Raising Litter Mates



Since puppyhood our littermates have had to " work " for rewards. They get very little treats "just because". They did not have many meals in bowls during extensive behavior molding- we fed them by hand.

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Friday, January 13, 2012
Black Labrador Litter Mates SItting on a Tree

Feeding by hand! Ack. That's terrible you say - I say the opposite. Feeding by hand also teaches bite-inhibition which is extremely important for all puppies to learn.

The mistake that some owners make is thinking that just because the behaviour has been learned and performed perfectly does not mean it shouldn't be practiced daily. Get into the habit of reviewing all your dogs commands and tricks daily. Start chaining commands together for a big reward at the end! Work on quicker response times, work on commands from a distance, work on building new tricks from a basic "down" to a play dead or roll over. You can work on a beg command from a simple "sit" to " sit pretty " simply modifying the sit. It's endless!

I make it a habit to keep a mental leash on Kratos and Taro wherever we are - park, home, grandma's house etc. At the park/ trails you will often hear me calling them back to me - we practice spins while we walk - sit and down before throwing the ball around, you get the idea. I think it's essential that a mental leash is present when the physical leash is not. Having said that, I do let them have dog time. They chase each other around, snarl and rough house each other, they play fight in water, they try and chase squirrels that are bouncing from tree to tree. They interact with other dogs quite often - I usually don't interfere when they are playing with other dogs - but if I observe the play getting out of hand ( humping mostly ) I'll step in and correct the unwanted behaviour.

Try it the next time you are out with your dog. You will notice quite quickly if you haven't been doing this already certain commands that need to be worked on, I would start with the basic "come" whke your dog is engaged in dog play - does your dog listen and come when called even while playing? You will quickly see what needs to be worked on. Take good rewards - up the ante a little. I make my own dog treats so I make it a habit to only take the dehydrated meat treats to the park - they LOVE the beef and chicken liver snacks. They also know that in order to get some they need to be good :) I do take other treats or even kibble with me - they get the meat treat if they do the desired action on the FIRST call, if they hesitate, they get the kibble or less desired reward- depending on the situation. If I get flat out ignored, they get some leash time, no reward, and we know what to practice! Good Luck!

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