August 3rd 2013 1:30 pm
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I got my Miss Mae at 6 weeks old. It wasn't because the owners were getting rid of her early, they said she was 8 weeks old. Anyways, she had worms really bad, lost most of her tail hair, and some on her paws and her ears. The other dogs around didn't show signs of "mange" so I got her. Good thing, the first week I had her, after the vet check, she lost 1# due to loss of worms in her system.I fed her 4 times a day, because she had so many worms in her, she needed to be fed a lot. I still feed 2 times a day, these dogs are too active to just feed once a day in my opinion.
Things I did when I first got her. I established that I was alpha, by always making her sit each side of the door, except when we were going out to potty, I wanted her to go outside. She didn't know sit, but I still said the command a few times and then pushed her butt down and then said sit, and good girl afterwards in a happy voice. She only ever had a few accidents while playing with my mom's two older dogs, and she would play for 10 minutes and if I wasn't quick enough to catch her and take her outside she would go pee on the tile in the kitchen. She wouldn't pee on the carpet in the living room because that was where they were playing. I found that this breed is super easy and also a super clean dog when it comes to a puppy. She was in her kennel for 4/5 hours a few times the first few weeks I had her, and not one mess, and nothing chewed up or destroyed. At 3.5 months old, we left Southern Illinois to head back home to Alaska. Road trip of 4800 miles in 7 days... plenty of time to stop and wear out the pup, but she did awesome!
My advice: Voice tone is very important! Make a happy tone, and a "no" bad tone, that they will get use to!!!!!
1. Hand feed your pet for the first several months. It takes about 20-30 minutes to have them do something for you to get a few kibble. Repeat with what tricks they know, and improve their knowledge as they get older. They know you are the food source, and "alpha" then as well. Also, make them sit and wait before going to their food dish. I also made my Miss Mae come to me while she was eating, to show that food wasn't a priority, or something to be guarding. That she would always be able to go back and it be there. I would once or twice in a day, remove her food bowl while she was eating. This never showed her to be aggressive, and when she would go and sit back down on her bed, she would get her bowl back. (my mother thought this was mean, but after seeing how well it worked, now does it for her golden and king charles)
2. NEVER PLAY TUG-A-WAR! This makes them become the alpha in their mind, growling becomes a sign of I'm tough and will win, and because they always get their toy or shown attention in the end.
3. Make them sit before entry into a house, and they must let you go first through any door way, or up stairs. Mae started running to the top of the stairs and sitting and waiting, so I let that go and she had to sit and wait for me. Going down the stairs, she would always follow behind me several steps.
4. Exercise, exercise is understated! If your dog/pup isn't asleep in 30 minutes after being inside, they need to play more.
5. Your yard... just because you have a fenced yard, they will not go run around and play themselves out. I threw her tennis ball, or squirrel toy hundreds of times, and then when I was wearing down, she would grab a drink of water and want to keep going. On the bad days, i would run her down the road with my 6 wheeler to wear her out. Started at 1/2 mile, then by a few weeks we were up to 1.5 miles +/- depending on the temperature. If it was colder than 10*-15*F, I would run at a slower pace, to not hurt he lungs, but she would always be out in front running.
6. My best trick that I taught here, was to "pick up your toys". This let her know what was hers, and anything in the toy box was hers and hers alone! I never worried about shoes or boots or clothes. She would drag some dirty clothes out of the basket to bring to her bed to lay on from time to time, but never destroy them. Shredding toys was not allowed! This lets them know that destroying things is okay. If she would start to destroy a toy, I would take it away, and make her sit on her bed with the toy just off the bed. When her time out was done, she would have to bring me the toy and we would play with it nicely. A dog toy and normal human item/carpet isn't easy for them to know the difference like we do.
7. I started training her from the day I got her. At 7.5/9 months was when I stopped, just because I started packing, and she started to get a little nervous. By hand feeding her, and teaching her new tricks, she would pick up on them in 3 sittings usually. Sometimes it would take 3 days, but for the most part, she would be very eager to learn, because it was also feeding time.
8. Use the same person when training. If there are more than one person in the family, make sure that it is only the "trainer" and the pup in the room while this is all going on. That way they can focus, and not be distracted, nor see the other people as possible competition. They know they have 100% OF YOUR FOCUS AND TIME!
