I’m jealous; here’s my student’s new puppy getting started. I still have to wait a few weeks before mine arrives. Here’s the kind of stuff I’ll do early on in the puppy’s career:
This puppy’s lesson is split between tug, fetch, recall, and simple commands (shown in the video). In addition, Gaetz is working on personal play with mom, following, recall, and working on a platform as the first step in shaping with a clicker.
As you can see, Gaetz is precocious for play skills. By spending energy on developing those talents now, Gaetz’s handler will be able to use them for a lifetime. Remember, the drives and interests you use are the ones you build, so it’s important not to focus exclusively on food as a reinforcer in training.
My new puppy will also learn these things, probably split up in several sessions per day, each no more than a few minutes.