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Puppy Gaetz

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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.

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

15 responses »

  1. Need a bigger url. Can’t pull the video up.

  2. The video worked fine for me. Now regretting that I relied so heavily on food in training my puppy (year old yesterday!). The good news is that working for her meals worked great for her learning a ton of stuff. But if your puppy is working for all her food, it’s hard to find time to do more training with toys. Now she loves to tug, but I’m having to go back and teach her that a tug can be a reward.

  3. Video worked great for me as well! I’m alittle confused though at what I was watching, sorry.
    I first see just alot of play time…then next part of video was (I think the owner) learning how to position dog with food. I thought that the play was reward. I feel stupid…maybe I’m missing something so clear:( Loved that you posted this though and can’t WAIT to see your new baby!

  4. I got it!!!! Never mind!!! :):):)

  5. Hi Amy,
    Your question is a good one.

    I wont’ use a toy as a reward for a behavior until I’m convinced that the puppy loves to play, looks forward to it, and sees the presence of the toy as being powerful. This puppy is too young in the process to work for the toy; he simply needs to learn to love it. You cannot use something as a reinforcer until the dog’s behavior tells you the dog wants it badly.
    It’s also noteworthy that I’m training a novice human with a novice dog. Mom also has to learn to use alternative reinforcers (toys, praise) effectively before she should apply them to work.

  6. I can’t get the video to play. Wonder if it’s because I’m on a Mac.

  7. Cute pup – is he the one from D’Jackson and Bridjet?

    At the end the owner was saying “down” and “come” while luring he puppy – is that normal for your training (as opposed to not naming a behavior until it’s near perfect) or are you letting it slide right now since the owner is a novice?

  8. O bugger mine won’t play either :(( I’m on a Mac as well….

  9. Those of you on Mac’s…can you normally watch youtube videos?

  10. I’m ignoring it. Novice trainer and she’s doing fine; not important right now. Yep; correct puppy.

  11. Installed the recommended program. Still can’t get the video to play. Using Safari. YouTube videos play no problem

  12. Super! Thanks! I’m so jealous. Beautiful puppy.


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