Hi, I have a 3 1/2 month old puppy, Bailey. I've had her since she was 7 weeks old and she's doing really well (I think). This is the first time I have owned my own dog and have found everyone's advice on here from the posts i've been reading sooo helpful!
Bailey will now sit, lie down, give her paw, wait for her food, and we're currently working on stay which she's doing really well at. I was just wondering really whether there was anything else that I should have taught her by now? I know she is only young, but if there's anything essential anyone would recommend then any advice is greatly appreciated. I am taking her to her first puppy class next Monday so am hoping to get a lot of guidance there and advice for pointing me in the right direction. I'm researching and reading as much as I can as I just want Bailey to be a well balanced, happy dog and make sure i'm fulfilling all her needs.
Also any advice on walking her on the lead? I take her out every day: we go for about 10 minutes or just under in the morning, then about 7 minutes at lunch time, then I take her to a little green off lead for about 10-15 minutes where she can just have a scout about after work. I don't do anything strenuous with her as I'm very aware of not over exercising her little legs so she doesn't have problems later on. Plus that includes stopping time when she starts pulling. She is quite good on the lead, and I can get her back to my side to sit when she needs to and i'm using treats to do this, just wanted some advice on getting her to walk nicely for longer. Oh and does anyone have a word they use for 'walk beside me/by my side', as opposed to 'heel', as i've been told 'heel' is mainly for more advanced obedience/shows and stuff?
Many thanks, Taryn :0)
wow - you're doing great with Bailey!!
Are you planning to take her to obedience? If so some things you can start doing is making sure that when you are walking with her that she sits to your left before you start your walk and that you always take off on your left foot. When you stop you should always stop on your right foot. Eventually when you tell Bailey to stay and leave with your left foot she knows to stay. If you go into the ring and you can't talk to her if you leave with left foot she'll know to stay put as opposed to right foot for voiceless heel command. That's more for your practice than her at this stage, I found that part the hardest thing to remember when we started obedience.
Getting her to sit next to you on the left side is really good to start with early as well. As for an alternative to "heel" I use to word "wait" or "walk" Wait is a general term I give her and she knows that means "wait up for mum" no matter what we're doing. For example when I walk her at the river off lead, if she gets too far infront of me I tell her "wait" she'll wait till im beside her and I tell her OK and she'll trot around again sniffing etc. When she's on lead on a street walk and she's pulling, I check her and say "wait" or "heel" ... generally heel though as we're trying to perfect this for obedience.
Other than that good commands that you can teach are "give" and "leave it" both extremely useful!! Give if she's got something she shouldnt have and leave it if she goes to grab something you dont want her to... or if she pulls toward another dog on a walk and you dont want her to etc... we also taught Milly "take" .... useful for when I have a basket full of washing to hang out and no hands for the peg bucket... Milly takes it in her mouth and follows me to the clothesline. She loves carrying things in her mouth and the take command lets me use this to my full advantage
Good luck but I think from what you have said so far you're really doing well with her and she's picking things up nice and fast!
If you can do all that before your first puppy class, you are well on your way to success! The other thing to consider, is the puppy class is as much about training you as training the dog. I learned more than I expected.My dog is now 7 months and it took him until the past week or so to really get better at on leash walking. He pulled and resisted and jumped on strangers. Our trainer suggested putting him in a sit when he pulls, sit facing the direction you want to walk. Hold a treat out in front of him and say HEEL as you begin to walk. If he focuses on the treat, he won't he pulling around.Also any advice on walking her on the lead? I take her out every day: we go for about 10 minutes or just under in the morning, then about 7 minutes at lunch time, then I take her to a little green off lead for about 10-15 minutes where she can just have a scout about after work. I don't do anything strenuous with her as I'm very aware of not over exercising her little legs so she doesn't have problems later on. Plus that includes stopping time when she starts pulling.
We do something similar when a stranger walks by. We move off the sidewalk, put him in a sit, and have him focus on a treat until the person walks by. It works pretty well, and he's learning quickly.
The great command I learnt to help that (along with food) is "watch" - Hold a piece of kibble to your nose and tell puppy watch... if they look at you intently praise/treat. Repeat repeat repeat... then extend how long they have to look at you after they start getting used to it before treat/praise and repeat and so forth.Originally Posted by VTEnviro
Another great way to test them is to hold a piece of kibble in your hand with your arm outstretched to your side and have the kibble in your palm, palm up. Puppy will stare and stare at kibble (especially if it's a lab) .. when they look at you praise highly and treat.
