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At what age is training approprate?

1856 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  scannergirl
Angel is 8 weeks old, and pretty small (7.5#)
She has been home with us for 3 days. I have of course started with NO and PEEPEE.... but at what age should I start training (Such as come sit stay ... basic obiedience)
She seems to be learning so quickly....
I also have a Chocolate lab, who she really likes to nip at, but NO BITE seems to be starting to sink in.
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Congrats on your new puppy. I just saw her pictures and she is adorable!

I would start teaching the basic obedience stuff one at a time. They are just little babies at that time so you don't want to pressure them too much. So, perhaps a few 5 minute sessions a day. Also, when they are young, only use positive reinforcement when training them, like yummy treats. There should not be any negative consequences for not learning.

With the nipping, redirection works very well. We always gave Elmo a bone or another toy when he would be nipping or chewing on something he wasn't supposed to. He learned very quickly what was acceptable to chew and what wasn't. Although he was not chewing on a lab.

Good luck!
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Thanks for the advice! I have definately been using distraction! It has been so long since I have had a baby in the house that I forgot alot. Some is coming back... I am reading a lot, but sometimes that too can get confusing, as everyone has different methods. I think we are doing VERY well, Angel is quick to get concepts.
I just wish the lab would make some sort of noise (growl) when she does something he doesnt like (he will go from quietly showing teeth to a bite and I really need to avoid that!) Its pretty scarey as I have to be totally on top of them when they are together.
No problem. Enjoy every moment while Angel is little and takes lots of pictures because they grow up way too fast.

Someone else may have some advice about your pup getting along with your lab. I think it may end up being something that they will work out between themselves to determine who is the alpha. But, continue doing what you are doing by stepping in when things get rough.
You can begin anytime-- and the sooner the better! By 11 weeks, my puppy had Down, Sit, and Come. Not perfectly every time! But, it was just plain fun. We used a treat in the beginning. A few months later, we used toys as reward. All positive, all fun. Your puppy's little brain is growing! You can set these commands early for her. Have fun!

Oh, yes-- a book called "My Smart Puppy" by Brian Killcommons and Sarah Wilson was a HUGE help to me!
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There's another thread about this topic HERE
The day my puppy (now 11 weeks old) came home, was the day we started training. My pockets were always loaded with tiny treats (about the size of a Cheerio), and we just worked on commands throughout the day. A sit here, a down there. We worked on Come a lot, but in little bits. I'd run; she'd run after me; I'd gleefully proclaim her name (learning her name is a big training goal), then the word Come. When she got to me, she got her treat and a wonderful rub down.

Within a few days, she had Down, Come and Sit pretty well down. Then she figured that if she Came and Sat right in front of me together, I would be really impressed and the treat was twice as good. We're working on Wait (which will become a hard Stay over time). She's learning to Shake. And since she likes to bark a staccato bark when she gets excited, I'm working that into a nice Speak.

Uh-uh (actually a fast unemotional uh-uh-uh-uh!) means stop what you're doing and look at me. And "Leave Zamboni" (my older dog) means go find Camper (I"ll call him over) and play with him instead, or find something more constructive to do (I'll offer a toy, or I'll take off running so she can chase me), or play time is over. She's still working on that command. But she's getting it faster than you might think. Time outs often work well with rambunctious puppies!

I try hard not to even use the word No with puppies. We fall into that trap early. Then everything becomes No, and puppy doesn't know what she CAN do. (One of my trainers once explained it this way: if you walk into a room, and every time you tried to sit somewhere, the host said, "Don't sit there." But they never said where you could sit, you'd get really frustrated, right?) So, our job, as "host" to our new family member is to show them what IS acceptable behavior, not to constantly tell them what they should not be doing. Make sense?

One more thing. Watch your lab closely. Is your lab really well socialized? If your lab is well socialized (and not older and/or in pain), it's *possible* that your lab isn't "biting". My GSD will literally take my puppy's head into her mouth. The whole head. They kind of look like the old circus "now watch me put my head into the lion's mouth" act. It's terrifying to watch. But his mouth is so soft and she is not afraid. He is not being aggressive. It's what they do. When she finally antagonizes him to the point that he's really bugged, he'll do the same thing (as she rolls on her back in submission), but he's still not biting her. He's just making a point about dominance, and her role at the bottom of the pack.

