How strict should you be with a WL puppy? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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How strict should you be with a WL puppy?

My girl is 10 weeks old now. She came home at 9 weeks, so we let her settle and get used to us for the first week - lots of engagement with us, learning her new environment (yard, different levels in the house, her crate, etc), and letting her adjust to her new schedule with us. Now that she's had that time, we've begun our official at-home obedience work.

I'm not so confused on how to train or what to train, but rather how strict I should be with her freedom and her play. Lots of blogs and training websites I've read essentially say to tether the dog to you and dictate their every move while in the house and keep energy low by not encouraging play in the house... in my head, that's just impossible for a young pup. When she wants to play, it has to be with us and with the toys we provide, but she's also a good self-entertainer and I feel that's important. We don't let her do zoomies in the house. We do dictate what she is and isn't allowed to chew on, and redirect when we need to.

As for the tethering, we do have a drag leash, but she instinctively follows me because she's still a pup. I reward it with praise, play, or a treat. She responds well to all three.

EDIT: Just to add quickly - she is beautifully crate trained. Doesn't cry and will settle in that, so that's not a concern.

With her being my first working line, I'm pretty convinced and okay with the fact I will screw something up. But the one thing I don't want is a dog who doesn't settle. Part of that is genetics, but the other part is on me. So what do you guys do? I've set my ground rules and expectations for her. Is there any key thing I'm missing?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 08:34 PM
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let pup be a pup.....I would do multiple 3-5 minute imprinting sessions.....focus and positions...daily.....housebreaking....I want well behaved house dogs as adults who can be trained in IPO, Obed, Agility or what ever....but good solid companions too!

Settling in the house is pretty genetic....you can mess it up, but more by lack of exposure IMO...wear pup out and they will settle in between spurts of energy

Lee

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome, thank you Lee. That's what I thought too... I don't mind her always being with me (in fact I prefer it), I just hate the idea of taking a good thing and making it a forced march.

She gets super tired after our short car rides and we let her run and be a pup in the yard. Our training sessions are currently about 3-5 times a day now and they last about 5-10 minutes because of how insanely focused and food driven she is.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 10:07 PM
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You might want to do a bit of reading and watching on the idea of using structured play to develop (over a long period of time) a healthy partnership bond. The idea of being super strict is a bit old school. My dutch is a dominant confident dog and the idea of super strict would have meant I would be fighting and lording over him. At its route it would have been adversarial and I was heading down that road. And it wasn't good. A trainer I found helped me restructure that. In the spirit of Ivan Balabanov and Michael Ellis and of course others the idea is to use structured play to develop a working relationship. You make it fun and super desirable to work with you. That is when you get the behaviors you want for the most part. You can find Ellis and Balabanov videos on you tube. Look for the ones on play and engagement.

Also, let her be a puppy. Most of the crazy she will out grow. She will blow it with your expectations sometimes... just calmly take her back to where you want her. You will miss the crazy sometimes. They don't do zoomies forever... I miss them. ha.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 10:11 PM
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I got my pup at 8 weeks and had her with me almost constantly from the beginning and still have her with me whenever possible, that's the way we both prefer it. Went on all car rides, chores around the house, even went to work sometimes. Started tracking very early, maybe 9 weeks. But other than that did not do any formal training untill 12-14 weeks, then started teaching sit, down, recall, using marker training with treats and praise.
Sounds like you are already doing a good job of raising her working on engagement. Dont worry so much about screwing things up, most dogs are pretty forgiving, there is no perfect way to raise a puppy, just try to be fair, consistent, and fun.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, that's what I thought too. She's very involved in most aspects of my life, and I took two weeks off work so we could spend time learning each other. I absolutely adore her and I can see her potential, it's just so neat. Never had a working line, just mixes or low drive show lines, so her intensity is crazy awesome to watch.

Definitely have subscribed to structured play and that's how we do things - I'm a bit obsessive and have a binder full of printed resources as well as training goals to keep in mind as we progress. I know not to expect anything too fast, but my girl certainly knows how to impress. Though I'm sure it'll all go out the window when she's hit with hormones later on, haha.

Thanks everyone. Nice to know we're on the right track. We'll be doing some scent pad work tomorrow... I love how pups start with their noses to the ground, so I'm working on reinforcing it as much as I can for IPO.
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