The Puppy Project
A Real-Time Diary of Little Andre's Growth for the Benefit of Seeing How Our Head-Trainer, Shaun Tan Does It.
09 Jan 21 - Seven Day's Until The Puppy Handover
Thanks for tuning in.
I'm really looking forward to sharing Andre's training journey with you so that you can see what kind of obstacles I'll be facing, and how I go about getting over them.
I'm about 7 days out from bringing him home, and I'm really freekin' excited!
Here are some of the things I've bought so far in preparation:
✔️ Two Leather Tugs
I'll be using the tugs for play!
To generate great engagement while he's still a pup.
✔️ Tracking Lead
I'll be using a 10 meter lead for the IGP tracking which is a sport that I'm looking forward to digging into with Dre.
For me, this is an absolutely necessity! I can never believe how many people have such a negative misconception about crates when all you're really doing is creating a portable safe space for them. You feel safe in your room, don't you?
✔️ Puppy Collar
This is just your regular puppy collar.
I'll be updating this diary whenever I think of something important to tell you.
Thanks for tuning in for now.
Keep an eye on our facebook page, and I'll keep you up to date with my newest entries and important lessons.
My little Andre - 06 Jan 21
15 Jan 21 - The Puppy Handover.
Today's the day!
I finally get to take the little Andre home with me.
As you might already know...
At home, I have another German Shepherd called Rampage.
Rampage is my best bud as you can see!
But it'll be interesting to see how he reacts when I come home with Andre today.
Me and Rampage Chilling - 31 Jun 19
Rule #1 of Puppy Owning: If There's Risk--Never Assume.
As predictable as we believe our dogs to be, it's always a better idea to tread with caution and implement management strategies.
"At time's, it's much more logical to consider management instead of training."
Here's a quick example:
You get a new puppy and they simply can't help themselves!
They're run in the backyard, you turn your back for a moment, and they can't help but dig, dig, and dig some more...
Now, every time without a doubt--you know your puppy wants to dig, and has created an unwanted habit from it.
You now have two options: Training or Management.
The problem with choosing to train this behaviour away is that it's very time-consuming--and without actively and continuous management, that training your dog is likely to relapse into their previous "digging" behaviour.
Training = Time to Train + Time to Maintain.
Now, I don't know about you--but, in this particular scenario...
I'd choose management.
This is a simple option I would implement in these circumstances:
1. Obstacles and Barricades
Make it harder for your dog to achieve their desired unwanted habit.
I would place a small fence to stop the pup in their tracks, and only let them play in the back yard when supervised so that if I catch them digging...
I can give them an, "UH, UH! and stop the behaviour in it's tracks.
This isn't training. It's just management.
Hope you got some value out of this entry!
Integrating a Puppy Into a Home with a Grown Dog.
Coming Soon... (Once I do it of course)
20 Jan 21 - Training and Objectives
Hope you're off to a great start to your week.
I know I said that I was going to be covering the integration of Andre getting home and getting used to Rampage...
But Andre still needs a bit more time to get used to his new home.
This is what I'm concentrating on this week:
By introducing tracking to my puppy, I'm allowing him to tap into his natural instincts and find stimulation in objectives that comes naturally to him.
For myself personally, I'm working my way into IGP competition sport which consists of obedience, tracking and protection work!
Just in case you don't know, the difference between tracking and scent detection is that tracking is about getting your dog to follow a particular path based on factors like scent and broken ground.
Whereas scent detection is based on finding a specific scent that the dog has been trained to find.
✔️ Tug Play
This is a great, fun activity for relationship building, increasing engagement, as well as giving your dog the necessary outlet to serve them as stress relief!
Play with, and stimulate your dog...
Or let them rip apart your garden, shoes or couch?
For me, the option is clear.
In reality, tug play can become an even higher level of obedience, as your dog will be required to work when under an even higher state of distraction, than the usual.
✔️ Toilet Training
When it comes to toilet training at home, I've taken the more disciplined route which many new puppy owners probably won't like.
Why? Because it requires waking up from glorious sleep!
Every 2 to 3 hours, I take Andre out of his crate and to approximately the same area in the backyard to go to the toilet.
I even go as far as setting alarms and take him out, all the way through the night.
The reason why I do this is:
1. So that he doesn't "go" in his crate.
2. So that he gets used to "going" in his usual spot in the backyard.
3. So that it feels unusual for him to "go" in the house. At least enough for him to let me know that it's time to be taken to his spot outside.
If you don't manage your puppies toilet training--don't expect them to understand why "going" inside is bad! It's up to you to set the standard.
✔️ Obedience & Engagement
All of the obedience commands that Andre knows so far are NOT verbal.
I have taught him to complete each skill below, only by using the mechanics of my hand while feeding.
