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Correcting my puppy.
MemberJuly 21, 2021 at 10:21 PM
I have a 12 week old puppy and I have been trying to build structure and correct her early on whenever she doesn’t do a command when I say so, but I feel like it’s not working. It takes me having to say sit 5 times with corrections for her to do it and I feel like she’s not learning what no means. Even when I give her a little tug on the leash or move to try and trigger her prey drive she focuses on dogs and other stuff in the background. Should I just try and teach her in a less distracting environment and see if that will help.
MemberJuly 21, 2021 at 11:51 PM
Your pup is just a baby and way too young for corrections. Training has to be fun for pup and all you should be doing is shaping and luring into positions using an abundance of praise and treats. Corrections come much later when your dog knows the commands – then the choice is obey for praise / reward or disobey for correction.
MemberJuly 22, 2021 at 3:01 PM
At what age will she be old enough for corrections? Should I just stick with having a good recall stay and just work on the basic obedience stuff? Also do you have any tips for making her focus outside should I just try and train with her in a not very distracting environment.
MemberJuly 22, 2021 at 6:53 PM
Just from going over the chats and AMA this is what I gathered. The more pressure you put on a pup the more likely you are to squash his/her spirit. Depending on the temperament some may take more, some less. Training, like Rob said, is done through luring. From what I gathered, no corrections in training. Distractions come in much later — whether that is 6 months or more I do not recall. Likewise minimize the number of corrections by not letting the dog fail. The main tool for the pup not to get in trouble is the crate. This goes on for the first year. I’m not sure if there is a video that spells it all out. Perhaps in the puppy series?
MemberJuly 23, 2021 at 3:46 PM
At twelve weeks your pup is still a baby with no little to no attention span. At most, I would use a verbal correction like “oops” in a cheery and upbeat way. Or put the pup gently into the position you want if they don’t do it (provided you have adequately taught the command and the pup knows it). Then lavish with praise and treats!!Any correction beyond that is unfair to a small puppy in my opinion.
MemberJuly 24, 2021 at 7:26 AM
Not only does your puppy have a short attention span because she’s a young pup, she will sometimes stutter when performing behaviors because perfect compliance takes a while. When my puppy was that small I usually started each training sessions with basic luring before I asked her to do the behavior without the lure, specially when there were distractions around. This served as a reminder on how to do the behavior.
Basically, if your puppy is failing so much, it’s probably because she doesn’t fully understand what you’re asking and there are too many distractions. No need for corrections at this stage.
MemberJuly 24, 2021 at 11:52 AM
Hi @Omni Adding to the observations of others… your conclusion to move to less distracting environments is spot on. We proof behaviors in environments of escalating distractions in incremental levels so that as the dog exhibits the desired behavior/compliance/behavior(s) in no distraction situations – we move to one with some distraction, achieve observable success and continue with the escalation until the dog is “proofed” in a wide variety of environments with varying distractions. This contributes to confidence. If we find we progressed too fast for the dog’s exhibited response, we can just take a step back, reinforce and try again.
During the puppy years rather than a focus on “commands/behaviors” it is my opinion you want to use that time for imprinting, socialization, and intensifying the bond between puppy and owner/handler. Using this time in positive, interactive bonding you enhance the desire of the dog to be a member of the pack and perform for the alpha who is fair, firm, and consistent. Done successfully, you are more likely to end up with a dog that not only is willing to work for/with you, but one that lives to do it and is confident in itself. This is likely to result in a dog more attentive to your every action/request. When the bond is good but sometimes fraught with corrections which the dog cannot connect to not understanding what was expected, the leader becomes suspect and not consistent. When we repeat the same command multiple times with the intent to help them “learn it” – it is more probable that the dog is learning not to listen to the 1st command and waits for the handler to say it multiple times, or with more vocal emphasis.
This is a topic on which there is likely a wide variety of opinion and something no two trainers would completely agree on – and that’s what makes our work as trainers for our dogs so unique and Robert’s site so critical to sharing our experiences so we have a pool of opinion from which to draw.
Happy training and enjoy “puppy time.”
MemberJuly 24, 2021 at 6:45 PM
Hi Angel, just want to share this FAQ Robert did on Timeline if you haven’t seen it already. I don’t think any other trainer addresses this and it really helped me understand what my puppy needs and how to manage my expectations (and frustrations). I wish I had watched this earlier then I wouldn’t have been so hard on my puppy at the beginning. Hope it helps!
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