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I was watching Leerburg's "Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months" DVD and he said that he only works on sit, down, and come with young puppies until they reach 4 months of age. Does anyone know why he would recommend this? Obviously I keep all obedience positive and correction free with puppies, but I dont know why he recommends not even working on stay until they reach 4 months? Does anyone else agree with this? Why or why not?

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Puppies that young don't have the attention span and impulse control to work on stay. Plus, rather than teaching the stay command, you are better off using a release command such as "free." This way you can incrementally move away from your pup during a sit or down and free them. As time goes on, you take a few steps away while the pup is sitting and then walk back and reward with food. I don't think enough people appreciate the amount of repetitions that are required to get proficiency, so you have plenty you can work on without trying to teach too many new behaviors.
 

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Engagement. luring. I would not expect much but they catch on quick. Do what Chip describes.



Mine is 5 months and we have heeling, sit, down, stand, send outs, impulse control, backing up, dumbbell retrieve and just started an about turn. It's all started and progressing and all done with luring and shaping.



Keep it fun and make it all a game. For instance, the about turn. All I care about at this point is that it's tight. I'm not moving forward, just turning and luring her around so she sees the position and her reward line is tight to my body. I have 1 1/2 years to add the forward heeling motion.
 

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I have said before that I disagree with training for puppies.
It is not uncommon for pups to pull a "brain dump" somewhere between 6 months and a year, which effectively undoes any training done previously or at least makes it null and void for a while. In reality they are simply testing and learning but the effect is the same.
My start was with horses and I saw repeatedly the impact that hard training had on young horses both mentally and physically. Horses that train young have lower lifespans, more injuries and slower recoveries in my experience. They also resist new behaviors as they age and display more OCD behaviors. All because the foundation and groundwork is improperly laid.
It has been my experience that dogs and children are much the same.
I did not teach my son advanced mathematics at two years old, I don't teach puppies hard obedience at a few months.
I step by step lay a foundation that enables them to learn later. I work on the simple concepts of trust and engagement. I teach them to trust me and themselves, I let them learn by experience and explore their world. Come is a game, sit nets rewards. Later that proves useful. And a solid sit covers a multitude of sins, because a sitting dog can't jump, bolt, chew, nip, etc. So if that one command is highly valuable in a dogs eyes because as a baby it always netted a reward, treats, cuddles, praise, play, etc, then I have created a rule of compliance and calm being beneficial to the dog. Come is a game so later when I need it I get an enthusiastic and energetic recall because it was always fun.
 

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I think the key word here is "game". There shouldn't be pressure or corrections. The most a correction should be is withholding the reward if the break before you want or if you are shaping and you want something higher than the previous rep. But everything should be short and it should have a release. If I ask my puppy to sit, I will throw the food for her to chase to release her. Games and shaping that set the foundation while allowing them to mature mentally and physically.
 

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You are teaching the young pup how to learn and using only positive reinforcement at an early age, so it is a game and not stressful to the pup. The very first thing I did was introduce my pup to indirect learning using a place box. If the pup moved near the box, I marked the behavior and he got a reinforcer of food. You keep doing that until the pup eventually figures out if he gets into the box, he gets a reinforce of food and you can progress from there. There is no luring. The pup figures things out for himself indirectly, which imprints the pup with learning how to learn.
 

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I shape the box and perchwork that way as well but I also lure. Shaping is so important. It teaches the puppy how to think and problem solve. If all you do is lure then they never have to think. But you can use a combination. For instance, teaching the fuss position. I lured and lured and lured, then I dropped the lure keeping my hand in the reward position and asked for a fuss. She looked at me for several seconds and then jumped into position. That comes from other exercises that were shaped and taught her how to problem solve.
 

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I was watching Leerburg's "Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months" DVD and he said that he only works on sit, down, and come with young puppies until they reach 4 months of age. Does anyone know why he would recommend this? Obviously I keep all obedience positive and correction free with puppies, but I dont know why he recommends not even working on stay until they reach 4 months? Does anyone else agree with this? Why or why not?

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I think the main reason Leerburg and many others recommend postponing "training" is because people tend to take that too seriously! They want a schedule and often ask how long should a training period be... Then they fully expect said puppy to be on board with that, when said puppy couldn't care less. Or even worse, said puppy decides that these pesky training sessions are no fun at all!

