Puppy Obedience, Socialization, Crate & House Training & More
Without Resorting To Treats Or ‘Might Is Right'
Table Of Contents
Puppy Program Synopsis
One of my specialties is helping people get their puppies off to the right start. That means much more than a traditional puppy obedience class. It also means learning how to shape your puppy’s temperament and social behavior so that anxiety and fear issue don’t develop later in life. It also means learning how to crate train and house train.
Almost all companion puppy training offered still embraces a curriculum and an approach (method) to training that might make sense if the goal is to compete in an obedience competition where you stare at your puppy, treats in hand surrounded by unfamiliar people and dogs in a gymnasium setting.
However, most dog owners are companion dog owners and coercing their puppy to do geometric patterns around pylons, staying and coming for a treat while being stared at has very little to do with the day to day reality of a companion dog and dog owner.
This program is designed with the day to day reality of companion dogs and dog owners in mind and is founded on sound behavior and learning theory that companion dog owners and their dogs find far more enjoyable and successful than the traditional and flawed ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free…’ treat, treat, treat and ‘Might Is Right’ approaches.
Cost And Scheduling
The cost is an hourly rate which varies somewhat depending on a few variables such as whether you’re in London or how far outside London you are and whether the puppy in question will require attention outside of the ordinary. Generally speaking, puppy appointments are my lowest hourly rate.
However, puppy appointments take slightly longer than regular dog training appointments as there is considerably more to cover. On average you can count on approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours one on one time with me. In addition, there is an extensive followup program in the days, weeks and months to come for which there is no charge.
The link below will offer various options and is set up to make it easier for you to schedule the appointment that best matches your schedule and the schedule of others you would like to be involved in the training of your puppy.
You will find costs, my calendar and ‘How To Self-Schedule’ guidance HERE.
Puppy Program Overview - Full Program Review
In-Home Training Environment Vs. Strange Environment Has Huge Learning And Safety Advantages
We Use Science-Based 'Fully Balanced Companion Dog Training' For Effective Teaching And Learning And Lasting Results (As Opposed To Treats And/or Submission Pseudo-Science)
How Puppies And Dogs (and humans) Learn (and teach)
First - What We Won’t Be Doing And Why
One of the main reasons so few people fail to accomplish their dog training goals isn’t due to motivation or a lack of time. It’s because what now passes for companion puppy and dog training is based on what is used for training Orcas and Dolphins in an aquarium with full-time trainers who’s entire workday revolves around the Orca or Dolphin. Often referred to as ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free’ and by some, as, ignore bad behavior, reward (treats) good behavior, etc.
This is not to say that the `Might Is Right` approach sometimes referred to as ‘Yank and Crank’, being Alpha, Pack Leader, Dominant, using Alpha rolls, etc. is any more valid. It just produces a different set of problems, such a submissive puppy or later in life, an aggressive dog.
What the amateur puppy and dog trainers that use the alleged ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free…’ treat, treat, treat approach (it is rarely all positive in reality) do not understand is that while it may give themselves or a layperson the illusion that they are training, they are really only teaching tricks. They are also creating an unsustainable foundation that will crumble in real-world settings. Imagine if we motivated our children with candy over and over and then one day asked them what would they do if a stranger invited them into a car to share some candy. A heroin dealer has the power to influence behavior over the addict. Incredible power but this is not the model I recommend. We can do much better. Teaching/motivating a puppy to work for a treat aims at their tummies and not the best part of the puppy, the only species I know of bred to love and work for a human being.
In the context of the aquarium it is a legitimate methodology, but in the context of companion puppy and dog training for teaching real-life skills for real-world setting, it is a naive ideology. An ideology that will always fail in the context of real-world settings. It works (sort of) until a better offer comes along (squirrel,, etc.)
Ironically, the companion puppy and dog trainers offering ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free’ claim it is based on science. Yes, there’s science to support (somewhat) it’s used in controlled environments such as the Orca’s aquarium, the rat’s maze, a dog’s obedience or agility ring but none whatsoever in real-world environments. Whereas, all the scientific literature (behavior and learning theory, ethology, evolutionary biology, and psychology, etc.) supports what you will be learning (’Fully Balanced Companion Dog Training’)their
Examples Of What We Will Be Doing And Why
Learning About Relationship Driven Training
What we will be doing is teaching you to teach your puppy in a manner that reflects the way all higher order social species (dogs, wolves, apes, humans, etc.) teach skills that lead to the best quality of life. This is not through the expectation of treats or pain.
