Welcome to your Puppy Socialization class! This course is designed for puppies between 8 and 16 weeks of age. In this class, we focus on the critical period of your new puppies life and how having a positive association to everyday encounters can set you and your puppy up for success in the years to come. During the next few weeks, you will learn how to create a safe environment for your puppy to explore, learn and adjust to the world. In the next six weeks, your puppy will be exposed to other dogs, routine handling, new environments and new people. In addition to proper socialization, your puppy will also be introduced to basic cues like “come”, “sit”, and “down”. The following information is laid out in a week-by-week basis, but remember that with open enrollment they may not be in the exact order that you’ve started with the program. In addition to the class schedule, there is a list of take home suggestions to keep practicing at home.
Our Training Philosophy
There are many training methods that reap successful results; however, we, at Elbe Academy, believe that positive, reward based methods are the way to go! For dogs and humans alike, behaviors that are rewarded will be repeated. In addition to training new skills, reward based training helps strengthen the bond between the dog and its owner. We believe this method creates a solid, positive association that creates a safe and lasting relationship. Reward based training is not only just as effective, but more efficient and holds significantly less negative side-effects. Our goal is to educate our pet owner to better understand their pets, that way there is clear commutation and progress in our everyday lives.
In our Puppy Socialization class, we will be focusing on routine puppy behavior, beginner cues and over all socialization. The most important aspect of this class is the exposure your new puppy will have to new places, people, objects and other dogs. By giving your dog a positive association to the world, you are setting them up for success later in life.
In the next few weeks, your puppy will learn:
- Their name and how to respond to it
- How to be handled by strangers
- How to properly greet and play with other dogs
- How to handle having their ears, paws and mouths touched and maneuvered
- To “Come’ when called (recall)
- To “Sit” on cue
- To “Down” on cue
In addition to these skills, we will also discuss the following topics in class:
- House breaking and crate training
- Mouthing and Puppy Biting
- Excessive barking
What to Bring to Class
For our puppy basic class, you will need to bring the following:
- A hungry dog – We recommend not feeding your pup prior to their training session. This helps the dog stay focused, and makes your food based rewards much more worth it!
- A flat collar or harness.
- A 4 of 6ft. leash. Please no retractable leashes
- A variety of high value, small training treats
- A treat pouch
- Poop bags
- A bowl for water breaks
Tips for Training at Home
There are a few things to remember taking the skills learned in class and generalizing them to your home environment.
The first thing to remember when training at home is that your training sessions should be short and precise. You dog will learn and retain more information if you train a few times a day for a few minutes at a time.
Another good rule to transition your training at home is to remember that “nothing is free”. Before feeding, you can take a handful of your dog’s dinner and ask the dog to sit, down or any other you may be working on. You can ask your dog to sit and wait before exiting the house, or before putting on their leash to go outside. You may be surprised at how quickly your dog learns to respond to these cues!
The last thing to remember is to relax and have fun! Training is a process, and by becoming frustrated, irritated or impatient you will do more harm than good. If you keep a positive, happy demeanor, so will your dog, and you’ll both have a great time!
Using a Marker Word or Clicker
A verbal or audible marker is a sound that allows your dog to understand the exact behavior (what they’re doing at the time of the sound) that is being desired. Often times, verbal markers are used in a short, high pitched manor to be quick and precise. These markers can be anything from “Yes!” to a unique sound.
A clicker is used in the exact same manner. Prior to training with a clicker, you must allow your dog to associate the clicker with wonderful things. This is called “charging your clicker”. The most important rule to remember when beginning clicker training is that every time you click, you treat. Click, treat. Click, treat. This gives the clicker the association it need to be effective. To load the clicker, you are simply going to start associating the sound to food. You can do this is small sessions throughout the day. Simply click, and throw a treat. Repeat this over and over, and it will not take long until the sound of the click anticipates the treat for the dog!
Using the Push-Drop-Stick Method
The Push-Drop-Stick method is a good way to gauge your dog’s readiness to increase difficulty when learning new behaviors. This method consists of doing five repetitions of the behavior that is still being learned, and then deciding to increase, decrease or keep the difficulty they same depending on the outcome.
Push–go on to the next level of difficulty
Drop–drop back down to the previous level of difficulty
Stick–stay at the current level of difficulty and do more repetitions
|How Many Did He Get Right
Out of Five Repetitions?
|Push||Five out of five
|Make it Harder.||He’s proven himself to be proficient at the current level.|
|Drop||Zero, one or two out of five||Make it Easier.||He’s about to quit—this level is too hard for him right now.|
|Stick||Three or four out of five||Do another set of five as this level of difficulty.||He doesn’t need to drop but he’s not quite ready for a push.|