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Puppies & Mouthing (Part 2) by PCE Trainer Jean Marcellus PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 22:16

In addition to being normal, natural behaviour, puppy "play biting" is an important part of helping them develop bite inhibition. Although sometimes painful, such gnawing seldom causes serious harm.  Pups actually receive necessary feedback regarding the force of their bite before they develop strong jaws, which could inflict considerable injury.

The first thing to teach them is: no painful bites.  There are different ways to do this; some dogs will be easy to teach. With others, the bites may be so severe, you may have to seek trainer's help. It's important to let them know when mouthing or biting hurts. Use a low growl, the word “ouch” or a higher pitch like a puppy yelp! The volume will vary according to the pup’s response. In order to stop this unwanted behaviour, you need to discover what works for you.

When the mouthing stops, acknowledge ot with a “good gentle” & reward.  Over the next few months, you'll have many times to practice “gentle”.  As you decrease the mouthing completely, the puppy will learn to be very careful when playing with humans, and see they have really delicate skin.

Alternatively, if you have a pup that doesn’t mouth you, is generally shy or seldom socializes with other dogs or strangers, you may have a problem - as they still haven't learned about the power of their jaws. The first time they're frightened or hurt (say when someone steps on their tail by accident) it may result in a very bad bite.  With that in mind, it's very important they be socialized - aka "Learn to Play Well with others" (both canine & humans) before they're 4-&-a-half months old.  Puppy School lessons are invaluable!  Pet Country Estate has a variety to choose from.  Click here for de-tails.

Until next time: "May you be successful in controlling Puppy Mouthing quickly. smileyJean

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 22:59
"Why do puppies CHEW SO MUCH?!" by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Monday, 03 December 2012 14:47

Why do puppies like to chew on people’s hands, face or other body parts SO MUCH?  This is called 'mouthing'.  But they're not just playing, they're testing you! (trying to figure out where they fit in, in “the pack”).

They learn this behaviour at a very young age - between 3 & 8 weeks old - by interacting with their litter-mates & their mother. If you've ever watched a litter of pups, you've seen them growling, wrestling, chasing & biting each other.  While it LOOKS like play, there's LOTS of LEARNING going on at the same time.

By the time they're7-or-8 weeks old, they've learnt which of their brothers & sisters they can push around, and which they need to respect without question. Even the most dominant puppy, eventually learns its' mother is leader of the pack!  (A well-placed "GROWL" at the appropriate time, ensures that!)  And if ignored, the discipline escalates by snapping at the pup. This teaches them, that their mother’s warning growl really means business.

Once the puppies are placed in their 'Forever' homes (with their Human family) they'll again use testing behaviours to find their place in this NEW pack.  WE in turn, must assert ourselves as 'Pack Leader'.

The quickest & most effective way to communicate with your puppy is to imitate canine behaviour.  When your pup starts to mouth you or a family member, I recommend growling at it (just like its' Mama would).  Your growl should be a low guttural tone, not too loud, but should it sound like you mean it. If done correctly, they should immediately stop the unwanted 'mouthing'.  When that happens, verbally praise them with: “good gentle”. smiley  Jean

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 22:43
"JACKPOT!" - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Saturday, 03 November 2012 07:45

The "JACKPOT" is a very useful tool in Dog Training!  Most of the time, the dog is asked to sit and when they do, you reward with a Treat.  When its' asked to “down”, you do the same etc.

Now, let’s make it even more fun for the dog (& for YOU as their trainer). Think of it as playing a slot machine. If just one token, paid you with only one token, how much fun would that be?  But if once in a while the machine releases ALOT of tokens all at once, you've HIT THE JACKPOT!  This becomes great motivation to keep going!

So as a trainer, it's a good idea to keep your dog guessing about the rewards: ie. become a slot machine.  The "JACKPOT" works well when your dog starts to get frustrated, or gives you something outstanding!  That's when a WHOLE HANDFUL of treats tells them they're doing a great job!  It's also good to use with dogs that have trouble with the “come” command.

May your dog always wonder when the "JACKPOT" is coming! smiley Jean

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 November 2012 07:58
The "EXTREMES" of Dog Training - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Saturday, 01 September 2012 11:14

While most training sessions have ups & downs, I'm often asked: How can I go from “WOW! That’s the best my dog has ever done” one day, to..."My dog has lost its mind” the next?!

Here's how to deal with those extremes, without destroying the dog’s trust.  First: let's look at the BIG picture: You’ve been faithfully training them for a while now.  They're starting to understand what the command means & doing it well.  Then one day, they look as if to say: "I've never heard THAT command before.  You want me to do WHAT?"

Don't get angry, because your dog is affected by your feelings.  Just keep things positive, smile & help the dog understand exactly what it is you want.  Afterwards, ask the dog to sit, reward them & end the training session on a positive note.  You can always try again later.

If on the other hand, you've been training a particular command - and your dog gives you their best performance EVER, do not repeat.  Simply SMILE & REWARD THEM for a job well-done!  Then end the training session.  'Til next time, may you always be a Positive Trainer!winkJean

BIG DOG vs. Small-dog Training - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Sunday, 01 July 2012 06:55

Here's a question for the ages: Why do people with different sized dogs, think training them should be different?  Whether LARGE or small, both are still DOGS.  The reasons to train them might be different, but ALL dogs need at the very least: Basic Obedience (sit, down, come & stay) and proper manners.  For more information on our Puppy & Basic Obedience Programs, click here.

For safety reasons a larger dog needs to be trained to walk on a leash properly, so they won't pull you off your feet or drag you down the street.  Small dogs should be trained on a leash, so they're not under your feet causing you to trip over them.

Neither should be out front of you “leading the pack”.  Allowing this, makes them think they're the leaders (and humans are just followers)  BIG dogs need to know how to greet people ** by SITTING and not jumping up!  Doing so could lead to serious injury, should that person or small child fall.  As for small dogs, they tend to have sharper nails & could scratch people’s legs or a child’s arm or face. 

Many people feel that training a small dog commands such as Sit, Down, Stand or Stay is hard - because of all the bending they have to do.  Often times, they believe it's far easier to pick up the dog!  Here's another great tip: If bending is hard on you, bring the dog up to a higher level to start the training.

A foot stool, coffee table or even an ironing board can be a great tool.  Outside?  Try a picnic table.  If you train at this level, until they understand commands, you can easily transfer training the dog to the floor.  'Til next time, may your dog be well trained, regardless of its' size. smiley Jean

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 14:00
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