Raising Litter Mates



As our black labrador puppies head into dog-hood - February 21 is their birth date - there are a few important issues to address. Many puppy owners forget that training should carry into their adolescent, adult and even into their senior years. I have run into a few little issues with our litter mates. simple things that they knew how to do six months ago suddenly have slipped their minds.. silly puppies!!

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Friday, February 4, 2011
Leash Walking Your Puppy

Taro and Kratos have forgotten how to walk it seems! This is completely my fault, and now I have to correct it.

The boys have been spending lots of time off leash and playing with their friends. I give them a lot of off leash time to work on their recall and some other important commands in the event we are ever faced with an emergency situation at the dog park or in the trails.

While we were caught up in off leash play and training, I failed to see the importance of incorporating daily leash walks with NO off leash time. As a result, Taro has developed some bad pulling habits. Kratos isn't as bad, yet.

I know the boys know how to walk on leash, this is one of the first things I taught them how to do. There is nothing worse than your dog taking you for a walk, especially at seventy (70) pounds - EACH! Originally they were walking on a harness (sensible harness), but this time around we're only using collars.

Taro and Kratos will be walked separately for the first few sessions. The goal is to have each one understand what is expected before letting them try it together. All their training was done separately when they were puppies, this time around is no different.

Today's walk was frustrating but eventually successful! It took Taro at least twenty (20) minutes to start walking properly. I would take a step, and stop, take a step, and stop... this went on for at least a block. Taro finally realized what was expected from him and began to walk by my side. I didn't use any commands, simply used his own behavior and his breakfast as a reward. It was that simple. He was walking like a good dog in no time! I was able to hook his leash around my waist and walk, skip, run, and stop without him pulling at all. A few more refresher walks like this and we'll try the boys together.

It is important that your puppy is walked daily on leash. Not only so that they remember how to walk as they get into dog-hood, but also because it stimulates their senses. Most people get caught up going to the same place daily, meeting the same dogs and people, and your puppy gets used to these things and then when approached by something different they are unsure of what to do and act nervous. I'm not saying their daily playtime with "good friends" at the local dog park isn't acceptable, but I am saying that as a puppy owner, you are not doing your puppy any favors by exposing them to the same thing everyday. Switch it up a little, let them have some playtime, then walk them around the block in the afternoon/evening. Take them on car rides to the supermarket, let them get used to the car and everything outside the car. Walk your puppy near schools and reward them for being good around children. Expose them to noisy cars, big trucks and buses, bikes and skateboards - remember that your puppy can't learn how to act around things they are not exposed too.

Walking your puppy also let's them meet new people. It's not likely that you meet the exact same people walking around everyday, so it's good that they are exposed to different people wearing hats and carrying umbrellas and such. It is also nice that they can see squirrels and cats, you can teach them how to act (on leash) when they see one or both. There are several benefits to walking your puppy on leash - and it is great exercise for you as well. Each one of us can spare twenty (20) minutes a day for a quick stroll with our canine companion. Your pooch will thank you for it!

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