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It has only been three days with the new puppy “Trip” but here are some things that might not be second nature to everyone-

  1. Patience is my greatest ally- I have 10 to 14 months to bring out the best in this pup.
  2. I haven’t put a leash on him yet. I want independence, not control. I will attract him by my presence to approximate different obstacles/challenges with no expectation of success. He gets bolder every day.
  3. My yard is a little less than an acre. We roam the property a few times a day.
  4. We are working on our third day yard today. I am not asking for any specific behavior, instead just exposing the pup to different obstacles, surfaces and distractions. I do not sit and study him; I leave him in the yard and go about my daily tasks. Your pup is learning even if you don’t see it.  Yes–I could food bait him to the objects, but that creates behavior that is dependent on food being present to achieve behavior. I would prefer the independence of self exploration and self discovery.
  5. I had no plans to generate reward object play, but he discovered a tennis ball in the yard and we got a solid ten seconds of possession and chasing (very short). I will work with spontaneous behavior, but will not insist on toy/retrieve behavior. I would not recommend standard tennis balls for such a young pup, but would not discourage it if the dog is self motivated. Ten seconds is an eternity to an 8 week old pup!
  6. All his food is coming from food placed in the food machine tray (no tone or dispensing noise) or from food dispensing toys. I want his behavior to generate food discovery and self reward.
  7. Because he is so young I do let him nap next to me a couple of times a day. This is to mitigate the stress of being separated from his litter, but he spends the majority of his day in a environmentally enhanced day yard.
  8. Encourage behavior patterns that bring out boldness. Don’t fool yourself into believing that there is a magic time to suddenly be bold, based on an arbitrary age.  Be safe, but don’t be a moving “safety net” or a “helicopter mom”.
  9. I don’t believe in trying to put traits into a dog, I am trying to coax the traits out and then build upon them.
  10. “If we give our puppies complete freedom and we let them have all their toys, what are we left with? If we give them undivided love and affection and treats for nothing-we have lost a great opportunity. All of our great motivating tools are squandered.”  From  The Ultimate Puppy Toolkit