How To Socialise Your Puppy

Dogs are naturally social animals. In fact, their lives often depend on strong social skills in the wild. Left to their own devices, a young puppy is going to happily explore and interact with as many other animals as it can!

Socialise Your Puppy

Chevromist Moodle Puppy CrunchieAs long as you’re careful and offer close supervision, socialising your Designer breed puppy couldn’t be easier!

Designer Breeds have been developed as social dog breeds with both people as well as other dogs. Friendly breeds such as Cavoodles, Spoodles and Groodles have no shortage of playmates at the dog park as they are quickly recognizable for their friendly disposition.  Beagliers retain their puppy looks for most of their lives, while other designer breeds such as Moodles and Poochons are of a small size that is difficult to be intimidating to any but the smallest of dog breeds.

You can start introducing your little one to new experiences and other animals, like the friendly cat or other family dog, as soon as you get home. Reward both dogs for interacting with each other, and make these encounters into a game if you can.

Invite neighbors & other family members over to meet your new puppy, encouraging them to play with the pup. Supervising closely, allowing your niece or nephew, son or daughter (children) to play with the pup. Your goal is to let your puppy know these other animals mean good things for him, so he doesn’t consider something he has never met before a potential threat later on.

  • Important: Make sure every interaction or experience is a happy one!
  • Always provide careful supervision!
  • Introduce your puppy to as many new experiences and creatures as possible!
  • Introduce your puppy to the ‘friendly’ cat.
  • Bring other dogs around.
  • Invite family & friends over to meet your puppy.
  • Try to make new interactions into fun games!
  • Help your pup get used to, and enjoy, car rides early- before he is a much larger grown adult.

Puppy ‘Obedience’ Classes

Designer dog TrainingObedience skills, like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, or ‘down’ are usually the first things that come to mind when someone thinks of puppy obedience classes. In reality, these classes often teach the dog’s owner how to train their puppy more than the traditional ‘teacher/student’ you might think of. But they help impact your puppy’s growth in an often unexpected way, much more valuable than simple obedience skills. It is easy for larger designer breeds such as Standard Groodles to accidentally hurt smaller puppies while excitedly playing, so spending supervised time in an obedience class will quickly show the larger dogs what sort of play is acceptable with smaller dogs.

Puppy classes are fantastic opportunities to immerse your pup in a social setting with other young dogs, eager to make friends, play and interact! As long as there are other puppies, obedience classes are both great for building social skills, and are recommended for any young pup.

Bite Inhibition (‘Soft Mouth’)

When one puppy unintentionally bites another too hard during play, the ‘victim’ yelps and scurries away; play stops for both pups. The biter wants to keep playing, so he learns not to bite his siblings so hard next time. The principle is called ‘Bite Inhibition’, or the ability of a dog to control his bite pressure.

Anyone who has raised a puppy from 8 weeks knows how painful those incessant little needle teeth can be! Don’t worry; by mimicking a dog’s natural interactions, you can continue this training. If your puppy accidentally bites your hand too hard during play, simply ‘yelp’, act injured (even if you aren’t), and immediately stop playing. Of course your pup wants the play to continue, so he will learn to avoid hurting your skin the next time you two are playing.

How to Crate Train a Puppy

Crate Training Moodle

Crate training is arguably the easiest and most successful way to housebreak a puppy. However, it is a process that does require following the proper guidelines and you will need to be persistent if you want it to work. What follows are some simple tips to crate training a puppy that will have them housebroken relatively quickly.

Encourage Them to Enter

Crate Training CavachonNo puppy wants to enter a cage as they can see they will be stuck inside. So, you need to encourage them with gentle persuasion and using treats. Be sure to praise them when they enter and provide them with a treat. Upon closing the door, sit near the crate for a few minutes quietly and then go into another room for a few minutes.

You are creating an atmosphere where the puppy believes that they are not being trapped, but instead it is a safe place for them to be. You may hear some whining or barking from the puppy, so the first time should be relatively short. You’ll want to lengthen the times that they stay in the crate until they are comfortable going in and out. Use treats for a while, but you can stop giving treats to them after they become used to being inside.

