I've had my pup for three weeks now and he's 75 days old today. His potty training is an ongoing process (I have questions I'll put in a different thread), but I think he's doing alright.
What I wanted to ask was what commands I should focus on at this age and what are the commands that I can leave till he masters the basics? How long into his adulthood would he keep learning new "tricks"?
Right now the ones he seems to have mastered are : "sit", "down", "stand", "sit/stay", "paw". What should I keep for future and what am I missing?
I'm practising recall with him but it's an uphill battle. I know from other threads that it takes up to a year to get reliable recall, so I'm not disheartened.
Completely failing on the retrieving front though. Around what age do they become more amenable to fetch games?
I think you are doing really well for such a young puppy! The key to training a small pup is to keep the sessions short and fun. You don't want to overwhelm him with mental work. I would just keep reinforcing what you have done so far within the context of play sessions. An important command to have for any dog, but especially Labs (who LOVE to pick things up with their mouths) is LEAVE IT and GIVE IT. You want your dog to listen to you and not pick up/eat something they find which you don't want them to have. Similarly, you want your dog to give up to you that item they have grabbed which you don't want them to have - like the time mine decided to grab a 50 off the table.
Dogs can and do learn new things their whole lives. The idea of not being able to teach old dogs new tricks is a fallacy.
Retrieving requires a longer attention span than your puppy has at this age. Most get interested later - 6 months or there abouts.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
My pup is about the same age. Recall is hard because they're just like children, very short attention span. She can easily sit, stay, lay down, shake and even leave it on command, but recall is dependent on her mood and where she's at. If she's outside (house dog) she won't come when called 90% of the time. After 2 days of "catching" her I realized I was playing the stupid game. When that happens the dog is thinking "fun, fun, fun" I just have to shout SIT and then I tell her good girl, she wags her tail and I pick her up. I've learned that the recall command has to be taught in a very quiet environment with LOTS of treats and not used unless you know they're going to come. If I say "come" in the house she now knows it's a command, but it will be a while before she realizes this when she's out back murdering my plants and drinking out of the pool...
She loves to play fetch and knows "drop it". Some times you don't have to say it, but mostly I have to tell her to drop it. She won't play for extended periods of time, but she will do it. Try a cup. I don't know why but she seems to LOVE chasing cups and she knows a human can make it roll better. She she brings it back every time till she's disinterested.
Last edited by Destinfam5; 04-07-2013 at 05:53 PM.
My puppies learned COME first, they learned it in two weeks and that was 9 and 10 weeks of age respectively.
I just posted it the thread at the link if you want to give it a try. Pups need to be very young for it to work but your's is not past 16 weeks yet so it might. I definitely don't see resigning yourself to a dog who doesn't know COME till it's a year old.
I believe the main commands to focus on at any age are the ones that will keep your dog safe: sit/stay, come, leave it, drop it
So I need to strengthen his "come" and teach him "leave it" and "drop/give it". He does come whenever we call his name in a happy, excited way but to the word itself his response is unreliable.
I'll try your method, Dog Paddle, though I live in a city with very few spaces safe for dogs so I guess I'll have to be inventive. =)
Thanks for the advice everyone.
Anything else I should look into?
My pup took to the recall right away as we'll, it's his most reliable command now at 13 weeks..some good tips:
- never use recall to end the play session (don't want come to equal fun time is over)
- never use recall when you don't think the dog will come (set yourself up for success)
- during play time, call your dog to come and then let them to play so they don't associate come with end of fun
- switch up the treats often ( so he thinks its gonna be a different treat every time)
- use high value treats at times (hot dog worked best for my pup)