Tag Archives: crate training

The Puppy Sessions

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We see lots of puppies and we want to see more puppies, and we want to see them earlier.

Waiting for your puppy to be finished his or her vaccinations or waiting until the nipping and the accidents and the chewing are driving you bonkers is too late to start your puppy’s education.

Book a puppy-session NOW and make sure that everyone gets off on the right paw!

What happens during a puppy session?

We talk about all the things that you can start to put in place so that puppy raising is easier and your puppy becomes a great, easy to live with, companion dog.

1. Social Experience

Not only must puppies know how to be dogs, but they must also know how to fit into human society – and that’s tough!

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We emphasise:

  • socialisation is not about your puppy learning to greet, play with and love everyone
  • socialisation is about your puppy learning that other people, dogs, animals and related goings-on are so normal that they’re not even worth getting worked up about
  • socialisation is about ensuring puppy has mostly positive experiences in social interactions
  • socialisation is about puppy learning how to behave appropriately in social situations

We will teach you how to teach your dog to greet politely, to manage their excitement and to teach others how to greet your puppy appropriately so your puppy doesn’t become over-whelmed, and learns that social greetings are positive, enjoyable and safe.

How to use your hand-link-a-Kong to teach all this:

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Teach puppy that people approaching makes a treat appear so that puppy learns that approaching humans are safe and so that puppy learns to focus on their own people when someone else is approaching:

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Puppies must get to play with other safe, healthy and appropriate dogs and puppies too.

We emphasise:

  • puppy doesn’t get to greet and play with every dog they see
  • to play with other dogs, puppy must be calm and responsive
  • play sessions must be short
  • humans supervise and actively shape puppy play behaviour throughout
  • play will be interrupted regularly for re-focus and calm, down-time

Teach puppies to be comfortable with collar grabs so that they can be restrained when needed:

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Off leash puppy activities must never be a free-for-all! 

2. Exposure & Experience

The world is a new, exciting and often scary place for puppies. As their new guide to the human-world, in which they will live, we want to gently and carefully expose them to all the things we want them to be able to cope with later on.

Think of the dog you want in two years time…you are preparing for that NOW!

We emphasise:

Hair dryers and vacuum cleaners don’t have to be scary, if they are introduced properly and early on:

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While your puppy is on vaccination hold (and beyond):

  • play Follow Me! so that you puppy learns how to walk politely, without a lead, before you are going on walks

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  • set up a couple of odd things everyday, in a new place in and around the house for puppy to explore

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Remember, when you start walking your puppy out and about, increase the size of their world very gradually (from the house to the street on the first day is plenty, and around local streets is lots for the first week) and take your time, stop with puppy and allow them to explore in their on time.

3. Mental Exercise

Puppies are active and inquisitive so let’s channel that energy, so it doesn’t become a people-problem and so that puppy is an active learner and problem solver.

We emphasise:

  • no food bowls for puppies!
  • training puppy throughout the day, working for their regular food

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  • using their brains (and noses) to work out how to find food and toys

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  • getting them hooked on chewing their chew toys and not your furniture, shoes or belongings

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  • allowing puppies to try things out, to experience a little frustration and even stress, and recovery

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And lots more ideas here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

4. Nipping & Bite Inhibition

All puppies do it, and most people are bothered by it.

Puppy nipping is important for puppies though so we put exercises in place to make sure puppies have an acceptable outlet for this behaviour, but preventing it from becoming to much trouble for people.

There are different schools of thought on this and lots of diverse advice.

We emphasise:

  • keeping interactions with puppy brief and low-key so puppy doesn’t become over-excited (they will often express that with mouthing and nipping)
  • making sure puppy has lots of down-time, settling and sleep (over tired puppies are like over tired toddlers…)
  • diverting puppy behaviour and using treats & toys so that we don’t need to restrain, physically manipulate or position puppy
  • redirecting teeth onto suitable toys
  • yelping and withdrawing for 5-10-count if we feel hard teeth
  • moving away from puppy 20-count timeout if they turn into a landshark
  • teaching puppies the rules of play with people
  • making sure puppies have lots of opportunities to play bitey-face games with other appropriate dogs

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5. Management

You already know all the behaviours that puppy is going to do that you are not going to like – squealing when left alone, chewing your belongings, toileting in the wrong places, and that’s just for starters.

So, if you know they’re going to bother you, why are you allowing them to happen?! Prevention is key.

Never allow puppy to practice unwanted behaviour so that they never learn to establish unwanted behaviours.

We emphasise:

  • night-time training so puppy never develops distress at separation (prevents sleepless nights too!)
  • crate training for toilet training
  • crate training for settle training
  • crate training for self-control training
  • crate training chew-toy training
  • crate training for night-time training
  • …see where we are going with this…?

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6. Passive Training

This is lazy training, and really effective too! Puppy isn’t doing the wrong things all the time so catch him doing the right behaviour and reward that with food rewards, toys, play, attention or access to things he wants.