I guess the question is, what's your role in the pack? Are you the unquestioned leader? If not, start NILIF now. (You can do a search of that term on this forum for lots of details). It's a great way to manage one dog, much less a pack of them. If you are, then your lab likely accepts your bringing in this annoying puppy. Does he, overall, like the puppy? If so, he's handling the puppy, when she gets annoying, his way. Yes, you absolutely need to stay on top of them. But watch and learn. Dogs communicate in mysterious and wonderful ways. My older dog sounds like she's going to rip the puppy's head off when the pup bugs her. But she's gentle with them, her tail is wagging, and well, I've brought home enough pups and young dogs to Zamboni that I know this is just a game she likes to play. She's the alpha and she likes to make sure the kids don't get too rough. They learn how to be polite dogs from her.

So while I'm training Sits and Downs, she's training even more important social skills. I couldn't raise young dogs without her!
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Congrats on the new pup! She's a cutie!

I brought Falken home at about 10-1/2 weeks and like the other posters, started training immediately. Just introducing the words and rewarding good behavior are a good start. They are really smart and will catch on quickly as long as you are consistent. We started puppy class 2 weeks ago and this is a big help with socializing and getting started on formal training. I'm in CT too, in Oxford. If you're anywhere nearby I'd be happy to give you the info on the classes we're in.

Oh, also, I have a 2 year old GSD and they play well together but the size difference is a concern and I keep a close eye on them when they are playing. Roxie will bear her teeth and take his head (and other body parts lol) into her mouth but is very gentle with him. Occasionally she will have to correct him since he thinks he is the boss but when they get too rowdy I use "take it easy" or "settle down" commands to calm them down or separate them for a little while to catch their breath.

Best of luck!
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Start ASAP on training him. Start slowly at first. His attention span is very short. The NILIF training does wonders. It helps him focus on your demands, versus just having what he wants. Use it for feeding time, his toys, etc. It builds up respect from both aspects.
you are "training" your puppy as soon as you start interacting with it, so the real question is when do you start paying attention to what/how you are training your puppy? (right away! get a head start!)
Just don't expect Angel to be perfect every time and be patient. Training is a fun way of interacting with your pup and forging your relationship. Helo is now 13 weeks old and we have had him for 4 weeks now. We do a little work each day on walking, sit, down, come, leave it, etc. Keep the sessions short because their attention span is short right now.. arrange it so Angel can be successful so the training will be fun.
Here is were you can be in two weeks if you use positive reinforcement & redirection to toys for the nipping, never use NO with a young pup!!

Fluffy Obedience Video

Good Luck, keep it fun!!
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that video of fluffy is awesome.what a happy puppy!
My Nikkia's breeder trains Police dogs actually 5 out of 8 of her brothers and sisters were purchased by the force. She told me that I should teach her everything I wanted her to know for life before her 4th month so she knew sit, down, heel, stay, come, and quiet before that forth month now we have been able to build off of that and she can do them in English and German with and without hand signals or with signals alone. Just be sure to take it slowly because training should always be upbeat and fun!
As far as how soon you should star training your pup, you can start anytime. Obviously you would start with basic commands, such as sit, come, down, stay, and manners, such as No Bite and potty training and crate training. Then as the pup gets older and has mastered most all of these commands, then you start working on harder commands, some that take more concentration from the pup.

To get your pup and your older dog to get along, I would not let them sort this out on their own. I have two male GSD pups as you can see from my signature. The way we do things is we set Apollo as the beta in our pack, with people being the Alpha. Apollo is over Zeus, and therefore gets fed first, attention first, trained first, etc... Zeus the baby is below Apollo, and is understanding his rank in the pack. We do this so Apollo won't get jealous or mad. Because of everything we have done to ensure this, Apollo and Zeus absolutely ADORE one another. Do they playfight and try to dominate each other? Yes, of coarse they do, they're dogs, and pups, and who knows, Apollo doesn't have a dominate nature, Zeus may end up being the dominate dog, but for now, we supervise their play time to ensure no one gerts hurt accidentally.

So in summary, don't let them work it out themselves, set up special privileges for your older dog so it doesn't feel left out or jealous because of the new puppy. If playtime gets rough, or one tries to bite the other, put them in a time out(sit or down - stay in one spot) or crate them til they settle down, and then give them another chance. When they play nicely, or even just lay down together in peace, reward the older dog with praise and treats.
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3K9Mom- that post was great!
I LOVE Fluffy! What a great little pupster!
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