I think I have listed the commands that I have taught my genius, but here they are again.
Sit, stay, on your bed, kennel(used for time out when bad),lay down, high five and shake both hands, down,come, roll over and turn around both ways, up, speak, whisper, treat on nose or paws and wait for okay command, get your collar, "walk"-bring me two socks and collar, pull my socks off, pick up your toys, wait(while walking keeping her about 15 yards ahead of me, but some say never let them be ahead of you, its an alpha thing but I've had no problem), load up, show me your ta ta's(she would flip upside down while trying to learn roll over, so I made it into a party trick for her)a hit with everyone who sees her do it.
Anyways, I have her sit before and when she gets in/out of the truck. This was because we have moose in the yard in the winter time and I didn't want her to jump out and take off. I've left her alone about 10 times when I had injections in my back and others had to drive me to the appointment. These are the only times that she has stayed at home. The first few times I left her in her kennel, otherwise her kennel door always remained open, and was her place where she could go, or take her disgusting cow hoofer treats. I also taught "on your bed" when she is chewing on them or a bone, to keep the mess isolated to her bed, and not the floor. I never let her just free chew on these. I made these treats, like mine, and I would share them when she was good, in the evening time before bed. If she would sit and whine, she would not get rewarded. The best thing that I found for scolding her, was to tell her "no" with what ever she was doing wrong, one spank on the rear and then I would take her and put her into the bathroom with the door shut, light on. After 5 minutes, of doing things outside, making plenty of noise in the kitchen, and moving things around like I was really doing fun stuff, that she was missing out on, I would let her out, and then sit on the couch and watch tv and ignore her until she came up to me and sit beside me. She learned this quickly, and would then come and basically say, sorry. In 10 minutes following, if she would try and repeat the bad behavior, I would just say "No, go to your bed". This worked great, then I weaned her off going into the bathroom, and just "on your bed" she would go there and lay down with a sad puppy face. I would still get up and do my noisy things, but this time she could see me, and it was like a reward, for listening. But I make her sit before eating, yes, "on your bed" is a punishment and reward/wait for food command. She knows the difference because of the tone of voice that I use. I would have my alarms set for feeding times. She learned this, and would run and go sit on her bed. I had her sit there while I got her food and put it in her dish. Then after waiting different times up to 5 minutes, she had to come to me prior to eating. This was the routine after I stopped hand feeding her. She shows no food aggression, and if I ask her if she is hungry, or wants a treat, if she does, she will go right to her bed, if not, she will just come up to me and snuggle, as if to say not right now.
The hardest thing to break her of was jumping up on people. She is about a year old now, and we have finally broken that one I think. She is super friendly, and loves greeting people. She always has to sit on her bed when people come over, and if she heard the doorbell ring, she would run and sit on her bed whining and barking a few times. I didn't allow the barking, but let the whining go. When she would be told ok, she had to come and sit beside me before she could greet the people coming into MY house.
I can't say these methods will work with a rescue dog or older dog, but I have just picked up Daisy who is 5/7 months old and doesn't know a single command nor her name. She knows no a little but not instant drop or stop the bad behavior like I would like, but I am not going to start training her until a few weeks to a month where she will feel comfortable being here. In a little over a week, she is picking up on come, sit, and I'm sure that she thinks her name is " be gentle". She knows to sit and wait when I am preparing their food dishes, from learning from Mae. I've let the two growl and the other to establish that their food bowl is theirs, but with me, non is allowed and I can remove her bowl just fine, and she will sit right down and wait for about 10 seconds before she starts pawing, like hey give that back.
I am not a trained trainer, just doing what I want my dogs to do. They obey, I'm not mean with them, but it is a reward environment. I don't feed them a lot of treats, but sometimes I use their regular kibble as a treat. To them a treat is anything that is not breakfast or dinner, and they know its out of the blue, special. I used the clicker for a while with Mae, but learned that snapping works just as well, and I have yet to misplace my fingers. If we are outside, one snap is to stop, and 2 snaps is to come. I also am trying to associate hand signals with my commands, encase she/both may go deaf in their older age. That way they won't have to worry they will still know the routine and what is going on. I don't know what to do to prepare for blindness, other than Daisy there for Mae and vice versa, or just a companion that they know/trust in a familiar environment prior to blindness.