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Mo

Puppy Training

I asked Dave C on another thread about training tips.
I just wonder if anyone is a dog trainer, or has expert knowledge?

Ours have been learning bits and pieces but with two, when you get them together it tends to go out of the window.

They will sit and come when called (unless there's something new and exciting going on). They also wait for their food until told to take it, although this can be a bit hit and miss - if one leans in, the other dives in!

They're just coming up to 5 mths and any tips would be helpful. They aren't going to be working dogs, but we want them to be happy dogs.
sod

Never give in!! we've trained our working dogs and retrained ones like "Meg" With food make then lie down and wait if one moves in grab collar and remove back till other has had his"after the Eat now"   Training on a lead (which ours are never on) but this teaches them sit,stay,heel etc.
Hardest is you love them but you have be firm even when they look with big eyes    
Mo

It's when they look at you in total confusion that gets me every time - as if to say "What?! What did I do?"
sod

Mo wrote:
It's when they look at you in total confusion that gets me every time - as if to say "What?! What did I do?"


True    me as well all "bad dogs" we've met were really bad owner"

Don't explain to them it is you that needs to work out what you want them to do    With lead on dog at side "sit" push bum down "walk"step foreward light pull on lead repeat. Another thing can be to watch what they are doing and give it a name. Throw ball "fetch" is one we all call out  make it fun for all and if you get fed up stop and play as a reward for both of you    Working dogs are just playing/having fun. hopfully under control  
conundrum

The biggest tip I can give you when training more than one dog or puppy, is to train them individually. Also, give them individual YOU time, puppies will bond to each other and want to learn from each other, so it is very important that they learn the commands and responses expected, from you.

Have fun with those pups  
barraboy

Quote:
The biggest tip I can give you when training more than one dog or puppy, is to train them individually. Also, give them individual YOU time, puppies will bond to each other and want to learn from each other, so it is very important that they learn the commands and responses expected, from you.


   spot on

then its the same as with any puppy, consistency and hard work, with lots of fun inbetween
Mo

Thanks guys.

We've already figured that it's pretty hopeless unless we train them as individuals.

Amber is already fetching, I used fetch at first when she brought something to me, now I say it as I throw something. Molly sits and watches Amber fetch and, when she is sure Amber is concentrating, she ambushes her.

They both watch Jilly and will often sit when she does with no command.
Dave C

barraboy wrote:
Quote:
The biggest tip I can give you when training more than one dog or puppy, is to train them individually. Also, give them individual YOU time, puppies will bond to each other and want to learn from each other, so it is very important that they learn the commands and responses expected, from you.


á áspot on

then its the same as with any puppy, consistency and hard work, with lots of fun inbetween


Couldn't agree more
Get a good bond with them one on one, also train them separately.
Drum all the basics into them, repeat repeat and dont move on until you have mastered that basic command and keep going back to old commands then gradually start peicing them all together.

I only train my pup who is 4 months for 15 minutes a day, so she dosnt get bored with it, she has to enjoy and look forward to it or you are wasting your time.

But having said that every minute she is with me i am reassuring the training by making her sit etc every time i put the leader on / off / feed her and sometimes just because i can, I also would recoment using hand signals when making her sit, if the pup is hearing lots of other noises it reasures her of what you want her to do, i do the same with her recall, making her come to me every now and then on walks, but remember to always make a big fuss when they do.
Dave.
freckle

Don't forget Mo that they are individuals-we have half sisters who have totally different characters-one will retrieve until she drops dead and the other will chase a ball about once a month just to pee her sister off!!  
Mo



We are giving each of them 'me time' because they are different, and it's easier to be honest.
Amber catches on quicker, Molly responds in her own sweet time.
However, I was cooking last night and heard Molly trying to steal the large stone by the gate. I yelled "MOLLY!" at the top of my voice, not really expecting a reaction. Seconds later there was a paw on my foot and I looked down to an enquiring gaze - "You wanted me?" Bless her!
barraboy

time to teach them the "leave it" command..i prefer this phrase rather than yelling their name
sod

barraboy wrote:
time to teach them the "leave it" command..i prefer this phrase rather than yelling their name


True but that is a great start     "MOLLY stop" and "Molly come" but that was so cute I bet even to the tap on foot to let you know  
Mo

I know I need training too  

What about 'down'? I'm not sure we need to teach them to lie down, although I know this is a progression from 'sit'. But I'm conscious of using 'down' a lot when they leap up at things and people and I don't want to confuse them.

