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Seek to Train Puppy Within 16 Weeks
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Kalidor has learned to sit in any environment, including around new people and other dogs. He also knows to sit for something he loves—like a snowball.
   
Saturday, June 1, 2024
 

BY FRAN JEWELL

Editor’s Note: Bellevue dog trainer Fran Jewell kept a diary while training her German shepherd Kalidor. Here is one excerpt:

Kalidor is now almost 16 weeks old and the critical imprinting time is just about over.  So far, he has learned to sit for petting, to come out of his crate and at all doors going in or coming out.

He knows how to “leave it” with food on the floor or in my hand.  He is not jumping on people.  He comes to his name even when he is playing with the other dogs.  He sits and does down.  He also watches me on command even in public.

I have had him out in public where there are no loose dogs I do not know, but have first checked with our veterinarian to be sure there is no parvo in the valley.  He has seen new places, friends’ homes and played for short periods with fair and gentle older dogs.

In the five weeks I have had him, he has only had two accidents in the house because I take him out frequently and always give him food when he goes outside. I never let him loose in the house unless I am right there watching him.  He is either in his exercise pen with a chew toy, or in his crate if I cannot be right there.

He knows the command, “Go Hurry Up” AND will go on a leash so he will relieve himself quickly when we travel or if I have to leave for work.

I have worked tirelessly on gentle restraint and let him know that squirming or biting does not let him go free. When he is quiet in my arms, he gets love and petting, but wild behavior gets nothing, certainly not getting down!  I want him to accept restraint when he goes to the vet without trauma or when I am trimming nails, etc.  When he goes in or out of his crate in the car, he must also be well behaved and sit before coming out.

I am not taking him places where he may meet dogs that are wild and out of control, nor places where he may meet dogs that I don’t know will be kind to puppies.  I don’t want him to become defensive aggressive or have any bad experiences with unknown dogs. That means, I don’t go any public place where other dogs are being walked off leash.

I take Kalidor to the vet just to get weighed and for the staff to give him treats so he likes going to the vet. He sits politely on the scale, too! While the veterinarian’s office is not a place to socialize with sick dogs, it is a place that I want him to trust the people there.  Before taking him in, I always check to see if there are loose dogs that could jump on him, dogs that have kennel cough or any other contagious disease. I make it a short, controlled and happy experience for him.

The first few weeks he has been my priority, but he now has a good foundation and is already a joy to live with!  He is not the headache so many puppies can be.  And, best of all, he will remain a joy to live with because he started out on the right paw!

Fran Jewell is a dog behavior consultant living in the Wood River Valley. Questions? Contact her at Positive Puppy Dog Training, LLC, at 208-721-7221.

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