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Callie's First Year of Training

Callie turned 1 year old Jan 3 and has been such a fun dog to work with. She has had her behavior problems that we have worked on and has taught me a lot about puppies which I will talk about in this blog.

  • I started training her with the basic commands and doing training sessions. When she first came home I worked strictly on potty training, basic behavior training (jumping, nipping, biting), and charging the clicker. I didn't stray away from this for two weeks. Once she was 10 weeks old, I started training her with sit, down, and touch. It took her some time to get those commands. After two weeks of those commands, we moved to staying and place bed. The place bed took a while for her to get. I did try to move a little fast with place stay and that confused Callie so I backed up and went slower with the distance and duration on place bed. Once we started working on staying, she was picking up everything a little faster and I was able to move on with more training faster like sit at the door, leave it and drop it. When I saw she was understanding the commands and doing them on cue, I cut out the training session and started doing her training with everyday life. When you only do training sessions with your dog, it doesn't allow them to use their training in everyday life. When that happens they won't listen as well when there are different distractions going on. Over the warmer months, we worked outside with recall, healing, and sit stay. That adds a whole different level of distractions for a dog so I used higher value treats when working her outside.

  • Some of the behavior issues that I had with Callie was barking, jumping, and her love for food. I am still working on her barking but it is getting better. I have taught her the quiet command and she will do it a lot of the time but there has to be motivation for her to be quiet. It has not been engrained into her long term memory yet. With the jumping, we are ignoring her and turning our backs to her when she jumps. She is listening to that very well but she will still jump when she is overly excited. Now her love for food has been a real challenge her first year. In the beginning, we had to put her in her crate when it was meal time for the family. She loved to be right around us when there was food so we stopped that right away. When the kids would have snacks on the couch she would try to take them too and a couple times she was caught on the kitchen table. How we stopped all that is by place bed and negative reinforcement. I'll explain what we taught her. With the place bed, once she was able to stay on it for a short period of time, we started putting her on place when there was any type of food around. Whether it was the kids eating snack or meal times she had to go on her place. We would treat her often when she is on place bed in the beginning to motivate her to stay longer on it. We would then build up duration between rewards. She will now stay on place until she is release off to clean up the floor (She loves that part). When she was on the kitchen table, I got my pet corrector (which is just compressed air) and strayed it as loud as it will go to scare her and let her know that when she is on the table a very undesirable noise will happen. Once she is off the table and away from that area, I would reward her with a toy. She learned pretty fast that the table was not a good thing.

  • With a lot of puppies, around 4 months old they start to explore the world more and get into more trouble. Whether it is chewing objects they shouldn't, jumping, barking, nipping, running off etc. This is why it is very important to start training right away when you bring a new puppy home. It will help with a lot of headaches later on as they get older. By 6 months old they are teenagers and want to get into more trouble by pushing the boundaries. Not all dogs do this but most do. During this time, it is very important to keep up with your training. If you slack on it, the dog will forget what you taught them and start to do more bad behaviors. Once they are 8-9 months old and you kept up with the training, they become calmer and better behaved dogs. Keep in mind, it takes 3-6 months for a dogs long term memory to kick in. So don't stop training after 2-3 months because it has not stuck with them yet. Training takes time and patience.

  • I am still working with Callie at home with different commands but now we are going to different places to generalize those commands. I have taken her to pet stores, TJ Maxx, and a couple other places to get her to understand she needs to behave and listen no matter where we go. She has also started going to daycare. She has only gone once and was pretty nervous but the more she goes the more accustomed she will get to it. I am home during the day but I wanted her to have more playtime and socialization with other dogs which is why she is going to daycare. Also, if we do a day trip, she will have a place to play while we are gone and won't be stick in her crate all day.

  • A puppy is defiantly a lot of work in the beginning, but if you start training right away and get help from a trainer, if needed, it will pay off in the long run!

Callie at daycare. As you can see she sat in the same spot most of the time. She would get up and sniff other dogs but would then go right back to her spot. She was uncomfortable and nervous but was extremally excited to see me when I picked her up.

Tired doggy after daycare!


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