We emphasise:

  • rewarding puppy any time you notice he’s quiet, he has four paws on the floor, he’s keeping the leash loose and he’s showing calm focus
  • rewarding polite behaviour

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  • rewarding puppy when he’s doing nothing

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  • using lots of different types of rewards

Teach your puppy how to be a good human trainer like here, here and here.

7. Parking your Puppy

More lazy dog training, while puppy learns to chill out and be calm.

We emphasise:

  • use a specific mat or bed so puppy learns that means it’s settle time
  • lapping and chewing on stuffed and lined Kongs help puppies relax

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  • practicing parking and settling in lots of places, with your puppy’s calm-mat, will help puppy become a great companion who you can bring anywhere

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8. Resource Guarding Prevention

It’s normal, natural, necessary dog behaviour (humans do it too!) so let’s set up our puppies so that they never feel the need to make people go away from them, when they have stuff.

We emphasise:

  • making sure puppies have their own place where they can eat, chew, play and hangout undisturbed
  • puppies learn that when they have stuff and people come near, awesome things happen

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9. Handling

Puppies and dogs will be handled, sometimes in invasive ways, throughout their lives. Remember, anything we want in our dog in two years time, we need to start working on right now!

We emphasise:

  • gentle handling of puppy everyday

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  • calming, massage helps to settle puppy
  • pairing handling and manipulation with yummy treats helps puppy to become comfortable with this in lots of situations

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  • practicing at the vets and groomers too, before puppy needs it
  • giving puppies choice in how much and how far is enough

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10. Toilet training

Toilet training requires time, patience, supervision and management.

We emphasise:

  • regular toilet breaks – every 1-2 hours during the day
  • more regular breaks after eating, drinking, napping, or any sort of excitement
  • clean up accidents with biological washing powder (with enzyme action)
  • supervise free puppies – if they have any accident it’s on you I’m afraid
  • don’t scold puppy – step up supervision!
  • free time is for empty puppies only – so crate puppy, supervise closely and only allow out and about after toileting
  • bring puppy to a toileting area and be boring – this is a business area, not for fun
  • calmly praise puppy while he goes, and reward with 3-5 high value food rewards once he’s done
  • then have a little game or fun interaction with puppy so that he doesn’t learn he is just ignored after appropriate toileting
  • have patience – we give children years for toilet training and most puppies will need months of structured toilet training before they are reliable

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11. Obedience behaviours

The most important thing to understand here is that obedience behaviours can be taught at any time, but all the 1-10 stuff above MUST start NOW.

So, although we might introduce some obedience stuff, it’s not the main emphasis of your puppy’s early education at all.

Teach puppy to play tug, with rules, so that you are also teaching him some self-control and to give up items, even when excited:

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Teach puppy to leave forbidden items by teaching him that “leave it” means to come away from that thing and reorient to his person:

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Teach puppy that only polite, calm behaviour gets him what he wants:

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12. Troubleshooting

We spend some time answering your questions and  developing a program that works best for your puppy, you and your family.

  • diet
  • parasite control
  • vet and groomer visits
  • grooming
  • neutering
  • training classes
  • great puppy resources
  • and all the other questions new puppy owners will have too…

And this is just the beginning of your’s and your puppy’s education…

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Do you know someone with a new puppy or soon to get a new puppy, or even someone thinking about maybe considering a new puppy?

Let’s get puppy-ownership off to the best start with a puppy session!

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Weekly Woof from the Web

Still catching up on all the great dog stuff from around the web!

It’s pretty cold out there right now and although many dogs don’t enjoy the cold weather, dogs have actually developed many adaptations to become pretty efficient in colder temperatures: Dogs and Cold Weather

Don’t worry about trying to analyse dog behaviour too much; if you are relying on popular understanding of dog behaviour, it’s probably mythic anyway: Dog Myths About Rank & Dominance

IAABC have started a Dog Park Project with the production of some really nice posters, with cute Lili Chin illustrations here. We are not a fan of dog parks, certainly the sort of facilities provided here in Ireland, but these posters are relevant to anywhere you take your dog, where he meets other dogs.
Here are some tips for dog-dog introductions.

Crates are one of our most favourite tools for managing dog behaviour, once the dog is confinement trained properly. Free time is for trained dogs, so when can I start leaving my dog out of the crate?

Nobody signs up for a project dog – it’s hard living with a dog whose behaviour you must constantly monitor, whose environment you must constantly manage – it’s tiring. If you are living with a dog who may not be living up your original expectations of life-with-dog, maybe this piece will resonate with you: My life with an aggressive dog

Life is short, go play with your dog…but learn how to do it best first: It’s not you, it’s me

Not only is passive smoking dangerous for humans, but for pets too: Pets at more risk from passive smoking than humans

Hmmmm, it’s a bit of a mystery, alright…Who got into the trash?

Now, this will put a smile on your face: Cute dog having fun in a water fountain

This week, at AniEd

Another week almost over, and we are not even back to full service yet!! 2016 is going to be our biggest year yet 🙂

Puppy Party!

We work with the dog-rescue charity, A Dog’s Life (check out their Facebook page and website) to help support their work in making sure their dogs get the best training and behaviour support.

