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Puppy Training - (Part 1) Too Much Too Soon-Too Little Too Late

Posted on December 26, 2016 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (18429)

One of the most exciting times in a dog owner's life, is the day that furry, sweet, cute, cuddly, stick of dynamite comes home. At this point, the owner faces two paths in the future. 1) A wonderful bond, years of happiness and joy, the fulfilling of great expectations, or 2) the start of a frustrating, frequently disappointing, and realization that expectations will not be met. The latter oftentimes leaving the dog alone or even surrendered to a shelter.

Many people, and clients that we deal with, immediately want a few thins from their new puppy: How soon they can steady the dog, how soon they can shoot around the dog, how soon they can introduce it to live birds, and the best of all, how soon can I hunt the dog?

First we will look at = Too Much Too Soon

1.) Steadying a puppy or young dog: Though there are books and videos that trainers, friends that will tell you the sooner you steady the dog the better to dissuade breaking later, I believe this is one of the biggest mistakes made with a puppy or young dog. Everyone wants to see a dog that retrieves with class, style, and all the gusto it can muster. But this is of ten times squashed at a young age by steadying too soon, and oftentimes lead to a refusal to retrieve all together as it matures. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. But when you have one dog, limited time, and essentially one chance to get it right, you don't have room for experimenting.

At Gunnerbrae Kennels, we get our puppies at 7 weeks of age and at that time we begin passive or what we refer to as play training. We will allow the puppy about 3 retrieves a day while on a walk in the field, using a paint roller. We will get the puppy as excited as possible before tossing the roller only a few feet away. As the puppy retrieves, we will praise and encourage while also beginning to use our whistle for recall. This basic drill will continue daily over the next 2-3 weeks, building as much drive and fun into it as possible while always making sure the puppy succeeds. At Gunnerbrae, we do not believe in chew toys of any kind, so at this point the puppy will only have the paint roller to retrieve. We believe this is best for it's over all style and drive while also promoting good mouth habits early.