Training your pup is a combination of teaching new skills including manners, setting boundaries, fostering healthy relationships, as well as exposing your dog successfully to people, other dogs and desensitizing him or her to all environments.
For example, we have the pup stay overnight with various people in different settings, which creates a dog for you who is comfortable and easy to live with because he/she easily adapts to your lifestyle. Because of this and exposures to other variables your dog readily bonds with you and your family.
Imprinting Good Behavior
Birth to 16 Weeks
Picking up your puppy from the breeder
Training starts the moment a new puppy is in our hands. Once we choose the pup from the litter, the first thing we want to accomplish is building confidence and a bond with this new puppy. We begin our relationship having fun while always teaching. Under our close guidance, we begin exposing the pup to its new world. For example, getting him/her to follow, climb stairs, walk over logs, and even get somewhat close to loud noises, we are environmentally socializing your dog to the world while strengthening our bond. We are huge dog lovers, yet extremely aware in those moments it is imperative to focus more on being a leader and guide as the new pup learns about this new world without the company of its litter mates or mom.
Most important time for learning
In the first few weeks we are teaching boundaries, trust and focus. There is no limit as to what we will incorporate into our strategies. Often we utilize specific places or objects to create an experience for the pup. Sometimes a spur of the moment opportunity may present itself. Our choices and imagination are unlimited. Every exposure and experience builds upon the previous one. Through all of this we closely monitor the puppy. We don’t limit ourselves to rigid rules. We try to be more creative, think outside the box and take advantage of events that unfold before us. Those opportunities are priceless when it comes to teaching the pup.
Every interaction with the new puppy is a teaching moment. We like to think of it as an early investment in the life of this pup. This is the first time away from their littermates. Puppies have a small window of time during brain development when they are most impressionable. This is called the imprinting, or critical learning period. Puppies learn more during this time than they can learn in a lifetime. The quality and quantity of what they experience will have a huge impact on their future personalities and determine many of their “good” or “bad” behavior tendencies. During the imprinting phase, every experience is critical. It is important to build their confidence. The phrase ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ does not apply to our early interactions. Because puppies are taking in every experience like a sponge, we need to stay very aware of all interactions and yet still have fun with our new pup.
A Well-Mannered Friend
4 to 6 months
A trained dog is much more than just obedient. Knowing how to sit, stay or walk nicely on a loose leash are important things to learn. Good manners, great social skills and a healthy relationship with his/her family are paramount. In addition, desensitization, exposure to many different distractions and situations, as well as being comfortable to fit into a lifestyle is equally important.
Our focus is to create a dog with impeccable manners and social skills. We start by teaching obedience the day we bring them home from the breeder, which continues as we refine the dogs behavior. The goal is to have a solid foundation by about 4 to 6 months. We practice obedience, making it a standard request in our daily routine as well as within each new situation we expose your dog to. We move from shaping to formalizing commands and testing them with distractions, duration and distance. Communication is at the core of our philosophy. Being clear and consistent is key. We limit our words when giving commands. We want your dog to be clear as to what we mean when we give a command. When we say ‘come’ or ‘here’ we expect 100% response immediately.
Proofing Behavior in a Social World
6 months to young adult
Enter the teenage years – adolescence. This is the typical age when many dogs are re-homed or given up to shelters. The adolescent stage can find your sweet pup turning into a monster. That nice pup can be more mouthy and disobedient then you could ever imagine. Many owners hope their dog will outgrow undesirable behaviors. Their dog is testing what is allowed and what is not. Allowing a dog to continue rehearsing naughty acts makes changing undesirable behavior more difficult.
Peace of Mind Puppy begins training your puppy right from the breeder. We work closely socializing and exposing your dog to the world and everything he comes in contact with. We teach and guide your dog through the unpredictable adolescent stage. We encourage and reward good behavior. All of this time, work and attention to your dog ensures a wonderful companion for you to love and enjoy.
Testing in the Real World
We work to prevent any unwanted behavior by instilling boundaries and practicing obedience in high distraction areas. For example, we practice recalls when your dog is highly distracted maybe chasing something as common as a squirrel. We test and proof obedience in high traffic areas, around barking dogs, near playgrounds and within public places.
As the dog moves through the adolescent stage we continue to challenge the dog by putting it in various situations. We think of each situation as a picture. What does that look like to the dog? How does that picture change from day to day, location to location. We are striving to teach a dog how to cope in every new and different environment or situation. We are raising a dog that isn’t dependent on continuous commands that dictate what he/she should and shouldn’t do. Instead, we want a dog that can make good choices. Our top priority is to have a well-balanced dog, who will be comfortable your home.
We continue to reinforce and refine good manners making good behavior a habit for the dog. Throughout this time, the dog has been living with the trainer in his or her personal home. During this time, your dog will also spend a few days and nights staying with another family member or friend. Providing this opportunity encourages your dog to continue to be confident and comfortable in new surroundings. This ensures those habits and good manners will remain when he moves on to your home.