Unusually, A Dog’s Life has a lot of puppies in their care at the moment so that’s a great excuse for us to hold a puppy party in our new place #puppybreath !!

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Holly, Rudi, Gertie, Hope, Macy and Toby, along with their awesome fosters came along for fun and brain games.

Hope, Macy and Toby are from the same litter so it’s good for them to be exposed to other puppies and to spend some time apart from one another too.

Check out Rudi meeting all the black & white puppies:

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In good news, Rudi has found his new awesome forever home!And home checks are in process for Macy and Gertie so fingers and paws crossed!

We set up a confidence course behind a barrier so that the puppies couldn’t get into any mischief.

Confidence courses help to expose puppies to odd, novel and out of context items and situations in a safe environment so that we can help them learn to cope with stress and develop resilience.

Puppies learn that they can investigate new, weird and even scary things without any pressure, in their own time and they can direct the interaction, with the choice to move away built in. This is confidence building and essential for puppies.

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Weird items, things out of context, new substrates, different textures and surfaces, new noises and moving things – all make for a great puppy confidence course!

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And after some playtime, exploration & investigation, we had some downtime – because learning to settle is one of the most important skills we can teach puppies and dogs.

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Looking after puppies, to make sure to give them the best start requires lots of knowledge, so while we parked our puppies the grown-ups discussed all things puppy:

  • puppy development – what’s happening to puppies of different ages and what we can do to support their behavioural development
  • management – how we prevent all that puppy behaviour from ever becoming problem behaviour
    We looked at toilet training, chewing & destruction, biting & nipping, resource guarding, handling and self-settling.
    One of the best ways to manage puppy behaviour and to set puppy (and pet owner) up for success is crate training, so we had some crate manners practice too:

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  • lots of enrichment & entertainment – NO food bowls here!!
  • small challenges, everyday – cognitive, physical, sensory
  • well controlled social contact with other dogs, people of different types and even other species
  • confinement and alone training
  • careful exposure to novel and varied experiences
  • lots and lots of passive training – catch your puppy doing the right thing!

What we do now with puppies is having an impact on their behaviour over the remainder of their life; and these fosters have the added challenge of making sure that their puppies become adoptable, successful companions – no pressure then!

We practiced lots of exercises too:

  • supervising and managing puppy play and interactions
  • how to provide physical, cognitive and sensory challenges easily at home
  • how to park your puppy and teach settling
  • handling exercises:

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Sometimes puppies will need a little extra help in developing comfort with handling, so we take our time and build the challenge a little more gradually:

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  • use your hand like a Kong toy – helps with nipping, self-control and polite greetings:

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  • Follow Me! – teach puppy to follow you and love it, without a leash on first so that when you put the leash on puppy has no reason to pull!

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It’s no wonder all the puppies were pooped after all that!

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Awesome Pets & their People

This week we mainly had follow-up appointments with dogs and their families already working through programs, coming back to adjust the plan we have built together, to build on progress and to keep motivation up!

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Harley came for a second follow-up as his people work through the program we have built together to help improve this little chap’s self-control, focus and coping abilities. He’s a super smart fella!

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We were out and about with Shiloh for a third follow-up in the wind and rain (normal Irish weather!) to help her learn how to better cope with some specific fearful responses. Despite us all getting a bit bedraggled, Shiloh and her mum make an awesome team!

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Shy girl Roxy came for her first follow-up – she and her people are rocking our program to help her confidence develop. She is becoming a cheeky little one!

Despite being scared of the mat at first, soon she was able to lie on it comfortably. Her dad helped by giving some support (sitting beside it neutrally) but Roxy was soon able to interact and lie on the mat with shaping, lots of choice and salami!

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Lottie came for a visit too and we did some dog-dog comfort work. Lottie and her person did some awesome training, never allowing Lottie to become uncomfortable, always able to work and really closing the gap with our stooge dog (Decker)!

After we did some training work, Lottie worked on a puzzle – getting her dinner out of a plastic milk jug.
This will help her deal with any stress experienced during our training, get her brain working in a different way and keep her busy:

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And Lucy Basset popped into say Hi!, check the place out, have a game with Decker and pick up a crate for her new foster brother Mason, who she will be helping to become a great adoptable pet!

People Training

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We are celebrating because our CBTT3 group all completed their full course successfully! Yay!!!

They have completed 15 units at first-year degree level, battled with an enormous workload and still love dogs, training and behaviour at the end of it all.

Now the really hard work starts as they build their careers as fully fledged Canine Training & Behaviour Technicians, with our continued support.

We are beyond proud of all that they have achieved as they embark on becoming excellent dog pros!

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And our trusty pack of Labs, Bassets, Rotties, Yorkies, JRTs and Beagles (don’t worry, they are all well-behaved teddies!) are very tolerant models helping lots of learners become Canine First Responders.

AniEd Dogs

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Zack wrapped up – t’was cold this week!
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Boomer poses with honourary AniEd dog, Dilis

And Decker…

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Lots more to come with a busy weekend ahead and another week of doggy adventures!