Puppy Whining

Admittedly, this is the one aspect that stops many people from properly crate training their puppy. However, you can use the whining to your advantage if you can get them to associate it with a potty break. If your puppy starts to whine, do the following;

  • Put them on a leash and take them outside
  • Wait two minutes while standing in one place
  • Do not play or provide attention to the puppy
  • If they potty, then give the puppy a treat and put them back in the crate.
  • If they do not potty, just put them back in the crate

It will not take long for the puppy to associate whining with the need to go potty, so use this to your advantage.

Time in the Crate

Crate Training MoodleA good rule of thumb is that puppies can be left inside the crate for a specific period lasting no longer than one hour per month they are old plus one. So, a four-month old puppy can be left in a crate for five hours. That may seem like a long time for a four-month old puppy, however, you’ll find that once they are crate trained leaving them inside for long periods does not harm or depress them if you do it right.

Remember, you can crate them at night, so they stay in one place and do not make a toilet of your home. However, if they start whining, you will need to take them out and let them go potty. If you are persistent and positive, you can crate train a puppy in a reasonable amount of time. The effort you put in will be worth it as your puppy will learn to love that crate and not make a toilet out of your house.

How to Lead Train a Poochon Puppy

Chevromist Kennels on Instagram_ “@Regrann from @mochathepoochon
Chevromist Kennels on Instagram_ @mochathepoochon

It may come as a surprise to some, but you will need to lead train a puppy if you expect them to walk with a leash. A dog’s natural instincts are to run free and explore and being on a leash restricts that ability. The good news is that you can lead train your puppy to walk while wearing a leash if you follow a few tips that will help you do it right.

Start with the Collar

You’ll want to put the collar on first and let your Poochon puppy get used to it. Start by letting the puppy wear it for a short time in the house as you play and give the puppy treats. It will not be long before the puppy associates the collar with having fun with you.

Introduce a Command

This means creating a sound cue that lets your Poochon puppy know that a treat is coming. This can be a simple noise you make, such as a clicking sound or the like. Your puppy will make the connection when on their leash that a treat is on the way when you make that sound. Of course, you’ll need to provide a treat each time, but that will get your puppy’s attention.

Use the Command to Control Movement

When on the leash, back up a few paces when calling your Poochon and reward them when they follow you. This is where the command comes in as they will associate it with a treat and come to you to get it. You’ll need to practice this a few times as puppies can get easily distracted. Plus, keep the training session short and do not wear them out.

Start Lead Training Inside

Just because they seem ready doesn’t mean that going outside is the best place. Start inside by walking them around on the leash and rewarding them when your Poochon comes to you. You can start in the living room, hallway, or whatever place works best. Your goal is to have them respond to you while on the leash, so they keep up.

Lead Training Outdoors

Chevromist Poochon on the grassNow you are ready to go outdoors. Remember to be patient as there are many things that will distract your puppy. So, start with a short walk that lasts for a few houses and keep you eyes on them. When they seem to get distracted, give your command, walk a few feet away, and reward them with a treat when they follow.

Remember to be gentle and not pull or drag your Poochon along. Instead, be patient and use the command to get their attention and reward them when the puppy behaves. It’s best to be proactive at this stage and anticipate potential lunges, distractions, and barks by giving the command and rewarding them before it happens. Pretty soon, your puppy will be walking with you on the leash with few incidents. 

Understanding how to lead train a puppy of any breed is one of the easiest skills they can learn. You simply need a little patience and understanding as you introduce your puppy to walking while on a lead.

How to teach a dog to speak

Chevromist Mini Groodle Chocolate puppyNo, we cannot teach a dog to speak in a human language, but we can teach our dogs to bark on command. With barking often thought of as a problem, you might be a little mystified about why you would want to teach a dog to bark, or talk, on command. However, there are actually a few scenarios where a dog that barks when you want it to, or under certain conditions can be handy. For instance, if you are out walking your dog alone and notice someone looking a little untrustworthy, a barking dog is likely to leave them thinking twice about accosting you (if that was their intention). Your dog can also announce visitors at the door, or let you know they need to go outside for potty. Of course, any dog that learns to bark when asked to, also needs to know when to quieten down.

