Back to day 1 now and Venom has met the family and K9 Pro crew that have come by for work related things.
The first place I start is to add a cue to going to the toilet as I mentioned, Venom will live with me closely and he needs to be clean. So I am keen to get his toilet regime sorted. Pups will pee after rest, it isn’t difficult to set a regime of every time he comes out of the puppy pen or crate, he is taken outside to toilet. I don’t play with him or address him at all, but simply and calmly give his toilet cue.
When he goes I give stable praise until he is done, then I do what ever else I want with him after that. For solids it is a little different, some pups go straight after they eat, others an hour after meals, Venom is the latter. So with this knowledge in mind, it is quite easy to toilet train him. I set my phone for every two hours and take him out, I limit his liquid intake after 8 pm and he can hold the whole night by 8 weeks. No mess in crate at all.
When it comes to feeding I take this task on a little different to most, all Venom’s food intake is done in training, he works for everything he gets. This is a hassle, it is inconvenient to say the least, but the speed at which your pup bonds to you and learns to engage with you is nothing short of amazing. No food in the bowl, all from my hand and all for something he has done. What I feed him is here
I have taken Venom a bunch of new places, each time playing it safe with a puppy line attached to him, not once though have I needed to restrain or use it to recall him. He is very focused on me and has a super recall by the end of day 1.
I don’t advise every puppy client I have to do this, as I said it isn’t easy, but it is really a super way to teach engagement. Some will just ratio this out by not feeding on weekends etc in a bowl and hand feeding for work on weekends
Some will skip this section, all together.
I make use of verbal markers to begin teaching communication, I try steer away from over luring things as the more you lure the harder it is to stop. I start training the recall by capturing him coming to me naturally, by marking him and rewarding him with food that he didn’t know I had.
Once he starts to pay obvious attention to me as he wants the reward, I do a few restrained recalls to get his drive for the recall up, this of course still finishes with a mark and reward.
The harness allows me to lift him up, restrain him without teaching pulling habits, I have also fitted him with a K9 Pro Martingale collar to get him used to wearing a collar, he will be dragging a short leash on it soon.
It’s hard to cover everything I do with a new pup and it’s purpose, some times the things I do these days are more habit than planned. For example I carry pups on my shoulder a lot, I want them to learn to relax in my arms before they are too big to restrain. I pretend to trim their nails every day and do trim them when they are long enough as well as brushing them and teaching them to be still for brushing. I think these grooming activities are good bonding opportunities.