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:
Pic of Me & Little Dré - 06 JAN 21
✔️ 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.
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.
Pic of me and Rampy - 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.
Pic of me and Rampy - 31 JUN 19
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 weeeee 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.
Pic of me and Andre - 15 JUN 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.
Pic of me and Andre - 15 JUN 21