loving.  Have a toy that is acceptable ready for him so that  he learns quickly what he can play with.

Everything is new to them.  Even though we had a yard crew come and haul leaves away, we still have trees that have some leaves and this little guy is fascinated by the wind blowing a leaf in front of him.  He will catch that leaf and chew on it.  It does not agree with a puppy's tummy.  He only did that once.  Now he tends more to use the 'catch and release' program with leaves blowing in his yard.  
Let me ask you this.  Have you ever witnessed a new pup trying to catch the wind on a windy day?  Priceless.  Just as priceless as watching him trying to get that curl at the end of his tail that keeps following him. The squeaky ball that our 4 year old granddaughter got for him was positively perfect.  The first time I threw it out to him, he brought it right back for more.  There was no teaching him to fetch and return.  He just did it instinctively.  Then once he learned to bite down on it to make it squeak, you could just about see the smile come on his face.  

I did get a book on goldendoodles and what I am learning is that they are so very intelligent.  He is always watching our eyes, as if to learn what is coming next, like seeing if he can outguess us. Dogs do not fail, owners, on the other hand can fail their dogs. He looks to us for leadership and properly training him is one of the most important jobs we will have as his owner.  We are the boss, although there will be times that we question that. The only way that he will learn right from wrong is through us.  Positive praise is very important such as a pat on the head or even an occasional treat.  For negative behavior simply ignore or scold (not yell). Consistency is the key.  One syllable in a normal speaking tone such as, "No," or "Wrong."   

The biggest take away from the book for us was what to do when you take your sweet puppy outside and he wants to do everything except his business.  There are so many smells, so many interesting things to get in to.  It is easy to get distracted.  First thing to do is to repeat the trigger words such as, "Go potty or go outside."  If this does not work then try putting on the leash to lead him to the spot where you want him to go potty.  You are in control.

Just as with our children, we must supervise constantly, when we could not, we used a playpen, the equivalent of the crate, baby gates to lesson the areas where he is allowed to be.  IF (and it will) our puppy gets caught in the act we have trained each other to say in a firm voice, "No" and go immediately outside where he should have gone in the first place and repeat that this is where you go potty.  Then, and here is the important part, we have to ask ourselves what we missed.  Not ask the puppy.  He was not to blame.  Somewhere we missed the boat.  The schedule and the cues from the puppy are what is important for us to be aware of.  

I can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt, this little puppy has enriched our already enriched, loving lives more than we could ever have imagined.  What an amazing puppy and how lucky we are to have him share his life with us!

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