2 Ways of teaching a dog to speak

There are two popular strategies to use when teaching your dog to bark on command. One uses frustration, and the other uses excitement to provoke your dog into “speaking.” The first – frustration – involves securing your dog to a tree or post using a collar and lead. Please note that you are not leaving your dog tied up outside by themselves as you are going to be with them at all times.

The frustration method of training

Tie one of his favourite toys to a pole. Now wave and dangle the toy so your dog can see it, but keep it just out of reach. As the frustration builds your dog should soon start barking. As soon as he does reward him by giving him a little time with the toy before removing it. Once your dog associates barking with getting the toy add a spoken command to the mix. When he barks on the spoken command start showing him a hand signal. Once he associates the hand signal with barking you can drop the spoken command and continue using just the hand signal.

The excited method of training a dog to speak

gordon-groodle chevromist with toyThe next process involves getting your dog excited through play, such as with a game of fetch or tug. Have your reward on hand and when your dog is excited let them see it, then hide it from view behind your back. With a little luck the energy and excitement, plus the dog being a little miffed at the hidden treat, it will all add up to a bark. If he doesn’t bark, let the dog see the reward once more, maybe hold it out and then quickly hide it again. Keep doing that until the dog barks.  Once they do immediately reward them with the treat. The process is then much the same as the above frustration technique with first teaching them to bark for a treat, then the spoken command, adding the hand signal, and then using just the hand signal.

Training your dog NOT to bark

Teaching your dog to go quiet after barking is a similar process. Once they start barking let them continue for 3 or 4 barks and then give the quiet command. If they stop barking immediately reward them with their favourite tasty treat. Once they learn to associate a treat with being quiet add a spoken command until they learn to quiet down with just the spoken command. As before, add a hand signal, and when they are comfortable with that process start using just the hand signal. Gradually increase the time between obeying the command and giving the treat to reinforce the behaviour.

Doing the above techniques regularly every day should soon see your dog barking and going quiet on command. Just remember to be patient and consistent as some dog breeds will take longer than others – up to a few weeks in some cases.

Teaching a Puppy to Retrieve

Puppy with red ballPlауіng wіth a рuрру іѕ ѕо muсh fun. They аrе full оf еnеrgу, аnd they are аlwауѕ еаgеr tо lеаrn. Rеtrіеvіng gаmеѕ аrе grеаt to рlау whіlе allowing уоur уоung рuрру tо get ѕоmе еxеrсіѕе at thе ѕаmе tіmе. Tеасhіng уоur puppy tо retrieve a toy is аn іntеgrаl part оf huntіng dоg trаіnіng but great fun for dogs that will never go out on a hunt. Starting еаrlу wіth rесоvеrу, уоu ѕеt уоur dog up fоr success. Sоmе рuрріеѕ аrе nаturаl rеtrіеvеrѕ аnd wіll gladly bring back whаtеvеr уоu thrоw. Hоwеvеr, fоr many designer brееdѕ, іt dоеѕn’t соmе naturally, and thеу wіll have tо bе tаught hоw tо do іt.

Teaching a Puppy to Fetch

Beaglier puppy in the airRetrieving іѕ аn excellent energy outlet for your рuррy аѕ well as уоurself and to strengthen the bоnd between уоu bоth. Trаіnіng уоur рuрру to retrieve can be аn еаѕу рrосеѕѕ оr a hаrd one; іt аll dереndѕ оn your breed of dоg. Sоmе brееdѕ, fоr example, Groodles, are bоrn wіth thе natural instinct tо rеtrіеvе and brіng thіngѕ bасk to you. You will still have tо tеасh these tуреѕ of dоgѕ tо drор іt fоr you, but overall іt іѕ еаѕіеr thаn trаіning other breeds of dogs, ѕuсh аѕ Beagliers, tо rеtrіеvе.

