Daily Archives: April 12, 2009

Puppy Training 101

I am proud to say that Raven is learning things very quickly. She knows that potty happens outside (not in the house), she has learned to sit, down, off, come, stand, shake, drop it (with regard to letting go of what is in her mouth), don’t touch (50% of the time with regard to food), leave it (70% of the time with the cats…if they are not moving, but close to 100% of the time with other stuff, like electrical wires), and be nice (when taking food from our hands). Today she was doing a nice job with heel with lots of reminders and using a treat. Below are some photos of her during obedience training (photos are clickable to enjoy a larger view):

donttouch0001 “Don’t Touch”

down010001 “Down”

sit0001 “Sit”  – with a little help from Argus

I get asked often how I can train a puppy these basic commands within such a short period of time. It is really not hard to do; it just takes commitment and consistency. I follow Sirius Puppy training techniques, but any POSITIVE training technique which consistently rewards behavior is effective. I don’t use choke collars or prong collars; I don’t yell at Raven; I never strike her. If Raven does something I don’t want her to do, I tell her “no” and re-direct her to something positive that I can reward. I also use a puppy play pen:


Yes, it is ugly, but it is effective. When Raven gets out of control or is not listening, a time out in her pen (with her toys) helps her to settle down.It is not punishment, but re-direction and setting boundaries (just like with kids!).

The basic rules of puppy training are:

  1. Keep it short
  2. Keep it fun
  3. Keep it positive

I use special, yummy treats to train – and later, when Raven has the commands down perfectly, I will wean off of treats and just use praise or play. Raven and I train together every day for very short (less than 10 minute) sessions, 2 or 3 times a day. She loves it because she is spending time with me, she gets lots of praise and we play together in the process. I try to reinforce the training throughout the day by carrying treats in my pocket and taking advantage of those times when Raven does something terrific to reward her (for example, earlier today she walked up to the cats who were snoozing on the rocking chair, stopped, gave a little toss of her head and turned away from them – I rewarded her immediately with a “GOOD leave it!” and a tasty treat). Most puppies will do exactly what you want all on their own at least a few times a day giving you a chance to reinforce positive behavior (example: they will come happily up to you to say hello – a perfect “come” – and even though you didn’t ask for it, go ahead and reward it by saying “GOOD come!” and offering a treat).

Training time is one of my favorite parts of having a new puppy – it is an excellent way to bond with your dog and it can be a lot of fun. I am planning to enroll Raven in a puppy daycare and training class run by a certified trainer – not because I don’t know how to train her, but because it is a good opportunity for socialization with other dogs and people.

If you have some fun success stories with your dog, I would love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment!

butttuck0001 play0001

Sunday Salon – April 12, 2009

Sunday Salon

April 12, 2009

Good morning to all of you! I hope you had a wonderful week and for those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you are having a joyous celebration.

contemplative0001 (click on photo to enlarge) Raven Update: She is growing by leaps and bounds (I just changed her food to one for large breed puppies to help control that a bit because I think she is growing a little too fast). Last night was a breakthrough…she only woke up ONCE! Ah, I long for a night I get to sleep without disturbance. Her training is coming along well – she is actually starting to get the idea that chasing cats does not pay off.

This week was busy, but I did manage to do some quality reading. I posted a review of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady along with a guest post by her about how to get the most out of reading short stories. I also finished reading Buffalo Lockjaw by Greg Ames (read my review) which is a tough, but well written book. I am giving away an Advance Reader’s Edition of this book on April 14th – so there is still time to throw your name in the hat. Go to this post and leave me a comment.

My current read is The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. It is set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1991 with flashbacks to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The novel uncovers a mystery surrounding a woman named Deliverance Dane…and of course it involves the witch trials. So far I am enjoying the book. Look for a review by mid-week.

I’ve done a little housekeeping on my blog. The categories are now listed via a drop down menu in the left sidebar. I also updated my Library Thing widget and you can click on any book listed there and get a snapshot of my rating and review…it is also in the left sidebar near the bottom of the page.

Do you follow the Orange Prize award? This month the long list for the Orange Prize for Fiction AND the short list for the Orange Award for New Writers were both announced. Have you read any of these books?

Lastly, I want to say thank you to those bloggers who flattered me with awards in the last couple of weeks:

splash-award The Splash Award for ‘blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress, or inspire you.‘ Thank you to Rebecca from Lost in Books who sent this award my way…I feel the same way about your blog!

loveblog I Love Your Blog award came to me from Kristi at Books and Needlepoint. Thank you Kristi – I have been loving your blog for quite some time now!

zombieThe Zombie Chicken Award (I love this one!!) bequeathed to me by three wonderful bloggers: Jeane at Dog Ear Diary, Vasilly at 1330V AND Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit. Here is what this award is all about:

“The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…”

Thank you so much Jeane, Serena, and Vasilly…and because I do not want to enrage any zombie chickens, I will send this award on to five of the over 300 blogs I read and love:

Staci at Life in the Thumb

Kristen at BookNAround


Katherine at Nonsuch Book

Sheri at A Novel Menagerie

These are just some of the wonderful blogs I read each day – if you haven’t checked out their content, please do!

Whatever you have planned for today, I hope it is filled with good people and good books…