Everyone has an opinion

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by yvonne, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. yvonne Well-Known Member

    On asking a girl I know how her puppies were progressing, she told me they were doing really well.

    "How is the training coming along?" I asked her.

    "Oh that" she said "Ive decided not to train them until they are much older, I think its wrong to deprive dogs of their 'puppyhood' They should be free to enjoy life until they are much older"

    Forum member opinions please ..

  2. shaktishiloh Well-Known Member

    Well...what your friend decided is based on her personal opinion. The fact is that puppies start learning at the very early stage of their lives and they actually programmed to learn very early. In the wild the wouldn't survive if they were too "take their time and enjoy their puppyhood" without learning. I would never work against Mother Nature because things were "designed" this way for a reason. Puppyhood is FILLED with learning, observing, trying new things, exploring in nature. Puppies learn new things just when they play.

    Another thing is that if you have a puppy that is growing fast and is going to be big, than "good luck" with waiting for a puppy to reach maturity level (which for some breeds is 2 or even 3 years of age) :msngiggle: Seriously though - the belief that the dogs don't need training early on is one of the reasons there are so many dogs abandoned in the shelters with a label "unrealistic expectation" (of the owner that is ;)).

    Last but not least, I don't know what your friend's idea of training is, but to me and to Shakti, training is the most cherished and enjoyable time that we spend together, bond, share, learn from each other and have fun! :msnparty: :dogsmile:That's something that I would never deprive my dog of. :dognowink: My fondest memories are thouse when little Shakti was learning her very first skills and tricks and I would exclaim to my husband with excitement and joy "Look what we learned today!" :msngiggle: :doglaugh: A good trainer makes it so a dog can't tell the difference between "training" and "playing" and so a dog learns how to LOVE being trained. A dog's mind is a terrible thing to waste in my opinion.

    People will always have strong opinions about things like dog training, so the best advice I can give you is to READ, READ, READ about all kinds of points of view and research the facts on your own (like you're already doing) and then decide on your own what you think is the best thing for a dog.

    Oh - once when Shakti was a young puppy I was criticized by a complete stranger that I was walking Shakti on a leash as supposedly she was too young to walk on a leash... :dogwacko: I don't know what was this lady's idea of walking a dog and socializing a dog without a leash and she didn't have any suggestions - just the criticism and this lady's opinion that wasn't based on any facts.

    There are things that you have to be careful with young puppies because of some physical reasons - for example with agility training (especially with jumping), but I don't know if your friend meant that kind of training or just basic manners, obedience, social skills, etc.

    I hope this helps...
  3. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Hi Lexi

    Thanbks for your reply!

    The girl in question isnt my friend just someone who stables her pony on the same yard as my horses.

    She has two lab bitches, litter sisters in fact and wow are they growing fast!

    I am not sure if she was having a 'pop' at me for training Dude but I lost all respect for her when she told me was having to discipline 'bad' behaviour by smacking the girls across the nose. They were only 12 weeks old at the time all this began.

    Anyway I agree with you, Dude loves the time we spend together learning new things and discovering each other so I say begin gentle training as soon as possible. Their minds are like little sponges absorbing knowledge.

    Again thanks for your response :)
  4. Jean Cote Administrator

    If it were me, I would train the puppy the first day it came in my house. :dogsmile:

    But to be completely honest ... if she isn't going to train the puppy now, she most likely never will. It takes time, energy and dedication to train a dog. And unfortunately the majority of dog owners aren't committed to train their dog. Whether they say that they don't know how, or their dog is not smart enough, or that they don't want to rob the dog from puppy hood ... it is usually just an excuse to justify not being committed.

    The only thing you can do now is to continue training your dog and maybe she will take interest. :)
  5. shaktishiloh Well-Known Member

    ABSOLUTELY! :) Puppies' minds are like flowers. They need plenty of sun, water and TLC (mental stimulation, interaction, having plenty of new experiences) to blossom and if they can't get it they're going to wilt... It's the owner's responsibility to fill those young minds with knowledge, positive experiences and new skills.