Picked up a tip from agun dog training article about walking into them when they jump up at you, rather than stepping back  - but I'd have to train all our visitors  
conundrum

I use the word "off" for when they jump up, "down" is used purely when I want the dog to actually lay down.

One thing a lot of people forget is to keep the dog in the "sit, or the "down" or whatever, until released from that command. I use, "ok". You see so many dogs told to sit, which they do, beautifully, but then stand up as soon as THEY decide to. Dogs should not be making these decisions, we should.  
barraboy

thats very true.

personally i dont use down, i just say sit, if the dog sits or lies im not that bothered. i dont use stay either as sit means sit there until i tell you to do something else.

i tend to favour leave it or another phrase as you can put sterness into the tone and leave the dogs name light and so hearing the name is a pleasurable experience, rather than connecting it to a telling off. just me no fast rules on what words to use. select those that appeal, i still say sit even though traditionally spaniel men say hup. so long as the dog is doing as you ask the word isnt really important.
sod

barraboy funny you saying "hup" we use that for jump up into/onto and use "stay" where they are as sometime leave in gateways etc.
Mo

Interesting stuff.

I was reading about 'stay' being redundant and that a dog should sit until you tell them otherwise.

I have also read about the importance of 'proofing' the training, training the same commands in different places so the dog understands that it applies wherever they are.

It's quite a learning curve for us. We've both had dogs in the past but have not been responsible for making sure they grow up into well mannered dogs.
Jilly was trained as a gundog, although she is gun shy. She has learned some weird commands from me just by selecting words from my normal speech.
"Let's go" means come with me, she probably picks up on "go", and I can't offer someone a cup of "tea" without her getting all giddy and expecting to be fed  
Digindeep

Mo wrote:
, and I can't offer someone a cup of "tea" without her getting all giddy and expecting to be fed á


That made me smile Mo, we have no choice in this house but to spell out W.A.L.K..otherwise Milo runs round in circles and if his lead is at hand fetch it.
sod

Mo as working dogs ours don't always have to sit, they can turn animals by staying in the way with "stop stay" then "move/walk up" I agree these things have to be done in many different places never thought about that just do it    
Mo

sod wrote:
Mo as working dogs ours don't always have to sit, they can turn animals by staying in the way with "stop stay" then "move/walk up" I agree these things have to be done in many different places never thought about that just do it á á


It's all greek to me   I am always amazed by working dogs, no, make that spellbound
sod

Mo me too! They are so smart and I have to catch up  
freckle

It's just about being consistent, deciding what you want your dog to learn and what works for you and your circumstances. We are looking after one of our last litter of pups this weekend. He stayed with us until he was 14 weeks and was away for only 3 weeks then the new owners have moved in across the road. We have kept one of his sister and it is interesting to see the difference in behaviour! Obviously he is very excited to be here and since he is only 5 months old he is bound to forget things a bit, but having left here sitting on command and nearly having the hang of "lie" it is now a struggle to get him to sit and he won't stay there. He is really jumpy up-which drives me mad in a dog!!-and doesn't do a whole lot else but he does still remember "NO". Don't get me wrong-he is a lovely dog-is has his mum's fantastic nature, and the family love him to bits and he is great with their little kids, but compared to his sister who we have kept on training in the kind of behaviour we want from our dogs-he is a hooligan!! Still-he can have a bit of a refresher course this weekend......
And of course Mo, labs are so very easy to train as they are so food driven!! It doesn't take long for these walking stomachs to associated an action with a food reward!!
Also make sure everyone in the family is consistent with identical commands. As I am here all day the dogs spend most time with me and I do most with them. They will return to me with the command "come", but my OH has a habit of calling "come here" and getting frustrated when they ignore him!! Of course they are just hearing the "here" sound so don't associated it with returning and when I (yet again!) explain he needs to shout "come" he is amazed!!  
Mo

Thanks Freckle

You have reminded me of a tale a family friend tells about his dad who wanted his dog to "lie down".  He wouldn't accept that all he had to say was "down" because, as he said he wanted the dog to "lie down"  

I also spend most time with the pups and last week had Steve in a kerfuffle as he tried to remember what he should say to stop Amber putting her paws on the table. I had to put my foot down at the word he finally came out with  
freckle

     
Canburne

First nine months.....