A puppy’s perception as to who is the teacher and who is the student can make training very hard or relatively easy. Even more so than how you train when you are training. Think of your experiences with substitute teachers. No one more motivated to do well and help students succeed, but we sent half home in tears.
Arguably even more important than an approach to training, one of the greatest influences on training outcome is how a puppy perceives its relationship with its owner. Love is almost always a given. Respect is not. The little things we do and don’t do during our time around our puppy has most of us thinking of us as roommates rather than teachers. As a result when it is time to encourage or discourage behavior we have to work far harder (treats and might) than we would if we learned to live with our dogs in a manner that led them to see us more as a loving parent or teacher rather than at best a substitute teacher.
Part of what will be covered in your program is how your puppy sees the world, determines who is the teacher and who is the student and how to incorporate this into how you live with your puppy. The impact is significant. Your puppy will be far more highly motivated to learn from and work for you than any treat or ‘Might Is Right’ approach can remotely approach.
Learning About The Influence of Unsupervised Times And Environments (When You Are Not Training Or Supervising)
Your puppy is learning, whether you’re actively teaching or not and there are a variety of lifestyle factors that can make your training far easier or far harder. In the case of some genetics more than others; impossible to address if what you are trying to accomplish in your training is being undone when your puppy isn’t directly under your supervision and influence.
It’s extremely rare companion puppy, and dog trainers incorporate this aspect into their programs, and many people find that despite their best efforts their training doesn’t produce the sort of results that truly integrate a dog into their lives. That won’t be the case here. You will learn what is, or can influence your training and how to address it so you can achieve your goals practically.
Using Our Time Together And Your Time Afterward Intelligently (Focusing On Essentials Instead Of Window Dressing)
When it comes right down to it, there are only three ‘No Matter What’ obedience skills required to provide a companion dog and owner with a wonderful life together. They don’t have to look ‘obedience ring’ pretty and finished either. The dog just needs to do them – ‘No Matter What.’
In spite of this companion, puppy owners are almost always forced to overcomplicate training and subsequently quite often set up both themselves and their puppy for almost certain frustration and failure with aspects of obedience realistically only ever required to compete in obedience competition.
I can help if your goal is to take on competitive obedience training as a hobby. However, that is not the purpose of this program. The purpose of this program is to teach the three exercises mentioned above in a ‘No Matter What’ manner that isn’t dependent on treats or subject to collapse if a better ‘offer’ comes along.
In any event, once a companion dog owner learns how to teach these three things, adding elements of ‘Sit,’ ‘Stand,’ ‘Down’ while heeling, staying or coming are straightforward enough. Far better though to be able to put your head on the pillow at night and feel you’ve taken one step forward than two steps backward.
It’s also far better to teach these core skills in conjunction with the ebb and flow of living with a puppy inside your own home and yard as opposed to in a foreign environment surrounded by distractions and complications better introduced once a foundation is in place.
For example, you will learn to teach your puppy to:
This approach makes an additional monumental contribution to your training success because of the peripheral manner it influences a puppy’s perception of the relationship. As mentioned, many dogs see their owners more as roommates as opposed to loving parents/teachers. Because the exercises listed above are triggered by lifestyle events as opposed to taking particular time out of the day and because they are both short but more importantly frequent the teacher/student relationship is constantly being reinforced in a manner that reflects how dog, wolves, apes and human beings shape the behavior of their offspring. A little here, a little there, throughout the day, day in day out.
We will combine the influencers of relationship, Environment When You Are Not Training Or Supervising, and Focusing On Essentials First with other aspects of what constitutes ‘Fully Balanced Companion Dog Training.’
What Is Fully Balanced Dog Training (Short Version)
Our approach to training is based on known rock-solid science that is based on how higher order social species teach, and their offspring learn real life-skills for the real world. It’s the approach shared by all higher order social species, dogs, wolves, apes, and human beings so it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn it doesn’t involve treats or brutality.