Watch is really great to get their attention back to you in distracting situations. I use this during obedience when we do weaving... it's always loads more easier to get a puppy to do a command for you first go if you have their full attention.
I see your trainer was probably cut from the same mold as ours.
Me: Hey teacher, how come I can't get Rupert to _____ ?
Teacher: Have you tried doing it with a treat?
It's solved the vast majority of his issues.
sarahnye - thank you so much for your reply, it's really helped and am so grateful for the reassurance, good to know we're heading in the right direction I practiced setting off with my left this morning when we went for a walk, but kept forgetting about stopping on my right, but will keep practising! Aw that's fantastic about her carrying your peg basket, that is exactly the sort of thing I want to get Bailey to do, so she has a job - how did you teach her to take but make sure she stayed with you, rather than running off to play with whatever it was you gave her? Thanks for the advice on 'watch' as well, it's a great idea and am going to start using that straight away, it definitely will make things easier if I can get her to focus on me when I want her to.
I'm really glad of your reply, i've read a few of your other posts and your advice is fantastic! I hope that by the same age (I think I read 10 months) Bailey will be able to do all the things your puppy can, that would be great!
VTEnviro - thanks for the tip on getting her to sit when she starts pulling - I did it this morning and made her come back to my left side before we set off again you've also put my mind at rest not to expect too much too quickly and that we'll get the hang of her walking nicely on the lead, it will just take time and practise.
ok well the take idea started because Milly liked to jump up to greet people that arrived at our home as guests. But we noticed that if she had a toy in her mouth she was less likely to jump. So I had the bright idea that whenever my OH arrived home from work I'd ask her to take a toy to give him as he walked through the door.Originally Posted by Taz*
So with toys I'd sit in front of her and hold it in front of her mouth and tell her "take" at first no reaction and I sort of had to force it gently into her mouth and then lots of crazy praise dancing and a piece of kibble. Then we progressed to her taking it and dropping it. Then taking it ... pause.. drop it. Etc etc until you can now tell her take. She takes it and holds it until you tell her give and she gives it back.
So when people turned up on the door step I'd say excitedly "oh Milly who's that?" tell her take with a toy and walk her to the door.. and get my OH to greet and praise her and say give to get the toy. Now when visitors arrive she frantically searches for her toys and gives them out one by one to our guests.. it's very cute.
As for her running off with the item in her mouth that hasn't happened and I really think it's because she only associates "take" with getting an item and taking it to someone.... so she knows it's not playtime. Thats the only way I can think to be honest..
Hope this helps! Lots more pictures of Bailey would be appreciated too... we LOVE puppy pics
that's great - we're actually going through that at the moment with Bailey, she loves guests coming round and wants to jump all over them, so hopefully this will be a great way of getting her out of that and it does sound sooo cute - I can just picture her hunting for her toys now! hehe
well thanks again for your excellent advice! have you had many dogs then? you really know your stuff!
ooh I would love to put more pics of Bailey on, I love to show her off - I think everyone loves to show off their pets! Where should I upload the photos to?
upload them to Lab Chat Or the photo album section.
Milly is my first labrador.... she's the first dog i've owned since I left home 8 years ago. I learnt alot from the forum, training websites and books. I just like to do my research, I'm still learning every day though!! But I am also 100% committed to Milly and our relationship and her quality of life. I feel that she is much happier in our life having boundaries and knowing what she is and isnt allowed to do, she is a wonderful dog in temperament and behaviour and has really fitted into our lifestyle so smoothly. When you put in the time and effort they can really be a pleasure to have around (and not just for us, but our family and friends too, she's always being doggy sat by friends and family... with or without other dogs and with or without children. Proper continous socialisation has really helped her to be calm and easy going also)
Obedience classes are the best!!
I think you've got a great start! It probably goes without saying, but make sure you keep your sessions short and positive and fun.
You asked:I use "Steady", "with me" and "let's go" for relaxed walking.Oh and does anyone have a word they use for 'walk beside me/by my side', as opposed to 'heel', as i've been told 'heel' is mainly for more advanced obedience/shows and stuff?