Vocal commands will be introduced once Andre is familiar with the movements.
The reason for this is because there's no point in saying the command over and over like I see all the time--if your puppy doesn't understand the movement.
Once he is familiar with the movement--I will then introduce vocal commands.
Here are the 3 training essentials I've been focusing on lately--and why.
1. Sit & Drop - These are the most basic movements that your dog will need to be taught in order to be able to complete intermediate and advanced training skills. (Basic)
2. Spin - Practising spins will improve your dogs' body mechanics, agility, and rear-end awareness. (Basic)
3. Recall - This is for the reliability of being able to call your dog back on command. There are many situations that will call for a good recall. (Basic)
Learning and teaching the essentials will help your dog move.
Picture these basic essentials as the gymnastics your dog need to tap into a higher and healthier level of obedience.
✔️ Crate Training
Thanks to Ryan and Becca, Andre has been crate trained since he was just a weee little pup!
But here are some of the things they did to get all 6 puppies familiar and trained within their crates...
- They fed them meals within their crate and rewarded the behaviour with more.
- They made their crates a comfortable place to sleep and relax.
- They put them in their crates to feel safe whenever they felt scared or anxious.
All in all, crate training is something we view as an absolute necessity!
Crates are portable, they combat anxiety, act as a safe space, and can be used to combat unwanted habits like jumping on visitors.
So, why not?
These are the basics that I'm starting off with.
Andre Having a Play- 15 Jan 21
Every week I'll be building off these foundational lessons and increase Andre's awareness and intelligence through bonding and training.
Thank you for tuning once again dog owner amigos! I look forward to keeping you updated.
Andre Fighting for the Tug - 15 Jan 21
26 Jan 21 - Further Training
This weeks objective has been a lot less intense . .
It's been a lot more about maintaining and building on what I have already taught him.
To summarise, so far, this is what I've been training:
✔️ Tracking | Tug Play | Toilet Training | Obedience & Engagement | Crate Training.
If you haven't yet read my last entry, I've added quite a bit of information regarding each of the skills above if you're interested.
And remember, I'm doing this for your benefit.
So, please don't hesitate to ask as many questions as you'd like on our Facebook post's so that I can add them here and help other people who are having the same problems as you.
The one thing that I have introduced this last week has been "Touch-points".
Which ties in with last week's "✔️ Obedience & Engagement"
Touch-points are small physical cue's that tie in with specific commands.
You want your dog to sit? Tap on their lower rear-end.
You want your dog to lay down? Tap on their upper-shoulder.
Getting this technique down pat can make for a handy short-cut without having to vocalise your commands.
A technique like this is especially important if you're elderly and do not have the capacity to give consistent vocal commands to your dog . .
Or if you're in a wheelchair and would like your dog to sit at each traffic light.
Touch-points make your training more reliable.
Because body language over-rides verbal.
If your dog is watching another dog that has captured their complete attention, they are likely to become distracted and ignore your command. (unless you've been training for some time.)
It's much more reliable to expect your dog to pay attention when you add a touch-point cue to your command.
For ease of understanding, here's a video I just recorded for you to watch!
Andre's ears up! (first time) - 23 Jan 21
First of all . .
I'd just like to add a quick photo of Andre's first time putting both his ear up!
As a community, we can always do with more puppy pics, right?
I hope you enjoyed the video, and that it clarifies some of the things that may have been unsure about.
Keep in mind that I practise what I preach.
Which means that I'm following the Ozdog Training Program step by step, in the same way that I teach my clients to.
If you'd like to train with me, feel free to click the button below!
Thanks for tuning in once again.
04 Feb 21 - The Introduction
It feels like the weeks pass faster and faster!
Can you believe we're already in February?
I've had Andre for about a month now, and can't believe how big he's grown already.
He's already become so instinctive with his training and I think it'd the best part of his day.
Getting Bigger Every Day - 03 Feb 21
As promised, I wanted to give you insight into how I've gone about introducing Andre into his new home without overstepping his new older brother, Rampage's boundaries.
Here are two ways you can get dogs' used to each-other with minimal risk.
1. Have them sleep next to each other.
This works great if both dogs' are crate trained as you can easily position both their crates next to each other without having to worry about any aggressive behaviour.
This allows them to get any tantrums out of the way, be close enough to smell each other, and get the general gist of where they stand.
2. Have them trained near each other.
Training alone takes away a lot of the normal issues you might've with a puppy.
All of a sudden they're not the devil incarnate anymore, because they have a purpose and an objective to complete. Somewhere to put all that pent up energy!
When dogs' train near each other, over time they get used to one another. They create a bond through a routine; one they both enjoy and love.
Want to see what the very beginning of that bond looks like?
We had a lot of fun making the video!