- Is the only companion dog life skill training for real-world contexts approach that has extensive supporting science. There is literally no science to similarly support ‘Might Is Right’ or ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free…’ treat ideologies.
- It is almost always All Positive. Almost. It does not shy away from the reality that parents of all species occasionally draw upon the concept of “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”, in a manner that is in keeping with the youngster/student’s ability to comprehend that they are not bad, the teacher isn’t bad, but the behavior itself is what is bad.
- Because it is essentially part of nature’s template, both companion dog owners and their dogs relate and subsequently learn and adapt to it far more quickly than ‘Might Is Right’ or ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free…’ ideologies. Both dogs and dog owners love it.
- The results are amazing. Dogs learn to exert self-control without being subjected to the submission techniques of ‘Might Is Right,’ or the addictive focus, (until something more interesting appears) on treats as opposed to the strength of their love and relationship they have with their owner.
You will find it’s straightforward to implement for two reasons:
Maximize Household (All adults and Children) Involvement
I highly recommend involving everyone that usually interacts with your puppy on a day to day basis, attend. Even if they aren’t expected to fully participate in the day to day, you will find that if they are present, they are far less likely to unintentionally undermine the accomplishment of your goals and far more likely to take an active role.
I definitely encourage the involvement of everyone that normally interacts with your dog on a daily basis, but in the case of children and teenagers, sometimes more indirectly rather than directly. I recommend using the following rule of thumb as a means for determining the level of involvement.
If you feel that it would be unreasonable to expect the child or teen in question to responsibly care for a two-year-old without adult supervision themselves, for an extended period of time, than it would be better to embrace the approach of involving them more in the manner mentioned below rather than as hands-on as the adult members of the home.
When they’re very young, the problem isn’t so much with understanding what’s required, as I’ve found that the children that attend my sessions typically absorb far more of what is said, than we ever could, even when they’re permitted to come and go as even in other rooms they seem to keep an ear tuned. Later, they can be quite an asset to the adults as the child or children become walking, talking session referral notebooks.
The problem, and it’s not really a ‘problem’ so much as it is a practical acknowledgement is with the aspect of attention-span, consistency and follow-through. Having witnessed it personally with my own sons and the children of past clients, I’m a big believer in the positive impact a good dog can have on a child’s life experience and I prefer to emphasize that aspect of the relationship, rather than potentially setting either the child (or their dog) up to fail by burdening them with a potentially unrealistic level of responsibility with regard to training and behavior modification for dogs with behavior problems.
When they’re closer to or in their teens and depending on their personality, some are more likely to actively participate than others both from the perspective of ability and motivation. It’s case-by-case, and when in doubt as to their potential to be consistent and follow-through, better to err on the side of caution as to level of active participation. Instead, and it’s probably a good idea, particularly when there is or there’s potential for a serious behavior problem, they should be present for our appointment. In the teen age range category the biggest advantage of having them there is so they know what you’re doing and why, and in the case of dogs with behavior problems what the stakes are if there isn’t consistent follow-through.
That said, their involvement will be part of how to best move forward. Just in a slightly more creative way.
- At the 30 day mark, the puppy has a clearer idea of what’s expected life skill wise inside the home. (dinner/doorways/stairs etc.) The child will attach their own personal leash, alongside mom or dads and instruct the dog as they have seen mom and dad do for the past 30 days. With you as the backup, you will be able to gently transfer the authority you have collected in combination with a clearer understanding in your dog as to what’s expected, over to the child without burdening the child or confusing the dog with the actual training of the dog. Works great.
- For the first 30 days of training, if age appropriate, and the child wishes, I recommend allowing the child or children to monitor the progress goals we will be laying out.
Ending Mouthing, Nipping, Biting and Jumping
The most common and ironically ineffective and more importantly – harmful recommendations regarding addressing this fundamental developmental period/behavior in a puppy include, redirecting/rewarding good/ignoring bad/walking away/feigning pain/timeouts, etc. set people and their dogs up for future problems, some of which can be quite serious.
Almost every trainer and veterinarian erroneously recommend this damaging strategy. Most claim it works because after 30 days they say, “See it worked.” However, this is a classic example of the ‘false cause’ logical fallacy based on an insufficient understanding of canine behavior from the perspective of evolutionary biology/psychology.