How tо train уоur рuрру to rеtrіеvе a tоу or ball:

  1. Sіt on thе flооr wіth your рuрру wіth a toy оr bаll that hе ѕhоwѕ аn interest in. Bоunсе thе tоу near уоu a little bit within your rеасh and whеn уоur puppy looks аt іt рrаіѕе hіm аnd ѕауѕ, “Gооd Boy!”
  2. Nоw roll thе tоу a few feet аwау thіѕ time. With a уоung рuрру, rоllіng thе toy іѕ easier to track or fоllоw rаthеr than thrоwіng іt which іѕ a lоt more difficult fоr thе pup. Onсе уоu thrоw thе tоу, еnсоurаgе your рuрру tо gо after іt аnd іf hе dоеѕ, use your еxсіtеd, hарру tone of voice tо ѕау, “Tаkе іt.”
  3. Tan and White Beaglier with toySіnсе some dоgѕ аrе natural rеtrіеvеrѕ, they wоn’t hesitate to go after іt аnd brіng іt right bасk! If hе does thіѕ, thеn make ѕurе you lay on the рrаіѕе thісk wіth a couple of high ріtсhеd “Whаt a Gооd Bоу!” Please nоtе thаt thіѕ іѕ not thе norm. Usually, puppies dоn’t gо after and brіng thе tоу bасk on the fіrѕt trу unlеѕѕ thеу аrе a brееd thаt is known fоr retrieving. The average puppy will hаvе tо be tаught whаt іt is уоu wаnt thеm to dо wіth thіѕ tоу. So remember it’s оkау іf it tаkеѕ a while fоr уоur рuрру to lеаrn thіѕ.
  4. If your puppy goes up to thе toy and іѕ nоt ԛuіtе ѕurе what tо dо wіth it thеn juѕt try tо еnсоurаgе him tо рісk it up in an uрbеаt tоnе of vоісе. If hе shows nо interest іn grаbbіng іt, thеn уоu wіll hаvе tо go рісk іt up. Cоntіnuе tо bе excited аnd орtіmіѕtіс.
  5. If he does pick іt uр, thеn уоu ѕhоuld start to back uр ѕtіll fасіng уоur рuрру whіlе ѕауіng, “Bring іt!” If hе does brіng іt tо уоu, then рrаіѕе him wеll. Kеер rереаtіng ѕtерѕ 2 thrоugh 4 untіl hе brings іt bасk оn a consistent bаѕіѕ.
  6. If уоur рuрру іѕ doing Stер 5 on a rеgulаr basis, nоw is thе tіmе tо іnсrеаѕе the dіѕtаnсе grаduаllу when rolling the toy. If уоur рuрру starts tо hеѕіtаtе going аftеr іt, go after it with him for еnсоurаgеmеnt.
  7. Whеn уоur рuрру ѕtаrtѕ tо run аftеr іt wіth lоtѕ of еnthuѕіаѕm аnd brіng thе tоу back, then you саn ѕtаrt to throw іt ѕhоrt dіѕtаnсеѕ. Juѕt rеmеmbеr thоugh, аѕ soon аѕ уоu see hіm losing a lіttlе interest іn thе gаmе then іt’ѕ tіmе tо еnd thе playtime fоr the dау. Thе nеxt time уоu рlау the gаmе look fоr ѕіgnаlѕ that hе mіght be lоѕіng іntеrеѕt. Yоur gоаl is to quіt playing thе gаmе bеfоrе hе lоѕеѕ interest, ѕо it аlwауѕ еndѕ оn a hарру, роѕіtіvе nоtе.

Beaglier with a tennis ballUntil уоur dоg has fully mastered thе rеtrіеvіng game when уоu аrе fіnіѕhеd playing, it’s best tо put this tоу or bаll away whеrе hе саnnоt gеt to іt untіl уоu brіng іt оut аgаіn fоr thе next playtime. Thаt wау this bаll оr toy rеmаіnѕ a lіttlе mysterious, ѕресіаl, аnd the fun tоу аnd hе’ll most lіkеlу ѕhоw muсh іntеrеѕt in іt during уоur nеxt trаіnіng session.

What is clicker training?

What is clicker training for Designer dogs?