Virtually EVERYTHING you do with your puppy IS training! As everyone else has pointed out, training should be a game and great fun! But, IMHO, it's also good to develop a complete dialog with even a small puppy, meaning a quiet negative marker, "no or nope" or "eh eh" for example, said quietly and calmly is just as important for steering as praise. Just keep it light and fun and keep sessions short with lots of play and adventure!

What and how you teach different things is for many people dependant on what your long term expectations or goals are for your dog. Pet obedience usually doesn't require a place box or perchwork (these lay the groundwork for more formal obedience than pet owners are typically concerned with), but the concept is the same. Begin shaping behaviors using treats and praise, and have fun!
 

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I start training right away. But what I call "training" is what Jax & Chip describe - lots of luring, shaping, capturing and marking behaviors, using food and play. I do impulse control games, lots of reinforcing eye contact. There's no reason you'd need to wait until 4 months old to do any of that, as long as your sessions are short and fun, keeping in mind the short attention span of young puppies. The more I can reinforce what I want from an early age, the better.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Puppies that young don't have the attention span and impulse control to work on stay. Plus, rather than teaching the stay command, you are better off using a release command such as "free." This way you can incrementally move away from your pup during a sit or down and free them. As time goes on, you take a few steps away while the pup is sitting and then walk back and reward with food. I don't think enough people appreciate the amount of repetitions that are required to get proficiency, so you have plenty you can work on without trying to teach too many new behaviors.
That is how I train sit and down stay, with the implied stay :)



With my past dogs, I always just kept everything happy and positive when I first started training them as puppies, but if they progressed quickly, then I went with that progression. I was wondering why, if the pup does catch on to the training quickly, would I limit her and just go nope okay we have to stop here until you get older? Lol. So as long as I do that and dont introduce any corrections, I should be good and not screw up the pup or the training? Lol. Sounds like I should be able to start foundation work and luring for the heel and such, just make sure to keep everything upbeat and correction free?


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You can start foundation if you know what you are doing. Doing the wrong foundation will cause more problems. At this age, you goal should be to get the puppy to follow and push in to your hand more than actual heeling.
 

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It looks like most of us agree. No hard training for little pups. Just let them see what brings them success. Discourage them from shredding your arms and legs. Encourage them to relax in their crates if you use one. Learn that being close to you is a good thing. Basic survival things. Keep expectations realistic.
 

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Puppy brains are mush. Just imagine them like a lump of clay. It doesn't have any form, and you don't get to a Michelangelo masterpiece right away. First you have to figure out the general shape of the thing. You mush and press gently until you have a base. Then you press harder and get a vague human shape. Then you work through the details, each area at a time, one layer at a time. Head, eye sockets, fingers, toes. Then the actual eyes, lips, toenails. One layer of details at a time so you can step back and make sure the sculpture continues to look like a person.

That's training puppies. You gotta shape the foundation first. What does following any direction of any kind mean? What does making you happy look like? What does your tone mean? What are you doing with your body, flailing about like that? What is that tasty thing in your hand and how do I get it? What is sitting? What is the act of sitting? What does the word "Sit" mean?

And so on and so on until you get down to precise details like, "I want you to jump on that stump, sit on it, then raise your paw while looking noble."
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Are you training a focused heel and planning to compete?
Yes, I am

So if the pup does really well with sit and down, I'm not gonna screw her up by starting to work on an easy implied stay, obviously starting with having her hold the sit or down for a second, then slowly progressing as she learns? That's the main thing I wanted to know haha. I just thought it was weird to not progress if the pup shows that she's doing well and can progress in the training.
 

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When you're luring through positions, the point where you pause and they hold that position before releasing for the treat is the first step towards a stay. Its brief and pretty subtle, but its a first step to holding a position/stay until released. Even later, the important part is the release. 2 seconds, but no moving until you say so is what you build on. If you can, watch Ivan's Treat Chasing video. Its a great foundation and will give you a plan to work with from the luring all the way through play and obedience for sport.
 

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When you're luring through positions, the point where you pause and they hold that position before releasing for the treat is the first step towards a stay. Its brief and pretty subtle, but its a first step to holding a position/stay until released. Even later, the important part is the release. 2 seconds, but no moving until you say so is what you build on. If you can, watch Ivan's Treat Chasing video. Its a great foundation and will give you a plan to work with from the luring all the way through play and obedience for sport.
Thank you! Can I find that on youtube?

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