The importance of teaching your pup boundaries.
Should I purchase a Doggie Door?
...or al least not yet.
The reason we train our puppies is so they are well behaved and fun to live with. A well trained dog is a dog you can take anywhere. A well trained dog is a dog that defers to you for leadership. They look to you for guidance when making behavioural decisions.
Your five week course at the Vet Clinic will help you develop a leadership model which is easy for you to continue with once the five weeks is up.
Part of teaching your dog that you are the leader and getting them to defer their behavioural choices to you is done through teaching and then enforcing boundaries in the home.
Boundaries are vital in teaching your dog to accept your leadership because:
How is it done?
We use the same pattern of praise if the dog gets the activity right (in this case, halts at the boundary), of warning if the dog is about to make a mistake (moving towards the boundary) and a ‘no’ and circle if the dog makes the mistake (goes through the boundary.) If the dog gets a correction, we need to re set and re try – in this case take the dog back over the boundary and try it until they get it right. When they get it right praise, praise, praise.
To allow the dog through the boundary use the word ‘through’ in a welcoming manner. If your dog is unsure, hold onto the collar, say ‘through’ and gently move your dog through the boundary.
Not every doorway should be a boundary. But the doorways you decide to make a boundary need to be maintained and policed by you in the early days to make sure your dog isn’t sneaking through when you are not looking. There should be boundaries which stop the dog going inside, until they are invited and a few boundaries inside the house which make the dog halt, in high traffic areas. Good examples of inside boundaries are between the living room and the kitchen and between the living room and the hallway. Do not choose a boundary you cannot keep an eye on. If your dog can wander through when you are not looking, all you are doing is teaching your dog to be sneaky and wait until your head is turned.
You should not be asking your dog to sit to stop them going through the boundary, nor should you be doing this exercise on lead and holding the dog back from the boundary. Like with all of our training, mistakes are good. Mistakes help us show the dog exactly what they got wrong, and gives us an opportunity to re set the exercise, to help them get it right next time. At first your dog will make a great deal of mistakes when it comes to boundaries. At first they won’t understand, later on they will be distracted and won’t remember, at other times they might not even care. It is your job to monitor the boundary and directly teach your dog.
So, what is the problem with owning a doggie door? From puppy classes and this fact sheet it should become clear that teaching your puppy boundaries is important! If you have an open all times access past your boundaries then it is defeating the purpose of enforcing boundaries in the first place. Remember, if the dog thinks they can go in and out of the house without your permission it will be more likely to act as though they own your house (and anything delightfully chew-worthy inside). If you have a doggie door, you need to make sure there are times when the door is locked in the closed position.
If you must have a doggie door, try to put it in the laundry where you are still able to deny access to the main living areas by closing the laundry door. That way, at least your dog isn’t able to ignore the boundaries you put in place. Boundaries are difficult to maintain at first and require a great deal of policing and repetition – but if you are able to teach this to your dog, you are well on your way to having a well behaved dog.
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or contact us and we can help you directly.
A big welcome to our new Eltham Puppy People. It's lovely to have you on board. There was quite a lot to get through today, you worked on:
The three stages of sit:
Our week 4 class are doing really well. We talked about finding more distraction with the sit, step away and 'on your mat' exercise it looking pretty good. Keep practicing people, it will pay off. Remember next week's class we will be lucky enough to have one of the wonderful Eltham Vet's give us a vet talk - and all the puppies will graduate - woohoo!
Our adult class is filling up and it was fun (and a challenge for me) working the dogs at their various levels. Our beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises were all being done as one big group and owners were coping with the distraction of working at their own level really well. It's great to see some dogs working at a more advanced level - especially to think that they have not been training all that long.
Once again, it's a joy working with you all. Make sure you LIKE our FACEBOOK page and following all the training and literacy fun. If you have any questions during the week, please feel free to contact Sarah on 0421 490 188.
See you next week.
We have been asked a couple of times - just so you all know. Although human children have some time off school, our doggie kiddies are still learning. See you there!
Well done to the puppies that graduated today. In only five weeks you have taught your puppies a sit, step away, recall, 'on your mat', how to play and socialise with manners - but more importantly you have started teaching your puppy to listen to you. To your warning tone and your praise.
You are all set to take the next step with your training.
Whether that be:
If you want to keep training with us, we are at Eltham Vet every Saturday at 3pm - We'd love to see you and remember, first lesson is FREE.
As always it was lovely working with all my classes today. My 1.30pm class is really coming along - I could not believe you were only in week 3!! Your pup's are listening so well - keep up the great work.
Our 3pm class was also a blast, we have been working on some new exercises - Check has been a challenge for some and easy for others. Remember, if you want to make an exercise harder increase the distraction.
Like many first home owners, the most exciting thing about buying a house is being able to buy a dog. We hadn't even started unpacking before I was scrolling the net for a rescue pup.
I talked my husband into going to look at a puppy - no commitment to buy, just to look (yeah right!) and hours later we were driving back to our new home with our new dog - Minnie!
When we bought Minnie we had the dog, but that's about it. That night she slept on an old dog bed we were getting rid of, drank out of a bucket and ate dinner from an old Tupperware dish. Her green toy was one of my hand-me-downs!
We were not prepared for the dog and for how our lives were about to be changed - and our stuff destroyed. I would like to add that this was well before I became a dog trainer. I became a dog trainer to help make our life and Minnie's life come together peacefully and happily. I continued in this profession so I can help others bring their lives in sync with their puppies lives peacefully and happily.
