Like any puppy, Diesel is growing fast and he is well and truly a piece of furniture here already.
Our kids call him Puppy Diesel, which is funny because he is so big already, at last weigh in he was lean and approaching 20 kilos. That’s up there for about 15 weeks or so and when he stands eye to eye with our two year old daughter, Puppy Diesel is a laugh.
I wanted to update people on his growth and training, although he is our house dog or pet, he still of course needs to be trained and learn the life skills he will need to spend his life with us and a stand up K9Pro Member!
At one time or another we take our dogs swimming, it is great exercise and super fun for dogs, so couple weeks ago we took “Puppy Diesel” to the river to teach him how to swim!
First a little on his temperament that helps make training flow a little smoother than it can with some dogs. Diesel has very solid nerves, this was the number one attribute that he needed to have to join us. We do a lot with our dogs and I try and always start with dogs that have solid nerves that deal with life as it rolls out. He isn’t frightened of anything and tackles everything head on.
He has a good amount of useable prey, food and pack drive so he is easy to train and develop a reward system with, meaning we can pay him to learn and respond.
So with these temperament attributes taking him to learn to swim is a breeze, and 13 – 14 weeks is a great time for him to learn that water is cool and swimming is fun. We have a short video clip of his first swims here…
There is an importance of teaching dogs to swim forward not just stay above water, teaching this early stops that splashing and bobbing effect many dogs have when they swim, sort of like a partially orchestrated panic…
I like to teach our dogs that swimming is a mode of transport that can be rewarding at the other end, so you will see me on the other side of the river ready to reward him with a bite rag and game of tug.
Also it is important to monitor and control the amount of pressure the pup is under when I am walking away on my side of the river and the pup wants to come to me, too much fear of being left alone may drive the pup into the water towards you, but it can label the activity an anxious one. Not enough reward pressure means the pup may just blow you off and not enter the water.
Diesel does really well!
Earlier I mentioned “Life Skills”, what are these? They are the skills that he will need to deal with a variety of situations in his life and take in his stride. I class Life Skills to cover the following areas of raising a pup: –
Socialisation (or as we call it Nuetralisation)
I have very strong views on the “values” I want my dogs to place on other people, dogs and environments, after running so many behaviour consults and trying to solve problems such as obedience unreliability due to over socialisation, to fear phobias due to poor interaction in the social awareness periods, I want to assign very low, almost neutral values to these things my dogs might encounter.
This covers a reliable recall, sit, down, crate training, toilet training, house manners, a grooming regime and loose leash walking at a minimum.
This includes the development of a reward system we can use to motivate and train Diesel and communicate with him that can either totally alleviate the need for corrections in training or reduce that need greatly.
He has a very nice recall, one that I am really happy with that Alison has trained. He needs no sight or pre promise of food or toys to turn on the spot and recall away from up to a moderate level of distraction. His sits and downs are well shaped and he also throws those out under motivation only with only verbal cues.
He will stay in his crate as needed, up to all night without any toilet accidents or noise from him and goes into his crate on either entry to the house or on cue.
Most of all he gets on well with the whole family and our staff and has become a very loved and valuable family member, he is no slouch with his obedience and is quite the guard dog too, gentle with the kids and happy to hang out and chill too.