The reality is that mouthing and nipping starts at a certain age with all puppies, for a reason and once the answers to the questions this behavior is intended to resolve have been ascertained, which (surprise) is usually about 30 days, and the behavior begins to dissipate with or without the strategy mentioned above. In other words, it’s not the ’training’ recommendation at all.
It is worth emphasizing that while the behavior will (at least the worst of it) ‘go away’ within 30 days, it is imperative to your relationship with your puppy that you do not do not wait it out. Whether implementing the aforementioned ‘strategy’ or waiting it out rather than appropriately addressing it, will always make future training far more difficult on both the puppy owner and their puppy. I will be guiding you through the process on how to address, mouthing, nipping, biting and jumping.
I wrote this article to explain the behavior from the perspective of the evolutionary biological purpose from which it stems.
House Training Program - Teach 3X/day in one spot by 16 weeks
Many in the amateur dog training world have encouraged companion dog owners to teach their puppies to ring a bell as a means to alert their owners they need to empty out their bowel and/or bladder.
Not only does this more often than not create a bell ringing nightmare (as puppies aren’t lacking in intelligence) it is a far less efficient way to go about house training than you will learn. Instead, you will be shown how to teach your puppy to expect 3 trips out for this purpose per day, to one spot (so there aren’t landmines all over your yard) by the time your puppy achieves 14 weeks of age. This is in keeping with reasonable bowel and bladder control.
Crate Training For Sanctuary Association And To Combat Separation Anxiety
Many puppy trainers and companion dog owners approach the use of a crate as a means to an end for accomplishing house training and to keep a puppy out of mischief at night or when owners aren’t home. It is undoubtedly a useful tool in that regard; however, a crate can be much more.
More importantly, if introduced and used incorrectly (as just described) many puppies develop separation anxiety that time in the crate triggers and magnifies and instead of a crate tapping into a dog’s denning instinct and being perceived as a sanctuary it becomes ‘the enemy.’
You will learn to introduce and use a crate correctly so it can bring your puppy a sense of comfort which can come in handy later in life, during times of upheaval, moving, staying in hotel rooms, air travel, overnight veterinary stays, trips to the groomer, when crate rest is required to recover from injury, etc.
Toys - Encouraging Constructive Chewing And Discouraging Destructive Chewing
Toys, in general, have two categories. Interactive, those being toys your dog will connect with the activities you do with your dog. A ball used for fetch, a rope used to play tug. (Yes it’s okay, and natural way to teach a dog to control excited states if the dog’s training is founded on ‘Fully Balanced Companion Dog Training’ as opposed to ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free…’, or ‘Might Is Right.’)
The second category is toys used to encourage constructive chewing. The vast majority of toys sold are as likely to encourage destructive chewing as constructive, so you’ll be learning which toys are the least confusing, the ideal number of toys and how to use those toys in a manner that maximizes their value to you and your puppy. The correct selection and use of autonomous chew toys will be used in helping your puppy understand what not to chew as well.
Learn To Enrich and Stimulate Your Puppy’s Mind And Body
The manner in which you will be learning to train your puppy (‘Fully Balanced Companion Dog Training’) will provide a fair amount of mental stimulation. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if left in a natural setting the amount and type of physical and mental stimulation a puppy receives from a full-time mother, litter mates and other pack members is often far more significant and varied than what happens when placed in a human home. It varies from puppy to puppy, but if the disparity between what they evolved for and the reality they end up in isn’t addressed, it can impact the behavior of a puppy from many perspectives. They can have a harder time focusing, learning and retaining information if their physical needs aren’t met.
You will learn of ways to stimulate their bodies and minds in a manner in keeping with their quickly changing physical development.
Socialization And Temperament Stability (Formation and Troubleshooting)
Why Is A Puppy's Critical Socialization Period So Important?
Scott and Fuller’s work more than 50 years ago taught us much about the impact imprinting during a set period can have on a dog’s temperament and quality of life later in life. When you’ve met, go anywhere, do anything, go with the flow type dogs, genetics (nature) has played a role. However, an additional and hugely influencing factor is the context (positive/neutral/negative) of events experienced or left out between 3 – 12 weeks of age. By events, I’m referring to the sounds, sights, smells, textures, etc that a puppy in this age range encounters, or doesn’t encounter.
