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Kinda long post...


We just got Toby, and believe he is only 6 weeks old(I thought that was to young to be away from the litter but to late now). Anyways, he has taken to the crate with no issues. He is very smart and is starting to pick up things like come, outside, inside, sit... when is it ok to actually start training him? Is there any good sites I can look at to get more ideas on training? I have read the book good owner great dog and think I understand the basics but who knows. Thanks in advance for the help, I am sure I will have more questions.


There is pics in the picture section...




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First, it's really best to wait on anything until he's fully protected against the worst contagious diseases - after he's had his last shots or when your holistic vet deems him fully protected.


After that, it depends on what you plan to do with him later. If he's destined for something fairly informal or, on the opposite end of the scale, very high pressure like stock training or assistance work - then the best advice I've heard is keep it low key until pup grows up. Let him take the lead in play - lots of romping and rolling around in the dirt and exploring.


All this natural activity grows their brains and helps them start putting all the pieces of the world outside them, and the world inside their heads, together. He's like a human baby - you wouldn't start teaching a two year old to read or do calculus (well most people wouldn't) or play soccer. You wouldn't force a six month old to stand and walk.


Keep his activities appropriate to his age. He shouldn't do anything repetitive or high-impact until around one year to two years old (that includes repetitive running up and down stairs). Don't put a lot of training pressure on him until he's past the basic fear stages, around six or seven months old. Do teach him "No," however - make a few rules and enforce them (no chewing shoes, wait for you at doorways, no jumping out of the car without being asked, no chasing the cat).


If he's destined for something less formal like sports, then you can introduce some of the basics in a very natural way, anytime. Check out information online, classes offered in your area, and incorporate some of the techniques into your playtime. There are fun games that shape basic obedience, tracking, agility, and even flyball behaviors. If he retrieves naturally, play with him (no jumping though) - but don't force it. Teach him to walk on a loose leash and be consistent about it.


A mistake people make at this point is to get too caught up in a single aspect of formal training, when this is really the time to expand horizons, meet lots of different types of people, go places, explore the world together. The most important lesson he can learn right now is that no matter what happens or where you two are, you always expect the same from him - ie, he can be confident where his boundaries lie no matter what.

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By the way, in case anything thinks I'm not sympathetic to the temptations of having such a smart pup - my not quite eight week old pup is rounding up the ducks in my front yard. She's a holy terror - I spent a total of three hours today amusing her so she'd sleep some tonight. Yeah, it's very tempting knowing that I could wear out her little brain by starting her working those ducks tomorrow - but I really don't think it's quite natural. I burned out one pup by trying to train too early and I think it's better to go through the inconvenience of amusing a Border Collie pup, than to do that again.


There are others who think otherwise on starting formal training early, I know - especially in "other breeds". However, that mile and a half of romping in the woods is better for my New Year's weight loss resolution. :rolleyes:

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I started Tess learning stuff the day I brought her home at 7.5 weeks old. I think I spent 5-10 minutes a day doing training stuff with rewards and cues and split that up into 3-4 sessions a day of about 2-3 minutes each or something.


Letting a puppy be a puppy is very important, but there is no reason you cannot start training now.


By the time Tess was in her first puppy class at 11 weeks old, she knew sit, down, shake, and "where's Roger?" (my husband) pretty reliably. I wish I had ignored everyone who told me to wait on "come" and "heel." Those two would have saved me a lot of grief if she knew them inside-out like she knows sit, down, and shake! Even just 2 minutes a day then would have made such a huge difference now.


Just my perspective. (:


Allie & Tess

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Hi, I am a Certified Pet Trainer, and have an almost 4 mo. old BC. I brought him home at 7 weeks old, let him become comfy with his new home and our other critters, and began his basic obedience training, immediately. I make sure to let him be a puppy, but there is no reason to wait for the basics. Come, sit, stay, wait and walk nice on the leash. These can all be incorporated into your daily routines as well, with about 10 min 2-3 times a day set aside for specific training. If your puppy loses interest make training time shorter and increase as he/she gets older. It is important to expose your puppy to as many new positive experiences as possible by about age 4-5 months (max). I try to expose Phoenix to at least 1 new experience per day. Meeting and seeing people of all ages, races dressed in uniforms, hats etc. in many different settings. It is important to make sure your pup has all or at least most of his puppy vaccinations, however, (DO NOT WAIT! to start his socializing). If you are in an area where many dogs have been, carry your puppy to meet people. Let others handle him/her and/ or give him/her a small treat. Do not force any experience your puppy is afraid of, keep it positive and happy.

I also highly recommend a book called

"The Dog Whisperer", by Paul Owens... This book is based on Positive Feedback/Reward Based Training (which is what I do). It is a very easy book to read and understand and it's fun reading too. There are alot of good books out there, just make sure to keep it positive and reward based. Training helps you develope a close bond with your puppy, never leave him/her with someone else to train, you do it, make it fun!

Love them BC'S JoeAnne and Phoenix

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