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Tricks & Manners
 
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Many people are amazed to find how much puppies can learn at a very young age. You can see some of our pups' accomplishments in out video files. Sienna, my little prodigy, was probably my best trained pup at 9 weeks. You can see how much she had learned in so short a time.

Sienna begins training.

Sienna showing off her tricks at 8 - 9 weeks.

This video shows one  step in the process of teaching a 7 week old pup to ride a skateboard.

You can find all of the video clips from this page.

I do some training with all the pups but it varies from litter to litter. You can depend on them being able to sit on command.

I use clicker training as you can see in my videos. This is an excellent way to work with puppies as it is gentle and requires no "corrections".  It does require good timing though so I suggest learning it from a video where the timing is clearly shown.

The best videos I've seen are: Coralee Burmaster's "Puppy Kindergarten" and "The How of Bow Wow" by Virginia Broitman & Sherri Lippman. For a good understanding of the underlying concepts the most well known (and excellent) guide is Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot the Dog". My favorite book for clicker training is  "Quick Clicks" by Cheryl S. Smith and Mandy Book. This book provides a complete step-by-step breakdown for the training of many different behaviors. If you have to limit your initial buys pick The How of Bow Wow followed by Quick Clicks. All of these are available at dogwise.com.

A word about The Dog Whisperer

Who doesn't love Cesar Milan?! He's adorable and magical with dogs. I love watching his show. I agree with a lot of what he says. You do need to be your dog's leader. You do need to be calm and assertive. You do need to let your dog be a dog and only show affection when the dog is behaving. However, you cannot (nor can I) do what Cesar does. There is a reason there are disclaimers on the show telling you not to attempt to do what he does without a consult with a professional trainer. 

It is important to keep in mind that most of his work is done with large dogs who have had large problems. This carries over to how he deals with small dogs. When we are dealing with only small dogs who have only small problems (if any) we can use completely positive training methods (which means no "leash corrections" or rolling the dog over onto it's back to get her to submit or other corrections that Cesar uses). This is good for us because it means we can train our own dogs without fear of harming them. You cannot use a leash correction on a tiny dog nor can you use a slip or choker collar if you have no experience with dog training. Even if you do, the more modern methods - such as clicker training - will be easier and better for your dog and for you.

The Dog Whisperer is entertainment. Keep that in mind. It is great entertainment but don't let it give you license to do something that may harm your dog or your relationship with her.

Revised: 02/04/07.
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