Fun time’s over. It’s puppy training time! From now on, stern discipline only! sorta…sometimes…dang it.
A friend of ours referred us to Alex who has trained many dogs and puppies, so we thought it would be a good idea to get going on the lessons early – not only to train Ellie, but to train us on how to train her…cuz really…we don’t know anything. All we have achieved the first week is to keep her alive, and got her used to her new digs. and also started her on a schedule of food and potty – which is really for our own sanity and care of our carpet/hardwood floors.
So here’s what we discovered about training a puppy: it is DAMN hard to follow through when your cute puppy stares at you and wags her tail because she is so happy to be with you. To force yourself to keep her away, and deny her of a treat etc is TOUGH.
Let me remind you of the cute furball:
and another – photo courtesy of our friend Tu My:
Riiiiggght…so back to discipline, sternness, and training.
Our first lesson is really to cover some basics – things that has already helped us greatly in getting her to obey and be calm.
Follow hand with treat. click. praise and treat.
Sit. command, click, praise and treat.
Down. command, click, praise and treat.
then the “Leave it!” command. that one is hard. though it is rather comical when Ellie gets it. You can literally see her little puppy brain processing the command and thinking about it. then she would growl, jump back, and basically wiggle in her desire to take/eat/chew whatever it is we are trying to have her “leave”. we need better practice with this one. I would say we are about 50% success rate right now with this command. but definitely the most useful one as she starts being braver by the day and teething to boot and wanting to grab/crawl/bite/chew many things.
This week Nick and I also took Ellie for her first walk around the block. Puppies don’t need or should go on long walks, so we figure for purpose of training her with a leash and walking, we would just do a short trip to the mailbox. Puppy was sooooo excited. Wouldn’t stop sniffing and exploring. Good thing is that since she is so distracted with her new surroundings, she doesn’t bite the leash (as she normally would when we practice in the backyard). She doesn’t care for cars -ignores them – bonus!; doesn’t care for birds – I think Ellie finds them puzzling as they sit up high on the tree branches and make chirp noises. And she gets praises from neighbours and people in cars stopped who think she is quite cute and good. Nick and I call her an actress. She would wag her tail real hard and rub up on these strangers. Definitely not a guard dog.
As the weather gets warmer, Nick and I look forward to more walks with our Ellie. Gives us many more opportunity to use the “leave it” command as we pass garbage, poo, and just random things left on the street. Have you really looked at what’s around your sidewalks/lawns?!