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Archive for January, 2008

Teach Your Dog To Fetch The Paper

Monday, January 28th, 2008

This is a utilitarian command where you can ask your puppy to fetch the newspaper from the driveway.

Fold an old copy of your newspaper and tape it securely for practice. Encourage your puppy to take an interest in it. Reward her with food and appreciative gestures when she begins to take an interest in the newspaper. When she tries to play with the paper and tries picking it up, associate it with the verbal command “Fetch”. Keep the paper in the plastic bag that it comes in and use the command again. Reward the puppy after she picks up the paper.

You have to be careful to reward her after she has picked up the paper. You can now place the treat strategically in your hand so that the puppy has to drop the newspaper in your other hand to get the treat. This way she will learn that the treat comes only after she has retrieved and then released the newspaper.

Once your puppy begins to understand the command, take her to the porch and keep the paper at a distance of few feet away from the puppy. Repeat the process with treat in your hand and encourage her to bring the paper to you. Shake the paper and try to make her take interest in it if she seems confused.

Once she picks up the paper successfully, you can continue to increase the distance until the newspaper is at the driveway where your newspaper carrier delivers it and you can issue the command from within the house. Reward her every time she makes a successful attempt and gradually you can reduce the frequency of the rewards, as your puppy gets perfect with the command.

It is important that you do not allow her to tear up the paper even when you are training her with old and used newspapers. Warn her with a firm and stern” NO” if she tries to tear the newspaper. Over a period, you could train her to fetch other things like ball or a handkerchief.

Dog Jumping

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Most puppies love to jump. However, you can make effective use of her inherent jumping abilities for acrobatic jumps and jumping through    hoops. Before you can teach your puppy to jump through a hoop, get her to jump over a straight barrier. Select a low height barrier in the initial sessions. Generally, you should keep the barrier at a height of one inch less than half of your puppy’s height.

It is important to get a check up done on your puppy to ensure that she does not have any physical problems. This will help in preventing any physical injuries that your puppy may face during the jumping training.

Once you have the barrier in place, let your puppy check it out. Discourage her from chewing the barrier. Do not push her into jumping. Encourage her to take the jump and reward her after the successful jump. Reward her even when she makes an effort for jumping. This will make the process interesting for her.

If your puppy is reluctant to jump, first let her walk over the barrier. After a few sessions, repeat the training and induce her to attempt to jump over the barrier. You should use verbal command “Jump” when she is about to proceed for jumping.

If you want to make your puppy jump through a hoop, a good idea is to use a hula-hoop. You can keep the hoop on the ground and encourage her to go through it a few times before you train her to jump through the hoop. You can reward her with food rewards and verbal praises even when she walks through the hoop.

Once she goes through it comfortably, let someone hold the hoop and use the same process and verbal command that you had used earlier trying to make her jump through the hoop. This will help her understand what you expect of her.

Sometimes it might take a while before your puppy masters the art of jumping. Have patience and continue with your efforts. Later on, you can use the command “Over” to make her jump over the barrier and “Through” to make her jump through the hoop.

Refusing to Come when Called

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Many puppy owners face a problem with the command “Come”. The command  “come,” means recalling your puppy. However, many times a puppy will refuse and not come when called. This behavior can be irritating for the owners and also it can be a precursor for disobedience and arrogance in your puppy.  

Before we move on to finding a solution to this problem it is necessary to find the reason for the problem. This is very important for the solution for this behavior because the problem lies in eliminating the reasons that your puppy disobeys. Once you are able to address the reasons, the puppy will have no reason to disobey.

The reason why a puppy will not come when called may be that the puppy associates the “come” command with a host of unwelcome and painful consequences. Recall in your mind the situations when you call your puppy, it may be either for taking her back home after the walk, confining her to the crate, giving a bath, putting on the leash & collar or to give punishments.

Now imagine what would be the reaction of the puppy to a command that means the end of her freedom and play, confinement, taking a bath, punishment or any other unwelcome situation.

The failure of recall training is mostly because puppy owners do not adopt the proper approach for recall training. The tactical way should be to make the command “Come” enticing and inviting for her. You should try to dispel her thoughts of unpleasant activities associated with “Come” and associate the command with activities and experiences that are fun and enjoyable for your puppy.

The more you associate the command with pleasant activities, the more your puppy will obey the command. Gradually you have to make it less predictable and hold some surprises for the puppy so that she can associate it with a mix of activities.  

If your puppy does not obey the “come” command, review your behavior and analyze what you have been doing that makes the puppy that has been trained to obey the command show signs of disobedience. The most important aspect of preventing failure of recall training is the timing of rewards and punishments. Never make the mistake of punishing the puppy when she obeys the command after three or four repetitions.

If you punish her for coming after three or four calls, she actually will believe that the punishment is for coming. How can you expect your puppy to obey the command when she has learned that coming means punishment?

You should not punish or reprimand your puppy when she comes. The most you can do is not reward her if she does not obey the command at the first call. Last but not the least, you must keep on rewarding the puppy with surprise treats and goodies even after she has perfected the “Come” command because puppies are situational learners and need positive reinforcement for good behavior.