From eight weeks to nine months

From the moment you collect your puppy you start training and there is no strict timetable as all dogs progress at different speeds. All training is done gently, with consistency, patience but most of all with kindness. The puppy first learns its new name through 'play training' and that magic word 'NO'. Introduce the recall by holding your arms outstretched and by using the command 'COME' giving the puppy loads of praise when it does come. The sit is taught by holding the puppy's food above its head and when it sits (which it must do to look up at its food bowl) you say the word 'SIT' and put the flat of you hand up in the air. If the puppy is progressing well introduce the whistle, alternating with verbal or hand signals, with rapid pips for come (so pup, pup, pup becomes peep, peep, peep) and a long blast for sit.

You should also start heelwork on lead in order to teach the puppy the heel position, which should be with its head just in front of your leg. I use a very light material slip lead about 1cm wide and keep putting this on and taking it off the puppy. If the puppy is OK with this game I gently stand up and start to walk saying 'HEEL'. Usually the puppy follows for a few seconds and then dashes off at which point I stand stock still and make no attempt to pull or check the lead. Quickly bend down and recall the puppy giving lost of praise and encouragement. Repeat the procedure, if the puppy is getting in any way upset stop and try again another time.

Very quickly an intelligent puppy will learn that it is creating the situation with the tight lead and not you. In three or four days, using very short sessions, your puppy will have learnt never to pull on the lead again. Praise the puppy whenever it is in the correct position and say no when it is not.

Introduce water as soon as you can by letting the puppy play in and near shallow water, preferably in the company of an older dog. Gradually increase the depth of water available for play BUT make no attempt at this stage to retrieve from water, just let the puppy play. Introduce loud noises and/or gunfire from a starting pistol, you will need to get a friend to stand at the other end of a field to make the noise whilst you play with puppy. If the dog acknowledges the noise and is not concerned, praise to dog and carry on playing. If it is concerned reassure the dog, divert its attention and try again another day as you can make a puppy gun nervous by rushing to quickly.

Continue the play training, which is starting to build the all-important bond with your puppy. Start retrieving by playing with balls (no smaller that tennis balls for the obvious reasons), its toys or puppy dummies. I do not worry about steadiness at this stage, I want the dog to chase, run and have fun. Start on short grass or indoors, throw the object and then hold your hand still whilst pointing at the object and say 'GO BACK' as the puppy chases in. Hopefully the puppy will run straight back with its new trophy, hold your hands down low and if the puppy gives up the retrieve you say 'DEAD' so it is learning to retrieve in an unpressured and relaxed way. If the puppy does not come straight back, get up and walk away, then the puppy will almost certainly follow you and you can praise it for coming. If it then gives up the dummy readily praise it again. Now start throwing the object (use different objects each session so it will not learn just to retrieve, for instance, balls) gently into longer grass or in the edge of a hedge/bush but always upwind of the dog. As the puppy gets really close to it say 'HI-LOST'. Do not put any pressure on the puppy at this stage, if it does not want to play, leave and try again later but if you succeed give the puppy loads of praise. As the puppy grows in confidence you can make the retrieves more difficult, you can start using the wind to help or hinder

By now the puppy is five or six months old and should be ready for more formal training. Start to separate the training from play and exercise and have specific short periods for training. Begin working the young dog in company, either your own older trained dogs or go to classes. Progress the heel work off the lead, use distractions such as balls and dummies to heel around to start to build in steadiness. Practise in different training areas on longer grass, in woods, thicker cover or beside water.

If things go horribly wrong do not be afraid of going right back to the start, as has already been said there is no set timetable to the play training, different dogs will progress at different speeds, even litter mates. By now you should be insisting on a one-command strategy, if the dog fails to obey a command then stop and the correct it immediately; do not go on and on repeating the command. Very slowly introduce dried pheasant wings, feather and fur covered dummies as alternatives to ordinary dummies in the next series of exercises. A gentle introduction to woodcock wings or covered dummies will be very beneficial later on. The vast majority of problems in training are caused through pushing the dog too far or too fast when it is not yet ready. Genuine inherited problems such as hard mouth and gun shyness (not gun nervousness which is training induced) are nearly always incurable.

Begin to introduce directional work, sit the puppy in front of you, back up one pace and repeat your sit command with any combination of hand, verbal or whistle command. Place or throw an object a couple of feet to the right, pause, look at the object and cast the puppy with the command 'OUT' whilst holding the right arm out horizontally. Try to the left and then, if you are still succeeding, try one to the right and one to the left. BUT once the puppy has picked the chosen retrieve pick the other one up immediately, never send it for the second retrieve. Now start to increase the distance between you and puppy NOT the puppy and the retrieve. If successful start to increase the length of retrieve as well but do not always throw each, i.e. the left and the right, the same distance from the puppy so sometimes it gets the closer one and sometimes the further one but not both at this stage.