Many designer dog breeds are very quick to learn new tricks and commands. The key is to get them to understand what it is we want from them when we give them a command. Designer breeds with Poodle in their background such as Cavoodles and Groodles, actually want to please their owners to get a reward such as affection, as fast as possible.

Cavoodle sitting

Training a dog using a clicker may seem like a strange practice to the uninitiated but this article should help clear up a few mysteries as to what clicker training is and how it works. It wasn’t that long ago that most trainers raised a skeptical eyebrow towards clicker training, and so clickers were relegated to not much more than toy status. But times have changed and the clicker is now considered a serious tool in many a professional or amateur dog trainer’s arsenal.

Dog training clicker
Clickers come in a range of colours and styles

Clicker training is essentially using an audible click, produced by a clicker, in order to bring about changes in a dog’s behaviour. Clickers can be found at all good pet stores and are very inexpensive as they are not more than flexible metal plate housed in a small plastic box.  Placing your thumb inside the box and pressing down produces the click.

Clicker training operates on a positive reinforcement strategy. The dog learns to associate the click with positive behaviour as every time he does what is asked of him he hears a click and knows that a reward will immediately follow. Essentially the click lets the dog know that he is doing things right and will get a treat for doing so.

When the dog sits the trainer clicks and the dog is then given a reward as positive reinforcement. Trainers may use varying reward methods such as petting, food, or even play; it just depends on the individual dog and their trainer and what they know will work best for the dog.

Groodle Shake handsMost dogs learn to associate the click with something it likes very quickly (sometimes in just two or three clicks). Like all training it’s not practical to keep on rewarding a dog with a physical treat for positive behaviour every time. Therefore, once a behaviour is learned, the trainer will gradually start to withhold treats after a click until the dog is performing the correct behaviour on cue. The dog will then learn that good behaviour comes with its own life rewards such as being let in if they sit quietly by the door, food if they wait politely for dinner to be served, or being petted if they sit and wait when asked.

Clicker training is a positive reinforcement training method that does not use punishment for bad behaviour. Research into dog behaviour tells us that when a dog is punished it may reduce the bad behaviour but it is just as likely to elevate another equally unfavourable behaviour. As a result, training a dog with negative reinforcement can have unpredictable and unwanted results – something which clicker training avoids.

Barking and How to Reduce it

How to Stop Dogs Barking

Even well behaved dogs can develop an annoying barking habit as there many reasons a dog will feel the need to bark. Dog barking is always annoying and in many built up areas excessive barking from your dog may even land you in trouble with your neighbours. The first step in rectifying your dog’s barking problem is to find out why they are doing it in the first place. This will put you in a better position to control it as you will know the appropriate actions to take.

Barking dog

Never lower yourself into a yelling match with your dog to stop barking. This is a form of attention and she will simply think that you are joining in. As a result, she will only start to bark even more because she will now feel justified in her actions. Call her over in a calm and controlled manner. Divert her attention away from the barking with a few basic training exercises and suitable rewards. Sometimes this may be all that is needed to stop her errant behaviour.

Reduce Your Dog’s Boredom

Dogs do get lonely and may start barking because you are leaving them alone for too long a period. You might be able to resolve the problem by finding a dog-sitter who can keep your dog company while you are away. If it is feasible, keeping two dogs together will often eliminate the boredom and loneliness of a dog left on it’s own for extended periods of time. Many Designer dog breeds such as Puggles and Beagliers love company and do well with another dog. If you are only away for short periods but she is still barking, then you may have a dog that has become overly dependent on you. In such cases you would be best served by seeking the help of a specialized dog behaviourist.

Chevromist-Kennels-PuggleDogs may bark to request something. In this case it is a simple matter of not giving in to your dog when they bark. Unfortunately, this can take time if you have reinforced this habit over a number of years. Of course, you will also need to distinguish between a valid reason for barking such as going to the bathroom, or her just wanting attention. It’s important to never give in to your dog’s unwarranted barking request as any submission by you will undo all of your previous hard work.