Veterinarians, breeders and puppy, and dog trainers, as a rule, are either unaware of this period or fail to provide sufficient emphasis and investment, leaving too much to chance. I have been training dogs and puppies full time for close to 30 years and have worked with thousands of dogs with behavior problems varying from the significant to the severe. The vast majority could have been avoided had the breeder make more of an effort to both begin the imprinting and guide those taking their puppies into their homes and lives.
If we develop a plan to provide positive associations with experiences such as; infants, crawling children, toddlers, pre-teens, the elderly etc., loud overhead sound (thunder, fireworks etc.), learning to spend time alone, we exponentially increase the chances that the temperament your puppy forms will be inoculated against not only future problems in these areas but for unanticipated issues. If the experiences we include are wide, varied and frequent, it appears that a useful by-product is that we also create an experiential malleability in the dog’s temperament as well. Meaning, the dog develops a go anywhere, do anything, go with the flow overall personalities.
It won’t override genetics. In other words, guarding genetics are still guarding genetics. What it does do is make sure that the guarding genetics are triggered by fear or anxiety.
If you are interested in learning more about puppy socialization, nitty-gritty you can read the book I wrote on the topic – Socialize Your Puppy For Everything (eBook) by John Wade
If in your travels to find training for your puppy you have encountered offerings referring to ‘puppy socialization classes’ you may find the following interesting reading, and your confidence that you have found here the correct training for your puppy will no doubt increase.
What Socialization Is And Isn't
True socialization – the sort that produces temperaments exhibiting wide-ranging confidence in an adult dog has two elements. The first is timing. A dog’s critical socialization period occurs from 3 – 12 weeks of age (+/- 1 week) and most classes for reasons associated with immunizations, occur well after that.
Secondly, amongst many other things, a puppy’s critical socialization imprint period is by design intended to strengthen a puppy’s dog to dog socialization skills via interaction with ongoing daily contact with familiar dogs. The last thing a puppy needs to be socialized with is strange puppies or dogs, for one hour, once a week.
Puppies that go to these weekly classes come out with one of three perspectives:
- Experiences that have no notable impact on dog-to-dog socialization as that period is well past.
- Experiences that may lead them to believe that unfamiliar dogs they meet in the future may bully them.
- Experiences that contribute to the notion that they can get away with bullying dogs that they only meet occasionally or are entirely unfamiliar.
These classes are not worth the risk. They are also an indication that the person promoting them has an inadequate grasp of at least one aspect and quite possibly other aspects of canine development, learning theory, etc., and a huge one at that. These classes are almost always promoted by dog trainers that buy a puppy’s attention with treats.
While treat-based training can influence behavior (think Shamu in the aquarium) the approach was never intended as the foundation for teaching or learning life-skills for real-world (non-aquarium) life scenarios. In other words, your home and neighborhood. Excellent for tricks, but I’m guessing you want more from your dog.
Scott and Fuller’s research showed that dog-to-dog socialization imprinting occurs between 3 – 6 weeks of age in the litter, through interactions with their mother, and to a far lesser extent in some cases, regular pack members and littermates and NEVER unfamiliar representatives from their species but outside their day to day opportunities to interact.
Were the opportunity available, exposing your puppy to stable, familiar puppies and adult dogs, day after day would be a very different story. Even after, the 3-6 week range passes, this sort of exposure contributes to the maintenance of dog to dog social skills.
The path we chose depends on the current age of your puppy:
- Up To 12 Weeks Of Age
- Between 12 Weeks And 9 Months
If Your Puppy Is Under 12 Weeks of Age
Temperament development is so essential and the imprint period so short that I will not be waiting until we meet to get things moving in the right direction. The earlier the start on house and crate training the better as well. As a result, rather than wait until we meet I will be forwarding in in advance of our appointment:
- Puppy Socialization Cheat Sheet (based on my book, Socialize Your Puppy for Everything – John Wade (eBook)
- House Training Cheat Sheet (3X/day in one spot by 16 weeks) (Also based on one of my books – How To Housetrain A Puppy – John Wade (eBook)
- Crate Training For Sanctuary Association And To Combat Separation Anxiety – Cheat Sheet
You can use the provided cheat sheets as templates to immediately begin the positive imprinting, house, and crate training of your puppy, taking note of any areas where your puppy may need some attention. If you have concerns or questions you do not have to, nor should you wait to contact me. This is such an essential contributor to your puppy’s future life I will provide you with my full attention to equipping your puppy with a fantastic temperament, house training and a sanctuary association with his or her crate.