Introduce controlled retrieves by which I mean strict formal precise retrieves. These will help you develop advanced heelwork, steadiness, marking and memory, distance control, back command and blinds in addition to the retrieve and present.

á áControlled retrieve one: sit the dog, remove the lead, and heel the dog 20 feet in a straight line along a hedge. Stop the dog; put the dummy down in front of the dog. Pause. Heel the dog back to your start position, turn and face the dummy. Pause. Cast the dog for the retrieve and insist on a good sit and present. Repeat the exercise in different directions i.e. hedge on the left or on the right, using different combinations of verbal, hand and whistle signals.
á áControlled retrieve two: sit the dog, remove the lead, and heel the dog 20 feet in a straight line along a hedge. Stop the dog; put the dummy down in front of the dog. Pause. Leave the dog there and return to your start position, turn and face the dog. Pause. Recall the dog. Pause. Heel the dog and cast the dog for the retrieve. Repeat with different directions and alternate with exercise one so the dog doesn't start anticipating your actions.
á áControlled retrieve three: sit the dog, remove the lead, and heel the dog 20 feet in a straight line along a hedge. Stop the dog; put the dummy down in front of the dog. Pause. Leave the dog there and return to your start position, turn and face the dog. Pause. Recall the dog but stop the dog half way back. Pause. Cast the dog for the retrieve by saying 'GO BACK' and raising you hand vertically in the air from your knee to as high as you can reach. If the dog does not understand, take a pace towards the dog and try the go back again. If successful repeat the exercise, keeping the dummy the same distance from the dog but increase the distance between you and the dog. Alternate between all the exercises. If the dog starts to anticipate the retrieve after the recall, put in another recall.

Use these exercises to start to increase the length of retrieve, incorporate rights or lefts with backs. When the dog is returning with a retrieve get someone to put a blind in the same spot and repeat the exercise but pretend to throw a dummy towards the location of the blind and cast the dog back. If successful, build on the distance for the blinds and incorporate rights, lefts or backs with blinds to make the exercises more complicated. Don't be too repetitive, as the dog will start to anticipate, work in different directions and use different terrain, uphill and downhill. Start to use cover, hedges and ditches to make some of the retrieves more difficult, i.e. a mark in the open and blind in cover, in a ditch or through a hedge.

If the dog is handling blinds confidently try extending the distance by putting out five or six blinds, about 5 yards apart, along a hedge in a straight line. When you send the dog make each retrieve a separate retrieve, pause between each retrieve and set the dog up properly. Start extending the distance to the first blind and then the distance between blinds. If the dog is progressing, start from the middle of a field and cast into a corner, using two hedges to guide the dog on a straight line.

As far as jumping is concerned, you do not actually teach a dog to jump, you teach a dog to jump 'on command' and I use 'OVER'. If you threw a piece of raw filet steak over a small fence the dog would be over before you could say the word. So the training element is getting the dog to jump when commanded and to build its confidence to tackle larger and larger jumps with heavier and heavier objects. Start with tennis balls over small jumps and work up to hare dummies over stock fences, five bar gates and stonewalls.

Once you are happy the dog is 100% on the above you can start to introduce water work but this can create enormous problems unless tackled slowly and progressively. Treat water as an obstacle to the retrieve, not as a different type of retrieve and so always send the dog over the water not into it. After all you didn't learn to swim by being asked to jump into the deep end of the pool. Start with a marked retrieve over small shallow stream then gradually increase the width and depth alternating with blinds and marks. Do not over face the dog as it may start to squeak or, if the water is deep, to shake before it presents so be prepared to go back to the shallow bit. Always keep in mind that it is the retrieve itself that is paramount and do not accept poor presentation, dropping the dummy or shaking, I teach the dog to shake on command after the retrieve. Once you start on deeper water try to encourage the dog to make a gentle entry rather than hurling itself in. Show the dog that the dummy will be carried away by moving water in a river or by wind on a lake.

At nine months or so, if everything has progressed without a hitch, cold game can be used prior to the introduction to the shooting field. BUT remember the best way to ruin a well-trained dog is to take it shooting so the introduction must slow and gentle. If the dog has sat quietly and patiently throughout the whole day it may be rewarded with a carefully set up retrieve, in the open on a dead bird that has been down some time.

ęBruce Ross-Smith 2011
Border

Excellent post Bruce.

I would say if people follow what you have posted, they will have a well trained dog.
Mo

Thanks Bruce. I'm printing that off for reference, cheers!
sapphire

great post

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