Reward your dog’s good behaviour, but be sure to get in quick as you want her to associate her silence with good behaviour. Once your dog realizes that silence comes with a reward you can extend the time between rewards. Keep the time delay variable so she doesn’t associate a particular amount of time with a treat.

Sometimes the problem barking may be well out of your skillset – especially if you have an older aged dog with a newly developed barking problem. These problems can be extremely hard to pin down as to their cause if you have little experience in dog psychology. In these cases, seek help from your vet who can link you up with a behavioural expert.

Stopping dogs jumping up

Stop Your Puppy Jumping Up On You

Most dog owners are puzzled as to why their dog jumps up but if we look at dogs as pack animals whose ancestors lived in the wild we know that puppies would greet an adult by licking their muzzle, as it was a signal for the adult dog to regurgitate food. Domestic dogs no longer (or rarely) do this for their pups but the muzzle licking has survived as an instinctual behaviour. Of course, humans don’t exactly have muzzles but puppies will still try to jump up and lick our faces – which is the closest thing to a muzzle in their eyes.

Poochon jumpingWhen the puppy is small and cute humans will say “oh, how adorable,” when the pup jumps up and licks their face, and just like that the puppy has now received his reward for a new learned behaviour. However, small and cute only lasts so long because once the dog is 12 months old he is ruining clothes with muddy paws, and bowling old ladies over with his rambunctious jumping. This is especially important in smaller breeds like Poochons that seem to get away with murder! 

Start Training Early

Start early when your new puppy comes home. Only pay attention to them when all four paws are firmly planted on the ground. For this to work everybody in the household needs to follow the rules. Visitors will be a cause for frustration when they inadvertently provide positive reinforcement because they don’t really mind the dog jumping up, but it’s important that you let them know what you are trying to do in not letting the dog jump up to greet people.

Spoodle JumpingAvoid paying attention to the dog until they settle down. They will eventually learn to greet you in a calm and controlled manner whenever you arrive home. If she does jump up ignore her by turning your back to her and not pay her any attention at all. When she does settle down reward the behaviour with a pat and some praise, but keep it calm so they don’t get too excited again. This may take a few repeated attempts but after a while she will start to associate jumping up with being ignored and will stop the behaviour.

Many owners have had success by using a command to distract the dog from jumping up. When the dog jumps up on you turn your back on her but keep her visible in the corner of your eye and command her to sit. When she does so be sure to lavish her with praise. If she proves to be too excitable to notice the command keep on ignoring her until she quiets down and then try the command again. When she finally does sit praise and treat her to reinforce the behaviour. After a while your dog will soon learn that following your command is what will get her the reward, rather than the jumping.

Teaching a Puppy their Name

How to teach your puppy their name

Thinking of a name for the new puppy and then having everyone use it until the puppy learns to associate themselves with that name  is the way most households go about teaching a puppy its name, but there is a much more efficient and reliable way to go about it.  Dedicating a little time to teaching pup her new name will go a long way towards ensuring future obedience training sessions are more effective and easier. A dog who is trained to recognize her name properly will always respond reliably when she is called, rather than the haphazard way many household dogs respond to their name – when they feel like it or not at all.

Positive Association With Their Name

Tri Beaglier lying downWhen you use your dog’s name it should mean to them that you are talking to them and they need to give you their undivided attention. Once you can reliably get your dog’s attention after calling them all subsequent training sessions become much easier because the dog is focused on you. It also makes it easier to get your dog’s attention should you notice them running into danger, such as crossing a busy road to chase a wayward ball.

A little basic knowledge is needed to start training your puppy to recognize her name. Firstly, never use the puppies name in a negative way, such as for scolding when she makes a mistake. Reward the pup lavishly whenever they do respond to their name, and never use the name for any other reason. It’s in this area where a lot of people go wrong.

Maltese X ShihTzuDog owners often use the dog’s name as part of a command, or yell it to tell the dog off. This is never a good way to use your puppy’s name. She will eventually learn to ignore it altogether as her name becomes associated with negativity and being in trouble. Why would she turn and give you her undivided attention when she knows that she’s just going to get a severe talking to. However, if she is positively associated to her name then she is always going to turn to see what you want her to do next.

