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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks for all the great advice everyone has provided on this forum. Pup and I are figuring out how to work together pretty well. We are trying no scheduled feedings. Pup has to earn his kibble. Four cups of puppy kibble is a lot of yummy treats.

This morning I have been wondering about how to help puppy 'change gears'. I am guessing I was spoiled with my last dog, we were in-tune, and it just happened. At least I don't remember doing anything special.

With the lab, we used to have to commands, 'go play' and 'settle.' 'Go play' meant he was able to go run around like he was crazy. 'Settle' meant to settle down to a more moderate level of energy.

How do you experts start teaching these concepts? At what age do you start?
 

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For my GSD, the magic trick was bully sticks. When I gave him one he would focus on the chew and lie down with it. In the morning, I would take him out to pee.Then feed him, after that I'd give him the bully stick, and give the command "settle". He would immediately lie down and chew away for 30 minutes or so.. After that out for a walk and a play.

After the walk and a good play, he would get another session with the bully stick accompanied with the "settle' command.
It wasn't long before he knew what the command meant. It brought a sense of calm to chaotic puppy hood.
 

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A regular routine helps as davewis posted.My puppies were crated for nap/rest at regular intervals.Potty,eat,potty,play,potty,nap.Over and over all day.
 

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Thanks, we have settled into a 2 hour cycle:
1. Potty.
2. Activity.
3. Nap.

The activity portion is something like a long leash explore/run around the yard, long leash explore on a neighborhood sidewalk, field trip via car to vets office, home depot, humane society, local people park(it is snowy and 32 degs in Wisconsin so we have the place to ourselves) or just an in house playing/training session.

Happily, I now use the crate for napping if Ole is nice and tired. He sleeps soundly and has built enough confidence that he will only be in there for a short time.... and the fun will start all over.
 

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You can make a game out of it: CU Seminar: Off-Switch Games

Also, mat work: https://www.clickertraining.com/node/3308

Both of these can be done with a dog or puppy of any age, just start slow and keep your expectations reasonable based on the attention span and developmental level of the pup. If you want to get more advanced once he's got the general concept, you can combine them - go to the mat and relax, then release for play, than back to the mat and relax. Rinse, repeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, this stuff is excellent.

The last time I had a puppy was in the 1980s. In small-town Wisconsin, the only available training classes involved forcing the dog into a position and yanking the choke chain if it moved. I only made it two sessions at that class before I decided to try to figure out a less punitive approach on my own. I think I was 12 at the time.

I am sure my mom knew that my pockets were often greasy from leftover chicken or pot-roast when we came back from playing in the yard. But she never said anything.
 
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