Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Puppy Training Begins

     People often think training a puppy doesn't begin until a certain age, size, or until they sign into a puppy training class.  Wrong! Puppy training begins as soon as we establish routine behaviors and as soon as we choose to spend a few minutes working on something.
     Cinder's attention span is about two minutes-good for her age. I send the big boys to bed for respite from Cinder (in their minds, a demon tail-biting dynamo) while I spend a little time playing with her, working on a few simple things that hopefully shape some future training. Right now, we're working on "come, sit and watch me."  She's getting "come and sit" quite well so far, but "watch me" is a nanosecond thing (good for first tries, but needs improvement). We're also working on "settle" as she learns to lay on her back quietly-for slightly longer than a nanosecond to be released from it. She's got that down when she's already a little tired, but when she's wound, she thinks it's about playing. It will improve.  Once we have these few things down pretty well, we can build on a couple more.  She's only seven weeks old so she's already learned a LOT. Hopefully, by the time Spring actually comes, she'll already have a pretty good foundation for moving to doing things outside. Already her "come" is strong enough we're starting to vary letting her go to other rooms for the purpose of calling her-it's working quite well for now (until she starts finding things more interesting than coming to me).
     The hardest part of working with her is sharing the process with my husband, Brian, who has limited time and limited understanding of dog behavior and training.  I've ordered some books online which I hope will give him better comprehension of the process. As usual, training the humans is often harder than training the dogs-including refreshing my own knowledge and training skills!  It's one thing to know and understand what you SHOULD do; often it's another when attempting to apply what you know! That's where friends who train dogs  (including Border Collies) comes in handy. It's always wonderful when you have someone who can help you.


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