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My puppy, Loki, is just over four months old. I feel he is doing good in a lot of ways but I am worried about missing certain deadlines of when he should have mastered what.:confused: I am training him myself and wonder if I am doing well enough that I don't have to invest in classes.:apple:

The good:

Does all the basic commands. (Sit, stay (to the moon and back:D), lay down, shake, speak.)

He will wait to eat his food until I say eat.:cool: (The bowl is always at his feet.)

He is OKAY on the leash.

He is great off leash on trails. He sticks within 10 ft at all times.

He is well socialized. He loves all people and other dogs. He will not jump on adults.

If we take him to a fair, he is well behaved and usually just sits at our feet.

The bad:

He is a bit sassy these days. If I say no, it just seems like he throws a mini tantrum. Like yapping back at me and getting snippy. Its kinda cute, but I definitely don't encourage it.:rolleyes:

On the leash he pulls like 30% of the time.

He has started being weird about cars. Like doing a semi jump after them when they go by. I have been tugging the leash sideways like Cesar Milan does, and it makes him do it a little less.

He chases kids. My friends kid, he runs and screams from him playing (bad on his part), but loki will try to herd him and catch him and so he nips at his shirt and pants....but he accidentally nipped his back the other day. I know it was not his intention, but it left a little pinch bruise on the boy. I dont know how to fix this, as the boy wont help himself, and loki doesn't do it to me.:help:

Loki also has become rather protective. We have an adult shepherd that stays with us every now and then, and he will bark at the window to people in the street, and bark if there is someone at the door, and I think loki learned it from him. We want loki to be a guard dog...but we don't know if we should discourage his barking or not. Ive heard in puppies it is them being scared and you should calm them.:( His hackles go up, and it isnt always just barking at the door or window. It is if there is a strange noise downstairs at night too. Which...I must say I am glad that if there were an intruder, they would probably leave because of that. Loki sounds pretty mean for his age.:p
 

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Wow, you sure have taught Loki a lot and he is only 4 months old. Since Loki does so well on the sit, you may want to use that when a car goes by - or just turn suddenly in another direction so he has to follow you. For the kids, it would be better when they are running, that you have Loki with you or confined behind a baby gate or in his crate, so he can't chase and nip them. For the barking - you may want to work on teaching him speak then quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks

Yea I never thought about the quiet command. Usually if I am right there when he is barking and I say "HEY!" He will quit for a second then continue later, so maybe that is what I need.

About the children though, I don't want him to be a big dog, and still not trustworthy around children. I'd rather fix him now while he is little and it isn't dangerous....does anyone have any suggestions? Like some easy way the kid could fend for himself without having to stand and face the dog? The boy gets shy and a little scared.
 

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Impulse control is a good skill to teach, have you seen the youtube video "It's Yer Choice?"

"It's Yer Choice" - YouTube

For the barking, teach the alert. I like an alert as I might not always know someone is at the door but since we live in a townhouse I want a one bark alert then silence. If someone rings the door Delgado runs to the door and barks once, then he comes running back to me and sits quietly, I use "what is it" as his release command and he leads me to the door quietly and sits beside the door as I open it. It started when I saw the pattern Delgado was using when someone came to our door and I shaped it to match what I wanted. If you use a clicker or marker word, it's pretty easy. I would use a leash and stand a few feet away in front of the door, have someone knock on the door which should elicit a bark. You're may have to be super quick but allow one bark and then mark the behaviour immediately (hopefully before any movement towards the door which is what the leash prohibits) and reward. Then when he's quiet use a release command like my "what is it" and walk up and open the door. Repeat a few more times then repeat again later until it becomes second nature, you can keep a bag of treats by the door to reward the dog for leading you to the door.

The dog realizes that not only is it doing its job of protecting the household and alerting but they gets paid for it when done a certain way! It's a win/win situation for both canine and human :)

For the car chasing and also with the neighbours child I agree that teaching a counter command like sitting or a "leave it" command to help divert attention from the object. See if you can find a bench or grassy area near a somewhat busy road and relax there and wait for a car or for the child. Catch the behaviour before any reaction (I find watching the eyes and ears very useful) and have lots of treats ready to praise quiet watching. Once the dog realizes it gets rewards for being quiet and that's better than the barking or jumping it should hopefully slow down and even stop the unwanted behaviour. It might take a lot of practice but it's an important lesson

I like to focus training towards showing the dog what it should be doing rather then focusing on the negative. Shaping behaviours is pretty easy and the dog learns that while it may be fun to live it's life a certain way, there are certain behaviours we encourage which are much more rewarding!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks!

That was such an awesome reply! Thank You! And as for shaping, you are so right, that is the only thing loki really responds to the most! All of your advice was spot on! Thank you! Also your dog's name, delgado, so cool :).:p
 
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