Tag Archives: puppy training

Recipe for a Cuddly Puppy

What you’ll need:

1 tired out puppy

5 cups of love

15-30 minutes of time

1 treat pouch 

1/4 cup of soft, smelly, yummy treats

1 bully stick or chew toy

Directions:

There’s nothing better than a sleepy, relaxed dog to cuddle with, but some dogs are not naturally the cuddly type. Dogs don’t hug and squeeze each other and they certainly don’t hold each other. Most dogs prefer to sleep by themselves and not in a dog pile. They definitely don’t give one another pats on the head. In order to teach your dog to be really relaxed and comfortable with being handled by everyone and anyone, it’s important to teach them to love being petted, hugged and touched all over. Taking the time to handle your puppy and teach him to be calm in someone’s lap, sit still for ear and mouth exams, and be comfortable with his paws being handled is extremely important for trips to the vet and groomer. It’s also an important way to bond with your new puppy and teaches him to be very calm when petted. A lot of dogs get overly excited when they are petted or given attention and end up jumping on people and getting out of control. By spending quiet, cuddly time with your puppy you will be positively reinforcing his calm, Zen behavior instead. 

1. Make sure your puppy gets an appropriate amount of mental and physical exercise during the day. Puppies eat, poo, pee, play and crash, all day long. If you try to get your puppy to relax in your lap when he’s amped up and in the puppy crazy mode, he’s going to become mouthy and will resist the handling. Play fun games with your puppy and wear him out with a game of fetch or hide and go seek before you initiate cuddle time.

2. In a quiet place away from a lot of distractions, put your puppy in your lap or on the floor next to you. With one hand, lure him into a down with a piece of treat and while feeding the treat, pet your puppy’s back or shoulder with the other hand in a slow methodical way. Keep feeding your puppy tiny pieces of treats and slowly start to pet his legs and then start moving down towards the paws.

2. If your puppy gets uncomfortable or starts to bite your hand, stop giving treats, stop petting and remove your attention for a minute or two. Once your puppy calms down, try again and reward frequently for letting you pet more sensitive areas like his ears, paws, tail or the top of his head. 

3. If your puppy is completely relaxed, floppy and enjoys being handled already, rub his belly and gently encourage him to lay on his back. A dog that is comfortable on his back is showing you that he is relaxed and totally calm and confident in you. 

4. If your puppy is really mouthy, make sure that you have a bully stick or a chew toy to offer him whenever you want to pet and handle him. Whenever his is chewing on his toy and not on your hand praise him and tell him he’s a good puppy. Make sure you don’t get into a habit of letting him bite and then giving him a toy because you don’t want to accidentally reward biting behavior by giving him the toy. 

5. Once your puppy is nice and relaxed, practice scooping him up in your arms and gently give him a little hug. If you doesn’t squirm, praise him and then immediately release him back onto the ground. If your puppy wiggles and starts biting your hands, make sure that you hold him so that he can’t bite your hands by gently holding him around his shoulders. Do not let go of your puppy while he is squirming, patiently wait for him to calm down and then tell him “good boy” and then release him. After a few sessions doing this, your puppy will learn that calm, floppy behavior is much more relaxing and enjoyable than resisting and struggling. 

6. Just remember that dogs react to your energy level, your tone of voice and your body language. If you use an excited, high-pitched tone and “scruff” up your dog with vigorous petting, you will get him all excited and it will result in more biting. If you are calm, use a soothing low voice and pet him slowly with long or circular movements you will end up putting your puppy to sleep. Think about how nice and calming it is to get a massage and then use those same movements on your puppy. In no time your puppy will learn to absolutely love being hugged, petted and cuddled.

Below are old photos of me and Taj when he was a puppy. There’s nothing better than puppy breath and falling asleep together after a long day of fun!

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How to Train Your Puppy to Heel

What you’ll need:

1 cute puppy
2 cups of love
5 cups of patience
1 Easy Walk Training Harness by Premier
6 ft Hands free leash
1 treat pouch
1 clicker
1/2 cup of soft smelly treats (cheese, chopped chicken, soft jerky treats, Zukes Mini Naturals or Ziwi Peak)

Directions:

1. Before you even clip on the leash or step outside, make sure that your puppy knows what heel means (also make sure that you know what it means!). A lot of dogs and their humans think that it means jerk on the leash and say heel whenever your puppy pulls. This only results in tug of war, frustration and a choking dog. Heel means that your puppy must stay by your side with his head lined up by your leg and his body parallel to yours. When your inside your house with no distractions lure your puppy to your side with a treat and click and feed once he is in the right position. Keep reinforcing your puppy for staying by your side in a standing position by clicking/treating. Then next step is to take a step forward and encourage your puppy to take a step forward with you. Keep your hand with the treat on the seam of your pants and when your puppy’s head is by your side click/treat. Keep doing this until you’re able to take several steps with your puppy walking right next to your side. Then take the lure away by guiding your puppy with your hand and without the treat in it. Click/treat when his head is by your side and then reach your hand into to your pouch to give him his reward.

2. Once your puppy is happily heeling by your side in the house you can attach your hands-free leash to your waist and to your dog’s front connecting harness. Ask him to sit and stay at the door and then release him with “ok!” once the door is all the way open. If his bottom pops up, close the door and repeat until he’s able to stay calmly as you open the door. Once you get outside the door ask him to sit calmly again. Ask your puppy to “look” and click/treat him for giving you attention. Then release him with an “ok, heel!” and walk off quickly in the direction you want to go.

3. When walking your puppy, pretend like you are the Queen (or King) of dogs and walk as quickly as you can. When dogs are in a trotting pace, they know that you mean business and that you’re traveling somewhere together. If you walk slowly, your dog will want to do a lot more sniffing which results in more pulling. Plus, your dog will think you’re more fun if you’re walking quickly and happily. Also, leave your phone at home! If you’re not paying attention to your puppy he will ignore you too and will want to drag you to every bush in the neighborhood to check his pee-mail.

4. Just like in the house, capture and reinforce your puppy’s good behavior with lots of “good heel!” and click/treats. Remember to feed right by your side near the seam of your pants. When distractions come your way, click/treat more quickly.

5. If your puppy pulls you or ignores you due to distractions, ask him to “look” or use the kissy noise to get his attention back to you. if he ignores you after two tries, quickly turn and go the other way. It will keep him on his toes and ‘reset’ the heel. If your dog lunges or pulls for something, you can also stop dead in your tracks and ‘be a tree’ until your dog calms down, stops pulling and takes the tension off his lead. A tight leash means your puppy goes nowhere and doesn’t get to check out whatever he wants to move towards. A loose leash is good and means that he gets to go towards what he wants to check out. Moving forward is a reward. Pulling equals stopping which is the consequence.

6. Be consistent and your puppy will be walking beautifully by your side in no time! Once he knows what “heel” means you can start weaning him off the treats and just use lots of praise and attention when he’s traveling by your side. Also, remember to reward your dog with “ok go ahead!” Which means he’s allowed to go out on the end of his leash and sniff and smell all the flowers and bushes that his heart desires!

Happy training!

Below is a quick clip of a training session with Lego today!