• Emily Huckstep

Blog 2: The Training Adventure Begins

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to part two of this little dog series. One of the things on my mind is training puppies since I have a new addition coming in about two weeks. While this puppy will be quite different from my current avenue (he will be a border collie…gasp!), the initial training will be similar. There will be a few different things, which is why I’d like to discuss training puppies this time around. (The next post will be about the younger to older dogs.)

When I got my first German shepherd puppy, I admittedly had no clue what I was doing. I was thrilled to get in with a kennel club for training since group classes seemed like the perfect outlet for my puppy’s energy. In a way, I was right. In another way, I was completely wrong.

I train to have competition dogs. When I’m selecting a puppy or young dog as a new addition, I look for decent drive, great confidence, and a happy personality. If the puppy has these attributes, I can typically mold it into the dog I want with the proper socialization, training, and drive building.

When I take my puppies out for adventures, I take them across different surfaces. I carry a treat bag so I can reward the puppy for coming back to me at any point, especially if I have the puppy off lead at a playground or in an area that isn’t populated. I like for puppies to see me as a resource instead of a person from whom he or she should run. Confidence should allow the puppy to propel itself across any area, which I always love to watch.

Good drives come into play with protection work. As baby puppies (as I call them), they are learning to chase a rag and play games. The puppy will get slightly frustrated as it attempts to catch the rag on the end of a horse whip, for example, as the rag is whipped from side to side. After a couple of misses, the puppy gets a “win” at which time it will grasp and possess the rag. It’s amazing to see how little prey games like these evolve into much greater skills.

Now, you might be wondering why I said getting into that kennel club’s obedience group was good and bad. In this whole post, you never once saw me make mention of a single command. The puppy is exploring, playing, learning, and building drive. Commands are useful, as you’ll learn…just not at this point.


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