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American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Puppy Preliminary Training

Obedience classes

Find a good class and attend it. Many places have puppy kindergarten classes; this also helps socialize your puppy. Do 10 minute training sessions every day. And if you like it, keep going. You’d be amazed at all the activities you can do with your dog once you and the dog learn the basics! Training is fun and simple if approached that way. Enjoy it!

Around the house

Puppies can be started far earlier than many people believe. In fact, waiting until your pup is 6 months old to start training it is VERY late, and will be the cause of a LOT of problems. Start right away with basic behavior: use simple, sharp “no’s” to discourage chewing hands or fingers, jumping on people, and many other behaviors that are cute in puppies but annoying when full grown. Don’t be severe about it, and praise the puppy *immediately* when it stops. Tie the puppy down in sight of people eating dinner to prevent begging and nosing for food (if you put it in another room, it will feel ostracized and begin to cry). If your puppy bites and scratches you when playing, give it a toy instead. Give a good, loud *yelp* or *ouch* when the puppy bites you. This is how the other puppies in the litter let each other know when they have crossed the line, and it is a good way to get the puppy’s attention and let it know that biting is not acceptable.

The other side of the coin is immediate praise when your puppy stops after a “no”. You may feel like this is engaging in wild mood swings (and you may well get odd looks from other people); that’s all right. You’re making your wishes crystal clear to the puppy. It also needs positive as well as negative reinforcement: how would you respond if people only ever yelled at you when you did something wrong?

Introduce things in a fun way without “corrections” just to lay a foundation for formal training later on. Formal training, demanding or exact, is not appropriate at this stage. Instead, concentrate on general behavior, getting its attention, introducing things that will be important later in a fun way, and some other preliminary things, such as discouraging it from lagging or forging on the leash (but not making it heel!). In sum, lay a good foundation for its future development and behavior.* Cindy Moore

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