Then Petra Ford had an AWESOME webinar that was available called, PUPPY FUNDATION with a new and perhaps only 8 or 9 week only puppy. Catherine Zinsky has some excellent very young puppy training resources.
The one thing these excellent trainers had in common was that from the day a puppy arrives (usually 8 weeks old) training should begin. What you do now sets the stage for the puppy/dog you will have in the coming years. There is so much scientific research now saying that positive conditions during these early 5 stages/phases produce dogs of the highest caliber mentally and socially.
J. Paul Scott writes between 8-12 weeks old puppies are LEARNING MACHINES; their learning facilities are operating at full capacity. This marks the period when the puppy will learn at a fast and furious pace. Although the COME, SIT, DOWN and STAY are important at this time, interesting enough the important single response during this period is learning to FETCH. Puppies who do not learn to fetch are dropped from some Guide Dog Program.
He also writes that formal obedience training should begin between 13-16 weeks if full potential of the puppy’s intelligence and companion ability is realized.
Petra Ford so brilliantly speaks of teaching her puppies the correct way to do something from the beginning (which in Puppy Fundation) is 8/9 weeks old. For example for the DOWN, SIT AND STAND TO NOT MOVE FORWARD… This is critical in obedience work and can result in valuable points off…. So when it is taught why not show the correct way and reward for correctness. Another is to not mouth the dumbbell so from day one she teaches and rewards taking and holding something like a dowell but not allowing mouthing. It is easier to teach and support the correct behavior in a puppy (the learning machine) than trying to fix an incorrect way of doing a task when the dog is older and more set in their ways.
Despite this excellent scientific research I am still disheartened and surprised to learn that many people almost brag about doing nothing with their puppies. One well known trainer keeps telling me she does nothing with her puppies and obedience should not be started until 2 ½ years. Another agility competitor did nothing with her puppy including no recalls and seemed proud in telling every one what a naught dog she has. This dog often jumped agility fences and ran uncontrolled outside the fence.
Yes and what I see is this lack of introduction to proper behavior, learning of correctness in performance skill comes back in some way to haunt the owner. For example, chewing or mouthing a dumbbell can help be prevented by an older dog if taught the proper way as a young puppy to hold something like the dowell. Focus on the handler which later is so important for obedience and heel work can be encouraged. Fronts and correct start position can easily be encouraged and started with the young puppy. Many many obedience competitors have trouble with the utility scent articles. I have trained 3 of my recent border collies as a game in the house with first odor and then a scented article. There is not rush in them playing and learning this game and when eventually more articles are added it is just game progression.
Examples, Dylan loves to explore and with his curiosity he likes to put his feet up on the counter. As we know this can lead to pulling down things, eating things that are not his and much more... So this behavior has to be corrected to let him know this is not allowed. He did not arrive here knowing that he should not explore on counter tops so it is up to us to change this behavior. Another example is that puppies are teething for at least 6 months so everything goes into their mouths especially stones outside... again a behavior we need to protect them from or in some cases protect our house. How about steeling shoes from a closet.....Do puppies come knowing they are not suppose to chew or take out shoes from our closet to chew or play with??? Then the big one is Kleenex and toilet paper... what fun. More than once I have caught Dylan with Kleenex in his mouth..then. he would love to play keep away while he tries to eat some.... So now at night we have added Kleenex and Kleenex boxes to our "WHAT'S YOUR CHOICE" games. Every day I play a game with his HOT ZONE bed and proper behavior for going out the front door or waiting for a guest to come in; waiting at the door when it opens; not going out when someone does go out; doorbell ringing... All a fun "IT'S YOUR CHOICE" game. Puppies are not NAUGHTY... we just need to train them what we expect and not let them get away with inappropriate behavior.
Visit my web page and see how Beckett my last border collie was trained and now Dylan whom I do more with based on all the new resources with excellent people like Petra Ford, Susan Garrett (especially recaller course) and Catherine Zinsky are doing with their dogs – offering many ideas of fun early training. You may not agree with some of what they are doing, such as early heel work, but the being at ones side for loose leash walking, being in a correct position to start all exercises, pivot work, distractions, focus on the handler are all wonderful things building the foundation for fun, focused heeling.
Visit my web site to what Beckett and Dylan by age2 have and are doing.