Puppy Boot Camp Day 7 – Loki’s First Week

Doberman mix puppy Loki has had a massive bombardment of new information over the past seven days. Being up in his brain more has naturally caused some of the “bounce” to smooth out of him — of course it probably had a lot to do with many hours of outdoor play time.

Loki Walk.jpg

He had at least two training sessions per day; sometimes more, with intermittent lessons learned throughout.

We have made good strides on all of our goals, which were as follows:

Learn to walk on loose leash without pulling.

Loki very quickly learned that his job when walking on leash is to keep up with the handler. He had the sudden realization that the handler changes direction without warning, sometimes doubles back, and will step on his toes if he gets in front of her. But he also learned that there is plenty of praise and treats for walking nicely on the left side, and life is just generally so much easier there.

We did walks out in the back field, about 20 minutes per day, and then yesterday took him for an hour on the trails at Grand Ledge. He is a lot more conscious of the leash now and more interested in what his handler is doing.

Stop jumping up.

This has been a challenge and has been handled through extinction rather than correction. He doesn’t get any attention when he is climbing up or jumping on people. He is rewarded for “4 on the Floor.” He still wants to hop up when he gets excited, but it’s getting less important to him. He gets a lot more attention and treats for sitting and lying down.

Stop biting.

I haven’t experienced his biting except for once when he nipped my ankle and I screamed like a hysterical puppy. That was the last time he bit me. But I don’t rough house with him and he is not loose in the house during idle time. When we are outside, together, we are working on jumps or playing chase with the other dogs, or taking a leash walk or something else fun.

Come when called.

He is doing exceptionally well with this. I don’t say his name a whole lot. When I talk to him I might say, “Puppy Puppy” or “Dobie Doo.” I use all the dogs’ names when I line them up for cookies, and each gets his turn. Loki has quickly tagged his name with the giving of this cookie. He also identifies the other dogs — he knows when I am calling someone else. He has to wait at the door for others to enter or exit. He does not pass through a door until his name is spoken.

This significant method of name recognition training makes the recall much more powerful. It is also important to remember not to saturate the dog with his name during these weeks/months before the recall is solid.

Stop chewing/destroying household items.

Loki has not had the opportunity to chew or tear things up. He is in a crate, or in training, or being hugged/petted. The danger comes when one ignores a pup and leaves him to his own devices.

A puppy outgrows this destructive adolescent stage, but introduction to the household space must be gradual and heavily supervised.

A dog his age has a strong need to chew, but he gets plenty of opportunity with stuffed Kongs in his crate, and other chewy goodies like his bull trachea and bull horn.

Stop chasing cats.

Like the jumping up, the introduction to the cats has been treated as an incidental, although they do share in the morning training session. As long as the cats are not a focal point, and there is more interesting stuff going on, he should eventually lose interest in chasing them.

He did “lock on” to my kitten one day, getting into a staring match with her, which got her hair up. But I quickly broke that up and moved him on to something else.

You had a great first week, Loki. Good boy.

Loki Gang.jpg

For more info, check out my books:

25 Ways To Raise a Great Puppy

15 Rules for Clicker Training Your Dog

15 Rules for Clicker Training Your Cat

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About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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