Get the Puppy’s Attention

First start by getting her attention. Pick a time when there are going to be no distractions, and puppy is not tired or over-excited. Say your puppy’s name once only in a warm and happy tone. If no attention is forthcoming make kissing noises or clap so she looks at you. Once she does look at you treat her with a reward and lavish her with praise.

Black Spoodle PuppyLet her attention wander and then repeat the above process. Once she looks at you again immediately reward and praise as before. Repeat the process for 8 – 10 minutes only as puppy will soon get bored with the experience and the training won’t be as effective. With one to four training sessions a day and lots of praise and treats your puppy will soon learn to respond to her name every time.

As you progress in the training vary the locations, such as in different rooms of the house, or your backyard. Make sure distractions are still at a minimum as puppies have a ridiculously small attention span. Start extending the time between calling her name and rewarding her. Try to get her to a level where she is giving you her attention for about 5 seconds before receiving the treat.

Spoodle gentle praiseOnce you can reliably hold her attention for about 5 seconds add some distractions such as a child playing in the room, or her favorite toy. When she is completely distracted try calling her name. Give an immediate reward and praise this time, without the 5 second delay. You might like to have a leash applied at this stage, so you can apply some gentle correction. Once she successfully turns her attention away from the distraction up the time delay between calling and reward as before, until you once again get her to 5 seconds.

Keep repeating the above process until you can successfully get your puppy’s attention no matter what is going on around her. Always remember to never use your puppy’s name as a command, but merely as a way to get her attention while she waits for you to tell her what to do next. Also, never use her name to call her over for anything unpleasant such as nail trimming, or putting into a crate. And be sure to always call her name in a pleasant happy voice, and never with an angry tone.

Being the pack leader

The pack leaderDogs are pack animals and the pack has a strict hierarchy, with the “alpha” at the head of the pack. Establishing yourself as the pack leader in your home is the best way to ensure that your dog takes you seriously, follows commands, and behaves in a predictable manner. You don’t become pack leader by being a bully, but instead establish control through resource control, confidence, giving direction and following through with everything.  A specially prepared dialogue which everyone in the household knows to use when communicating with the dog is also essential, so he knows exactly what’s expected of him no matter who is giving the command.

Don’t Spoil your Dog

Moodle in the carA dog that gets everything he wants when he wants will soon come to think of himself as the pack leader. This applies to both larger breeds like Labradoodles to smaller breeds like Moodles. Make your dog earn everything including petting, feeding, or even talking. If he is demanding attention have appropriate obedience commands in place to use before he gets what he is asking for.

The head of the household eats first in any pack and in the home environment this means all the humans eat first. He should be made to wait politely before eating and should not do so until he is invited. It should also be made very clear that humans are the food givers. Feed him once or twice a day only and remove all food after 10 – 15 minutes. Treats should only be handed out once the dog has earned it by obeying a command, or even performing a simple trick.

When entering or leaving a building, leaders always go first. Dogs should be made to sit and wait, and then be given permission to leave or enter. This also includes outside environments when walking through a gate. If your dog is still learning, block the entrance with your body so they cannot rush past you.

Lead The Way

Labradoodle out for a walkAn alpha dog would never step over another animal blocking their way. They will always make the other animal clear the path. You should treat your dog the same way. If they are taking up the hallway, or doorway, they should be made to move before you go any further. The same goes for sitting down. If the dog is sitting in your favourite chair gently remove him in a non-confrontational way and then sit down – then give him position to sit where you say he can sit.

Never give a command without following through. If you give the command to sit, ensure the dog always does what you ask of him. If he fails to do so don’t beg, plead, whine, yell, or punish but help the dog achieve the desired action. When he finally does obey be sure to shower him with praise.  Obedience training is also highly recommended as you will receive expert guidance on the best ways to handle your dog.

If you think this system is being too controlling or unfair to the animal, consider how many dogs are given up each year due to behavioural problems. Dogs thrive on structure and firm guidance and it is the owner’s responsibility to provide it – with it always being to the detriment of the dog if they don’t.