Raising Litter Mates



Ever since our black labrador litter mates stepped into their new home, they have been learning how to behave appropriately. Up until recently they have proved to be obedient little guys - they are now testing their limits, and it's extremely important at this stage to discipline properly and handle them correctly to reinforce your alpha role.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010
Black Labrador Puppy Testing his Limits

If I wasn't educated on the stages of puppyhood I would be so depressed right now. Some days it feels as if all my training and hard work to discipline these litter mates was wasted. However, they are at the stage in their puppyhood where they are disobeying, and this is normal.

Something as easy as "come" can be a chore these days. Taro isn't too bad, but Kratos is quite a stubborn puppy. I know that they know what their commands mean, and I know that they are able to perform their commands perfectly - but at eight months old they are trying to get away with simple things, and it's up to me (the alpha) to reinforce my authority over them. It is very important during this time that they are handled carefully and sternly. There is no need for physical domination, its all about words, actions and positive reinforcement.

How to Handle a Disobedient Puppy

Now keep in mind that your puppy only knows what you have taught him/her. If you let him get away with little things as they were growing up, well you are in for a big surprise because they remember!

Using Kratos as an example, he often thinks that he doesn't have to come when called as of late, when before he was running to me when called. We still practice all our commands daily, but there are some times when Kratos THINKS he is "too busy" to come when called. It is extremely important to get your puppy's attention before expecting them to carry out what is asked of him/her. If he makes eye contact with me, and refuses to do as he is told, I simply approach him and attach a leash to him. Now I am in control, and he knows it. I do not yell or tell him he is a bad puppy, I simply make him do what he needs to do, then reward him for doing so. I also make him do a series of tricks before releasing him, and repeat the failed command a few minutes later. For the most part he listens immediately. If for some reason he is too stubborn and doesn't want to comply - he gets a time out in his kennel, or if we are out he does not get any off leash time. So far it seems as if both puppies are learning well from their mistakes as well as my corrections. I guess it will be another few months before they realize that I am still in control. It's all about being consistent.

Practice makes perfect - and they are on their way to perfection we hope!
Until next time!!

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