Raising Litter Mates



The last couple months have been brutal but at the same time rewarding. I have lost a lot of sleep, and they have upped my tolerance and patience levels significantly. It continues to be an amazing experience raising these two hellions together. They are fabulous puppies to work with, and they are a lot of fun.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Training Littermates

The puppies currently go out three times a day – usually about 20-25 minutes each. They are walking well on their harness and leash, even Kratos! He has come a long way since the first day we put a harness on and tried to walk him. Taro is doing fantastic, he keeps eye contact with me on his walks, I barely use kibbles anymore. The next step is to incorporate all their commands while outside on leash. They both sit while on leash, Taro does spins and plays dead on his walks as well. Kratos is still working on his confidence on leash. He does the occasional “down” on his walk, but mostly “sits” for now. He’ll get it eventually, he just needs a little more practice.

The puppies have made tonnes of friends the last few months and continue to do so. They are so happy to meet people and other dogs, as a matter of fact, if I am walking them and they see somebody in their driveway or across the street, they both stop and sit waiting for somebody to come say hi. We try to encourage everybody to pet them and talk to them, only when they are sitting or in the down position to encourage no jumping. Kratos is usually good at sitting while being pet, Taro has a tendency to jump up once in awhile, and we are still working on that. Taro is improving – just yesterday he sat on his own with no jumping while he was being pet by a new friend. This made me pretty happy =)

It used to be such a chore to get Kratos out the door for his walks. He is still hard to get down the stairs, but once he reaches the landing near the front door he is happy to go out. I usually walk them separately, only because the two of them are a little hard to handle by myself. I do have a coupler, but I can’t use that until I know they are able to walk together properly. I am using the command “let’s go” to initiate the walk, if they start to pull I stop, call them toward me or make them “sit” before we resume. They rarely pull, which is great, because I’m sure when they get older they will be able to pull me!

They are on a regular harness, but instead of clipping the leash on their back, I am clipping it to the top of the ring at their chest (center of gravity) and this itself is helping with the no pulling. Our trainer, when we went to see him for Jordan, had recommended the sensible harness for her pulling, and we are using the same technique for the puppies. The sensible harness is quite pricey, so I didn’t want to buy one for them yet because the are growing like crazy! Besides, we still have the harness that Blue used, and I’m sure in no time they will fit into it.

I started letting them off leash inside the tennis court (it's enclosed) making sure that I call them to me periodically and then let them enjoy more off leash time. I started doing this when they were about ten weeks old.They have been off leash a number of times, for short periods, and have done extremely well. It's a little scary at times because they are only seventeen weeks old. Once they were used to being off leash in an enclosed area, I took each puppy out on their own to the school yard/ park nearby and let them run off leash ensuring they were sticking close to me. The moment I lost his attention he went right back on his leash for a walk. I did it separately at first only because it would be much easier to catch one dog in case he wasn’t responding to his recall command. Once I was confident enough with each dog separately off leash, I started taking them together using the same training technique. There are a few times that I used long training leads for them. Usually use the long leads at the parks that are close to busy streets just in case they decide to chase after squirrels. They haven’t yet! I really think they are doing great for their age, I am quite happy with they way they are responding to us.

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