Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Nike Starts Puppy Preschool
Trainers evaluate dogs from that very first introduction forward. My immediate impressions of Nike: calm, alert, healthy, and bonded to her owner. She follows Elena around the house, usually plunking at or on her feet when she stops walking. Nike exhibited the typically puppy/herding dog trait of nipping at Donnie's feet and ankles as he walks from room to room. When the puppy urinated on the carpet, Elena's response was perfect. She ignored the accident and cleaned up with odor neutralizer. Nike has a wonderful recall for one so young. I suggested a recall game or two to reinforce that behavior. Although the pup knows how to sit on cue, part of week one's homework is to occasionally ask for a sit several times in a row (sit, walk a few steps, sit, etc.). Ultimately we want our dogs to do whatever we ask, as many times as we ask. I suggested the "bell on the door" as a way for Nike to tell her humans when she needs to go outside to go potty. Also included in week one are the handouts "nothing in life is free", "teaching Fido self control", and phase one of "walking the dog - teach your dog to follow off-leash". Yes, I ask a lot of my puppy parents. Why? Because we have a window of opportunity that will close very soon. Around 16 weeks, puppies change. Their dependence on their humans lessens. They still love their people, but they can throw caution to the wind at this age. The more solid their obedience skills going into this phase, the better. I'm signing off for now. Visit the Brown Dog Tales blog again soon for updates on Nike and to meet other dogs I know and love.