I hope that you enjoyed it and that you'll be tuning into my next entry.
08 Feb 21 - The Art of Learning
As you can tell from the pic, no matter how good you are at training puppies--or dogs' for that matter...
It's never going to be "easy".
There will always be obstacles to face!
But it's up to you to become the reliable alpha of your pack and manage problems.
Raising a Puppy Is Never "Easy" - 05 Feb 21
This week I want to talk about an incredibly important skill that not many people know about, let alone understand.
That skill is called, "Freeshaping".
AKA, the art of teaching your dog the process of learning! (which is the coolest thing since sliced bread if you ask me.)
The freeshaping process works by rewarding your dog after they complete a particular cue that you set.
It could be to putting their snout in their muzzle, fetching your morning paper, finding your keys, grabbing a beer from the fridge, pressing the button at the lights...
Freeshaping is only limited to your own creativity!
Reinforcing the behaviour you've set for them to learn, steers your dog into an "adaptive learning" mindset which massively increases their ability to problem solve.
Basically, they have to find the right key for the right door.
What does that help with?
Here's a video of Andre and me working at building this skill as a team.
Andre was absolutely knackered after this exercise!
As you can see, he caught onto putting his snout in the muzzle really quickly.
That's because it's an easy and clear objective for him to complete.
Every couple of days', I'll be ramping up the difficulty of the task and making it harder for him to figure out.
This is how the process of learning works.
He will only grow when he pushes his own limits!
I hope you enjoyed watching. And remember that if you'd like to learn this skill . .
I'm more than happy to teach you the techniques that dozens of my clients have used to tap into their dogs' "problem-solving brain!"
You can apply to train with me by clicking any one of the boxes below an entry.
17 Feb 21 - Environmental Exposure
Apart from continuously working on the skills, I've talked about so far...
Yesterday, the team put together a puppy challenge obstacle course for both Andre and his brother Moose to run through.
What does this fun activity help with?
Tongues Out Guns Out - 15 Feb 21
The #1 thing I wanted to get out of this activity was to increase Andre's adaptability, agility and most importantly--his confidence.
You don't want your dog to encounter situations after situation and think:
"What the hell is going on here!"
You want to expose your dog to different challenges so that the next time they encounter a new one, they can think back on the experiences you've helped them through...
And conquer it!
Just like Andre has in this obstacle course video:
I hope you've enjoyed today's entry.
The basic principle here is:
The more they experience, the more they're able to overcome.
26 Feb 21 - Running the Blinds
This week, I've concentrated on evolving his skills and adding a tougher exercise.
Due to all of the foundations we've worked on so far in past entry's, it didn't take him long at all to adapt to the task...
Bonding Time - 24 Feb 21
Here's a video of Andre "Running the Blinds".
If you came here through the Facebook post...
Here's the answer.
Thanks for tuning in every week.
I look forward to you reading my next entry!
04 Mar 21 - Environmental Exposure
Raising a puppy should always be about training in one way or another.
Every new situation or environment has potential to become a lesson; so why not make the most of it?
In this case, a fun day at the beach serves as much more than just a sunny day and a place to stretch our legs...
Beach Day - 27 Feb 21
It serves as a public place to reinforce your training once you're confident enough to do so! For example:
1. It will test your puppies ability to stay focused with an abundance of distractions.
Andre behaved just as I trained him to.
Even though it was his first time at the beach and everything was new...
He still impressed me with his ability to stay utterly focused.
If my puppy can do it, so can yours!
2. It will test your own ability to say no to all those infamous puppy patters.
Also as expected, there was no lack of people trying to pat him, and no lack of the phrase: "Sorry, he's in training."
You don't have to be rude. It doesn't have to be tough...
You just have to remember that you're training your dog to become a focused, educated, adaptable dog.
And if you really want that...
You've got to learn to say NO.
I know this wasn't a long one. And these things you probably already know...
But it's worth repeating, as so many dog owners don't use their trips to the beach as the amazing training opportunity that it is, but as a way to unfortunately take 10 steps backwards.
Remember: Your lead, your poop bags, your treats, and your training!
"Create the dog you want. Don't let distraction and others create it for you" - Shaun Tan
Thanks as always for tuning in.
12 Mar 21 - Food Drive
I truly believe there's no better training aid than food when training your dog.
Many of my clients say, "My dog isn't driven by food." And my response is always...
"It's not that your dog isn't food-driven, it's just they haven't develop their drive for food YET!"
About to sneeze - 10 Mar 21
As you can see in the video below, Andre's food drive is growing stronger and his ability to stay focused is too! Challenges in training create a robust dog.
PS. As you can see, this is how long an average session of ours goes for.
Less than 3 minutes most times.
Don't have time? Or haven't made it a priority?