If I knew then, what I know now...what would I change?
In this post I will address preparedness.
I have made a list of 11 things you will need - take a look, it may help you settle your puppy in to your life peacefully and happily.
1. Collar, harness, and leash
These three items will become your pup’s daily outfit, so choose wisely! Your puppy needs to wear a collar when you are able to supervise at first, then all the time. The harness is only for car rides - I rarely advise to train in a harness as they encourage pulling.
2. Poo bags
You’ll be needing a lot of these as a dog parent, so don’t skimp out. Always keep a few rolls at home and in the car.
3. Name tags
An up-to-date ID tag is a must-have for any pet. These will be a life safer when microchips don't scan correctly.
4. Dog Bed
Purchase the bed of choice and visualise your puppy snoozing away - but keep one thing in mind, puppies love to destroy beds! I'd recommend some cheep towels until you can trust puppy with the best dog bed on the market.
5. Food and water bowls
Meal time is the best time for any dog, so grab bowls that will accommodate your pup’s appetite. Taller dogs may need a stand to hold the bowls at the proper height while excitable pups may need anti-slip grips attached.
I love taking my dog to the pet store and letting them pick out their own toy. Just make sure you supervise your puppy with toys they might be able to swallow. Many a pup have been rushed to the vet with part of their favourite toy lodged in their belly.
Crate training isn’t an absolute must, but it does help you keep your pup safe and teach it that being restrained is not that bad. Dogs love being in their own “cave” and a crate is a useful tool for dog parents who want their dogs to rest in one spot.
It is also a good opportunity to teach boundaries.
8. Cleaning supplies
From spot removers to lint rollers, make sure to have cleaning supplies.
9. Grooming stuff
Brush, nail clippers, and teeth-cleaning items are necessary to keep your dog healthy and looking fabulous! Start grooming as soon as pip comes home so they get used to the routine. Work on short grooming sessions at first, just a few minutes and build up. If puppy is good, finish with a treat.
10. Yummy Treats
Treats are not essential for obedience training - In fact we discourage them, but they are great for showing your puppy you love them and keeping dogs happily occupied. I'm a fan of anything Kong. Also remember, most treats are fattening!
11. Child gate
If there are areas in the home that your dog isn’t allowed to wander into, secure them with baby gates. Gates will help him learn where his physical boundaries are within the home. But they need to be used in conjunction with training. You should be teaching your puppy proper boundaries, so you are able to get rid of puppy gates when your dog is a little older.
Week four we have been working on boundaries.
It is so important to teach puppies that they need to wait (not sit!) until they are invited inside, they also need to wait before invited onto areas around the house such as hallways and bedrooms.
Take a look at:
"Does anyone know 'pass the puppy'?" I asked the class tonight...
Pass the Puppy is an opportunity for our puppies to be greeted and handled by strangers. Our puppies need to trust that if we are passing them onto someone, that someone is safe. The best way to teach our pups this if for them to experience it.
So we play 'Pass the Puppy' each member of the group passes the puppy to their left and gets a puppy in return. They need to pat, cuddle and encourage their 'new' puppy to help them overcome any fear of strangers. We then pass the puppies again and so on.
We also worked on recall today - owners need to practice this exercise when their pup is on lead at the moment and remember to use very excited praise when the puppy starts to come back.
Very well done tonight everyone, see you all next week.
...and now for an ad. break...
'Lola' is still looking for her forever home. She is a beautiful, calm, well socialised kitten with a lovely personality. She is cuddly and playful, and will make a wonderful pet. For anyone looking for a new cat-shaped family member, you are sure to love her! Just call the clinic on 03 9817 4561 to arrange a meeting.
Tonight we started a new puppy five week course at Balwyn. Welcome to our new puppies, it was lovely meeting you all, especially your cute pups.
This week we learnt:
Remember to practice your warning tone, praise and correction process. At the moment your puppies don't understand that this is a patters (command, reinforce, reward) - spend this week teaching the pattern.
Work on your on lead recall - using their name.
...and as much puppy socialisation as possible. Lots of puppy play - make sure your are teaching your puppy responsible play with 'stranger dogs'.
If you have any questions, or need a hand - please email me or call me throughout the week.
See you next Thursday night!
Thanks for another great day puppy people.
Our 12.00 class were up to week 4 in their course. Most of the dogs are holding sit, sit/step away under a fair bit of distraction and all dogs are listening to warning tone. We got an opportunity to take the puppies on a walk and worked on pulling on the lead. This week this group needs to practice everything under distraction, walking without pulling and the newly introduced 'on your mat command' - well done everyone!
Next week you will meet one of the vets at Eltham, it's always informative hearing what they have to say!
Reminder - if your puppy is over 5 months, you might want to consider a halter. You can purchase them from me before or after class.
Our 1.30 puppies were very impressive, especially considering there was a week gap in their learning. The pups are listening to warning tone well. 'Pass the puppy' was an easy exercise because we had so many easy going, friendly pups. Continue to work on your sit, step/away and socialisation.
So So So happy with your adult dog class. 6 dogs came to class today and have just continued to improve. It really shows that people are going home and doing their homework. Work on fixing fulling on the lead and getting those drop, drop/step aways for longer and longer periods of time.
Great days training everyone. Remember if you have any questions - Contact me!