Summer is here and puppies are born everywhere. The best part is that our “pack” at Klickerförlaget will get two new members! Åsa Davidsson, our instructor colleague, went to England to pick up a black Labrador boy a month ago. Meet Castleman’s Tonga – our own Tod!
And by the end of July I will pick up a golden boy from the same breeder in England. Meet Castleman’s Soul Seeker – our own Seeker!
Naturally there’ll of course be a lot of puppy training in the months to come. There’s a lot of things a puppy needs to learn. What do you focus on when your puppy gets home?
My short list looks like this:
- Get to know the family (me, my husband, dogs, cats – I imagine the cats will be mildly enthusiastic…)
- Explore the world at his own pace (new environments and persons, but without getting too much – when you’re small you need to rest as well)
- Learn to be calm and relax (on his mat, in his crate, where I am and away from me, for example in another room)
- Recall (knowing your name is really important!)
- Loose leash walking (a couple of minutes every day, including putting on the harness/collar by himself and walk around things so the leash doesn’t get tangled)
Most of this will occur naturally in our everyday life according to our usual training plan: train, prevent, and interrupt. I want the puppy to get good foundations and only practice doing stuff he’ll be allowed to do when he’s older. Therefore I plan for what I want to teach the puppy, prevent him from learning things I don’t want him to learn when I’m not actively training (for example by putting up a small barrier around the shoe rack to prevent him from stealing the shoes) and interrupt him if he does something I don’t want him to do (usually by calmly taking him by his collar or recalling him).
I’ll of course also focus on good foundations for future gun dog work:
- Play – as a foundation for mostly everything 🙂
- Hand target – as a foundation for delivery to hand
- Delivery to hand (while playing, encourage the puppy to bring back objects to me and generally encourage the puppy to come to me with objects)
- Steadiness (when the puppy has started to play – wait for the release cue “take it” before starting to play and reward steadiness and self-control in all everyday situations)
- Heelwork (reward the puppy when he spontaneously comes to my left side while out walking, always walk a couple of steps by my left side before I let him run of leash)
- Hunting – using his nose to find toys and treats (from the start teach him to hunt thoroughly, hold the area and really use his nose)
So now I’m longing to get started with my puppy training – rest assured you’ll hear a lot more about puppy training here in the future!