This is a review post.
This is Pocket Money, or Pocket for short. She is a gorgeous five month old Airedale pup. Pocket has been with us for nearly three months. Before getting the puppy there were many discussions about the work involved with a pup and allocation of tasks. The 12 year old was the leader in the get a new pup campaign after the loss of our first puppy last year. He put together a presentation pack in Power Point to convince his dad that everyone would help look after the pup and that an Airedale was the right pup for us. And to his credit, he has has been excellent at taking on his dog duties. He also started wanting to train her to do tricks, like fetching the ball etc. So with his enthusiasm we are working on teaching Pocket some basics first. We have been teaching Pocket to sit before she can eat the food we put in her bowl and that she can only eat on the command “okay”. I wanted to take this concept a step further and make sure that she only eats food from kids’ hands when told “okay” as well. The kids often eat outside and when we have BBQs etc, I don’t want her taking food out of the kids’ hands, especially the younger ones who may get a fright from this. So this morning I worked with the 12 year old using Mini Treats from Nature’s Gift doing some reward puppy training. Pocket loves the treats! You can see an ingredient list and typical analysis of the treats here, but they made with real meat, are low in salt and sugar and have a soft and chewy texture perfect for pups. The individual treats are small enough for the kids to have a couple in one hand, while treating Pocket with the other. Today we practiced that Pocket would need to sit and wait for the 12 year old to approach her with her treat, remain sitting and wait for the “ok” command before she would get her mini treat reward. It took a number of turns before Pocket would wait for the “okay” signal before attempting to eat the treat from the 12 year old. He would pull his hand back and wait for her to sit again before letting her have the treat. We then practiced getting Pocket to be a little more patient and calm for her main meals. Again we needed her to sit calmly and wait for the “okay” command before she could come towards the bowl and start eating her gourmet chicken puppy formula. Like all of Nature’s Gifts product range, the food is made with fresh Australian meat and contain no preservatives, colours or flavours. I have been trying to work out if we have been feeding Pocket enough, but wasn’t sure how to determine if we were or weren’t. The Nature’s Gift Feeding Guide has great info on this and we are trialling their recommended approach at the moment and by today’s results it looks like she may need a little more food than what we are giving her. You can download the feeding guide and other useful brochures here.
Puppy Training Tips
What we have learnt so far from our Puppy Training sessions:
- Having a puppy who sits obediently creates the base for other training.
- At the start you often need to give the puppy’s rear a little push to give her the idea of what it is you are expecting of her.
- There needs to be one voice for the training session, so the puppy knows who is in charge and who is going to be doing the rewarding.
- The minute you start training the puppy all the kids will come out and see what is going on! Make sure they know to allow the focus to be on the training; this is not the time to start playing a game of soccer right next to the puppy.
- A little training each day 10-15 minutes makes a huge difference. Consistency is the key for puppies. She doesn’t necessarily get a treat each time she is told to sit, it can also be verbal praise, but the expectation that she responds and is rewarded for obeying every time she is asked to do so, is important.
- The reward must be given instantly after the puppies behaviour.
- Voice is important. Don’t yell at the puppy to get them to obey you – you don’t want to have to always yell to get her to do something.
Nature’s Gift Giveaway
Natures’ Gift have made a very generous donation to my 21 Challenge Fundraising. They are a 100% Australian owned company who’s products are made and sourced in Australia. All their products are actually made in Melbourne. Their product range extends to cats as well and includes kangaroo, duck, beef and chicken. Nature’s Gift are also providing an opportunity to win a $100 hamper of their fab products. To enter simply head over to the Nature’s Gift facebook page and let them know what the naughtiest thing your dog has ever done. I think for Pocket it would be chewing up cushions from the outside couch!
What your best puppy training tip?
If you enjoyed this post, I would love it if you made a small donation to my 21 Challenge. Donations can be made directly here. All funds raised go to Open Family Australia who provide a range of Outreach services to young people experiencing high complex needs. Their focus is on homeless and at risk youth. Thank you!