Puppy Steps!!

This is the first of many updates to come on how the dog training efforts are going. I set out on this journey with the desire to learn something that benefits my family and that they can be involved in. While it would be beneficial to all of us to improve the dogs behaviour, the truth is that much like with parenting, consistency is key. If parents are not on the same page, this can become very evident in the child’s behaviour. If parents work together to implement and reinforce expectations, the child is typically more responsive. Many say children thrive on clear boundaries and consistent expectations. I tend to believe this and feel this same methodology can be applied to dog training. If we work together, we are more likely to see the long term benefits of the time we put in.

In looking for good online sources of information, I began by searching Instagram and Twitter. From there I identified some accounts that seemed worth following because of the number of people following them and the type of content being posted. What I was most interested in was trainers putting out short instructional videos. I find that with following many things in each place, I am not getting a steady stream of content without searching for it though. I created a Wakelet to organize this information in hopes of having a place where the only thing I see is pet training related content. I don’t find myself going back to this as much as I should be though or adding everything I find. I have been making a conscious effort to store helpful articles here for quick reference though.

After my exploration of TikTok and the realization that it has such a potential for learning when the content is focussed, I gave in and got an account. The purpose of this was specifically to see if I could gather the information I need to train my dogs in one virtual location. I was and still am really sold on the idea of short informational videos. This week I dedicated about 5-10 minutes a night to specifically checking out dog training content on my TikTok account.

At this point, I am finding quite a bit of helpful content from a few particular sources. I have started looking back at who I followed on Instagram and Twitter to see if these people or organizations have TikTok accounts in order to increase the number of sources I have to draw from. I have started to like videos that I find particularly helpful in order to make it easier to find them again. I have also followed and unfollowed a few people that I found to lack meaningful content or have a personal approach that I did not appreciate.

I have been finding quite a bit from these particular sources. While I don’t always love the ‘in your face’ approach of @southenddogtraining1, I have found some of the instructional videos very helpful. It was this particular video that inspired me to look further into the use of the clicker in training. I am also finding useful content and helpful tips from @leaderofthepacklv. After seeing the first video on the clicker from @southenddogtraining1, I then found one from @leaderofthepacklv which convinced me to get one. Check it out here.

I have also appreciated the content from @rachelfusaro and @sayitoncedogtraining.

This week, we decided to start back at what I would call the basics. We need to get our dogs to be more attentive to us and what we want from them. Of course this means lots of reinforcement (food) and making training part of our daily ‘fun’ routine. One thing I picked up from the videos I have watched so far is the idea that dog walking should begin with training in the house proceeding to the yard and then the real deal. This is not something I ever considered before. In fact, I used to think my youngest was teasing them when she would leash them up in the house. Well, she was actually on the right track!

This week we began with a focus on learning to heel, walk and sit in the house. This included a bunch of treats of course. We also made sure to start by separating the pups for this. Our first day of in house training focused on walking a few steps and then sitting while on leash. Any time they would move ahead of me, I did a a hundred and eighty degree turn and continued the other way. This method is meant to get them back to walking by your side or just behind you (heeling). Everytime I would stop and they stopped, sat and looked up at me, they got a little treat.

Our second day focused more on heeling using the methods pictured here from @southenddotraining1. Knowing treats were coming during this time, I found they both tried hard to follow along with what we were doing. The biggest challenge was keeping them from jumping and trying to take off our hands to get the treat. If you go too quickly, they are likely to run, while if you go too slowly, they either start trying to take it or lose interest fast.

So far, I think we are off to a great start. I am looking forward to exploring more with the clicker, continuing leash training and moving it outside. I am feeling like we are learning some good habits that will carry over to our dogs. This week I could already see that they were likely to listen and sit more quickly when excited then they were a week ago. Don’t get me wrong, they are still crazy, but it’s a start! Puppy steps!!

10 thoughts on “Puppy Steps!!

  1. What a great project – I feel like this is something with so much potential for online learning! And now that you’re on TikTok maybe so much potential for duets haha – even if you aren’t quite mastering the skill yet. I somehow also have dog training videos on my Tiktok – that I watch even though I don’t have my own dog. I will keep an eye out for good sources the next time I am scrolling and I will share them with you via twitter!

    1. Lol. I love it! I may not be quite to the performing stage yet. But I will let you know if I get there! 😉

  2. Gillian!

    Great post! I also appreciate that you chose something the whole family can be involved in to benefit your dogs. When our fur baby was a puppy, we tried clicker training as well, which actually worked quite well for her, coupled with treats. However, like you said, consistency is key. We worked on it for a bit, but then stopped and that was that! A colleague of mine always says that training a dog never ends and it’s totally true. I think you’ve gotten off to a great start and the increment leash training piece of advice is so smart… Never would have thought of it myself! Like Victoria mentioned, if anything comes up on my social media (or my new found Tik Tok account), I’ll be sure to send it your way. I could also ask my colleague for any good resources she used to train her dogs!

    Well done!

    1. Thanks Leigh! I definitely think puppy training is going to be a challenge and go far beyond this project, but will be so worth it if we can stick with it!! Please do pass on any good ones!

  3. Hi Gillian! I love that you chose this project and you are going to be successful! I love your cute puppies, and I have a cute one too! We have a Yorkie who is 8 now, but for the first 2 years he was a complete puppy in every way and true to Yorkshire Terriers, he’s as stubborn as they get. It is sometimes a battle of wills but I typically win. However…he always barks when someone comes to the door, but it is short lived once they are in the house. I tried to train him to not bark but it was futile. I needed so much more time and not everyone in the house was able to be on board. He walks very well on a leash but loses his mind when we pass certain dogs.
    I have a favourite trainer that I have always followed and he had his own show on National Geographic for years called The Dog Whisperer. His name is Cesar Millan. This is a link to a session he gave on dogs pulling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP4v-TK0l2M
    I hope it is helpful! Watching his show helped me teach our Howie to walk with a leash, and understand the psychology behind dog training. He doesn’t use a clicker but the touch method. Good luck this week! I look forward to hearing about the progress!

    1. Hi Lynette! Thank you so much for sharing this link. I have saved it to my Wakelet as one to watch. I have certainly heard of Cesar Millan but yet to watch anything of his. I do hope we can make some progress with their behaviour and have a little fun doing it!!

  4. What a great project to get the whole fam jam invovled. I can appreciate the time that goes into puppy training, and all of the treats, patience and everything else involved. When our dog was 12 weeks we took him to puppy kindergarten and it was the cutest thing ever. He continued in other classes until he was 2 years old, and we still do some training at home. Although we stopped going to the classes because we knew we weren’t going to show him, or put him any obedience. And truth be told, he was over some of the other dogs at that point. He learned quickly and was often frustrated by the other dogs running up to him or pushing him over. Although he’s a big boy, he’s a softy. I think the trick that I am most proud of is his high-5. It’s just the cutest. I am excited to follow along and can’t wait to learn more!

    1. It sounds like you really enjoyed the puppy classes Kelly! My older dog Duke is a master at sit, shaking paws, lying down, staying and dancing. Too bad all his little tricks don’t translate into listening when it counts. lol. I will have to work on the high five!! Currently Gryff does not let us anywhere near his paws for a shake but we are trying!!

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