If Your Puppy Is Between 12 Weeks And 9 Months Of Age
If your puppy is now past 12 weeks of age and certain aspects of social imprinting were left out you may or may not notice any potential problems. Part of the service I provide and recommend is to proceed as if your dog were in its imprinting period. While we may not influence temperament from the perspective positive or neutral imprinting, we can in most instances get ahead of a path that more often than not leads to over-reactivity that ultimately impacts the quality of life.
We’ll check for common areas where your puppy might have future social difficulties and by being proactive keep things from getting out of hand so that your puppy can still grow up to be reasonably confident in your home and be able to go out and about with you as frequently as possible when exposed to various social triggers.
No More - One Hour A Week, Week After Week (after week) - You’re Taught To Teach Far More Efficiently (And Conveniently)
The ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free…’ and ‘Might Is Right’ approaches to companion puppy training embrace a model where companion puppy owners must attend classes once a week for one hour at a time for on average. 6 weeks and at which time participants are encouraged to sign up for another ‘level’ and then another etc. As mentioned earlier this environment and approach provide little to no context, next to zero personal attention and progress is dictated by the lowest common puppy or puppy owner denominator. We’ll be using a far more effective approach, one that I’ve been using successfully for close to thirty years.
Part One - Our Session
First, we meet at your home. Unless we are working with a puppy with extraordinary behavior issues, it is extremely rare that we will need to meet again. However, our session lasts for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. During that session, we will be covering what you will find listed immediately below and charting a path forward tailored for you and your puppy.
- I will assess your puppy, review your wish list to determine how to best structure your custom program.
- You will learn how your puppy sees the world and makes decisions as to who is the teacher and who is the student and how to use that to powerful advantage. (Hint, not force or treats.)
- You will also learn that a puppy, like a child, is determining whether you are actively teaching or not and comparatively speaking that’s a lot of learning time that if left to chance makes life skill learning open to undermining and success in training less likely. As a result, you will be learning everything that influences your puppy’s perceptions and how to address these potential influences proactively so that your training efforts are not undermined.
- We intersperse hands-on training with learning how dogs see the world by demonstrating practical ways to reinforce the relationship and learning of life-skills, having Q&A’s, etc. This allows your puppy to take appropriate breaks.
- You will learn, first as I demonstrate, and then hands-on as I coach you, how to teach the three most useful skills (‘Stay,’ ‘Come’ and “Heel.’) using practical applications, in areas such as the doorway, the kitchen, the stairs, etc.
- You will also learn how to plant seeds for later harvesting regarding other skills that may be desirable once the foundation skills are learned. Often these skills are given too much weight too soon making it harder on both the dog and the owner. If obedience competitions are in your future the time investment a little later in training will be appropriate but for the short term teaching a puppy to stay on a mat as opposed to, sit, then down, then stay on the mat is an unnecessary complication. One sets you and the puppy up for success, the other more often than not leave both feeling like failures because in all likely hood failure was the result. Early stages, we will allow your puppy the option to sit, down or stand on the mat. Far less room to fail and far greater room to succeed and learn what is expected. These add-ons, initially extraneous exercises are typically things such as:
- You will learn when and how to introduce distractions typical to life in and around a home.
- Doorbells and door knocking
- Kitchen etiquette
- Yard etiquette
- Guests arriving and departing
- Squirrels, other dogs, etc.
- And much more.
At about midpoint in our session, you will either believe I’ve slipped your puppy a sedative, a smart pill or performed an exorcism as you will see a marked improvement in your puppy’s overall behavior very quickly, both when I am handling your puppy and when you are handling your puppy. However, as impressive as this will be, my goal is not to impress you, but to impress upon you the aspects of handling and training that bring about these changes naturally without the need for treats or submission. Why? Because it is almost a certainty that two hours after I’ve departed that your puppy will come out of his or her ‘trance’ to one extent or another and if I’ve done my job during our session you’ll know precisely why and know how to respond.
