Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rainy day: What to do with puppy Melissa?

It began raining late last night. It was still raining this morning when we woke. It is still raining mid-afternoon. What do to with puppy Melissa? Besides putting her meals into interactive toys such as Kongs and the Twist and Treat by Premier, I have done a lot of hand feeding and training today. A few days after Melissa came to live with us, I began clicker training her. For more info on clicker training visit I am focusing on behaviors I would like Melissa to repeat. I am capturing and reinforcing any thing she does that I would like for her to do again. For example: She began to lift her right paw. So I clicked and treated that. Behaviors that are reinforced will be repeated. Guess what? Melissa is now offering the paw lift more and more. This morning I began putting a name to it, 'wave' just as she was lifting her paw. Click and treat. I'm having fun, her mind is engaged, she has something to do.

By focusing on the good stuff our dogs do, it puts us in a different frame of mind. Look for the good stuff, and either ignore the unwanted behavior or manage things so they can't do the bad stuff. Telling a dog 'No' is not giving them any information...remember that our dogs do not come to us knowing the English language. By focusing and rewarding the good stuff, Melissa is becoming more attentive and focused on me. A dog that is focused on you and knows what is expected of her will be calmer.

Rainy day? No problem. Hand feeding during training sessions, interactive toys, lots of bones for Melissa to chew on, and several 2 to 3 minute training sessions spread out through out the day makes for one tired puppy.

Got a question about your puppy? Write me at If you want your question published let me know and I will include it in this blog along with an answer so everyone with a new puppy can benefit.

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