Part of our session is to make sure we tailor your step by step training goals for realistic progress. It varies from puppy to puppy but generally speaking the path from where you’re currently at, to where you want to reasonably, reliably be, is approximately 3 months with the following breakdown.
Incredible Post-Appointment Support - ’Trainer On Retainer’ No-Charge Followup
Part Two - Support To Success - ‘Trainer On Retainer’ Followup
The Day After Our Appointment
The morning following our session you will receive a detailed written review of our session that includes the exercises recommended broken down into manageable steps.
Day Two After Our Appointment
A text message to verify that the followup notes arrived and were not swallowed up by a spam or junk filter.
Day Three After Our Appointment
Day Ten After Our Appointment
Day Ten is often a milestone day, and you will receive another email to check in to make sure of the following:
- Your puppy will have gently eased over from thinking that you’re a roommate towards understanding that you’re a loving teacher. As a result, you’ll be working less hard.
- Your puppy will noticeably far more often, be taking, ‘You’re Warm!/You’re Cold!’, cues based on your tone and body language alone. Again, as a result, you’ll be working less hard.
- You will have started to see more frequent and lingering glimmers of the results that you saw during our initial session and what you have in mind regarding your long term obedience goals.
- Your puppy will have begun to understand what you mean regarding ‘Stay,’ ‘Come’ and “Heel,’ and the implied ‘No Matter What’ to develop in the days ahead.
Day Twenty-One After Our Appointment
As you will learn in our session, we will be dividing your training into digestible chunks. One of those divisions is learning that because it is where you spend the most time with your puppy your home and yard are your most significant areas of influence. The first thirty days of your training focuses on laying a foundation of who is the teacher and who is the student and what you mean when you say, ‘Stay,’ ‘Come’ and “Heel.’ You will have learned why it’s best to and how to avoid undermining and undoing your efforts during ‘field trips’ (also known as walks.) We don’t try to teach children to do Calculus at the gateway of Disney Land for a reason. We set both the teacher and the student up for tears and failure.
However, generally by the time Day, Thirty Arrives you will be ready for planned field trips. These are training excursions intended to introduce the realities of occurrences and distractions that arise on typical walks and other outings. On Day Twenty-One you will receive an email that provides a review of how we will be approaching the one by one introduction of real-world distractions, starting on Day Thirty. Day Thirty is when your puppy should clearly understand that you are the teacher and he or she is the student and what ‘Stay,’ ‘Come’ and “Heel,’ mean (‘No Matter What’) in the context of your home and yard.
Day Thirty After Our Appointment
These are the field trip days referred to and planned for in Day Twenty One’s email. The goal will be that by the end (day ninety) we will have produced a dog trained to behave in, around and outside the home, ‘No Matter What.’
Day Thirty To Day Ninety After Our Appointment
These are the field trip days referred to and planned for in Day Twenty One’s email. The goal will be that by the end (day ninety) we will have produced a dog trained to behave in, around and outside the home, ‘No Matter What.’
'Trainer On Retainer' - After Our Appointment
In addition to all the followup mentioned above, you are asked to embrace what I refer to as ‘’Trainer On Retainer’ access to me. This means that at no extra charge you will be encouraged to contact me with any questions, large or small as frequently as you feel the need whether that’s several times a day, day after day or months down the road.
Video - After Our Appointment
I have learned with the advent of smartphones that whereas a picture is worth a thousand words a video is the fastest and most effective way to get answers to training hurdles. As a result, part of what we will be discussing during our session is when to send video and what each video should contain.
+ Your Wish List
While ‘Stay,’ ‘Come’ and “Heel’ should be priorities you will no doubt have some priorities of your own that have accumulated and are based on your experience living with your puppy.
When you book your appointment, you will receive a link to download a ‘Wishlist’ Template. Pop it on the fridge or someplace handy and as they come to mind write down things such as:
- I wish my puppy would learn to…
- I wish my puppy would learn to stop doing this …
- Good Lord, I hope my puppy never even thinks of doing this …
When we get together, we’ll review your wishlist and make sure all of your goals are addressed by building them into your personalized program.