    Hmmm...this lady seems going to 2 different extremes if she's choosing between smacking a 12 week old puppy and giving the puppies "total freedom" by not training them and teaching them the basics ...That's sad!

    Good luck with training Dude! :) Have fun! :)
  6. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I'm of the 'straight from the first day' school of thought. Without exception, the most talented dogs that I see are those that have had their focus and their mental agility tested and expanded from the earliest opportunity. I never cease to be amazed at how much people can accomplish with their dogs in those first few weeks of life if they put the effort in.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Mud wasn't trained until she was 3 years old, when I got her, and she's fantastic...but, if I had had her as a puppy, she would be eons ahead of where she is now. I started the boys as soon as I got them and I don't regret it a bit. That's like saying, "Well, my son needs to enjoy childhood and just let him be a kid. So he's not going to start school until he's 16."

    If you applied this to horses, you'd be screwed. Horses kind of have a shut off point, unlike dogs...past 5-6 years old, training gets pretty tough. It is entirely possible, but they just won't be as responsive and predictable as a horse trained right from the start. Every natural horse trainer that you speak to will agree that covering all the bases and groundwork as a foal helps develop a well-rounded horse and make under saddle training much easier. Imprinting, a process that involves exposing the foal to many different noises and the like during the first week of life, is a very controversial horse issue. It's a very touchy, sensitive, and somewhat difficult concept to grasp, and if it is done incorrectly, the horse can easily have problems---creating a disrespectful, pushy horse. BUT, if the process is done correctly and the trainer continues training carefully and correctly, you end up with a horse who is calm, trusting, and predictable. I havev an almost 3 year old filly who we raised from the ground up.

    She was imprinted at birth and I have continued working with her pretty much all her life. Horses are prey animals, and scare easily with noises, objects, and many things that you just wouldn't think about. If you desensitize your horses to these things, they learn not to fear them. My filly is more bombproof than any of the aged horses I have ever owned. Even at her very young age, nothing frightens her. She has nerves of steel. We recently started under saddle training(she's very, very small, so I held off until closer to 3 years old so I was certain her knees and back were strong enough for this kind of training), and she has never once bucked. She readily accepted the saddle and is generally just doing fantastic. I am a firm believer in imprinting, and when done correctly, the end result is a horse like her.

    All animals, humans included, are programmed to learn at an early stage. Of course, animals learn things throughout their lives, but the youngest years are when they can absorb things best. Interacting with their pack members(family--YOU) is fun for pups. It's a part of puppyhood that they enjoy, provided you make yourself a nice person to be around. Training is fun if you can make it that way. If you can't, then you probably aren't enjoying it either and you probably need to learn a thing or two.
  8. stormi Well-Known Member

    I'm with the others who have already replied. I start 'training' my dog as soon as I get it.

    I didn't get Breeze as a young puppy and I often wonder what she would be like now if I had got her at 8 weeks and she had been able to start her 'training' then. I get quite sad sometimes when I think how much she/we missed out on and how much easier life may have been for her/how much stronger our bond may have been if I had found her sooner. Those few couple of months are sooo precious.

    It makes me so angry that the girl on your yard is smacking such young puppies, especially when it seems she hasn't made any effort to train them not to do X in the first place.

    Edited to add: there are some exercises/moves I wouldnt teach a young pup, but I still like to try to install a strong play drive and the 'basics'.
  9. xena98 Experienced Member

    I'm like everyone else. My puppy gets trained as soon as it sets foot in the house not obedience training etc but basic manners etc.Also learns about the clicker and the treats. Doing baby sits drops and stands luring and clicking but not giving a name to it puppy recalls having someone holding the puppy and calling introduction to the recall making it wait before it eats by having someone hold it for a couple of seconds. just lots of things but keeping it fun so it grows into a lovely pet dog that is a joy to own. sorry about the ramblings people
    I have a 16 month old coolie and have been enjoying the training with her
    Danni and the girls
  10. snooks Experienced Member

    Day one I agree. They are much easier to imprint at that age b/c their little brains are forming and they learn faster in those first few months than they ever will again. It's also a lot easier to leash train a 10 lb Lab gently than a 90 lb one. OY! Aside from that if you don't establish that relationship and define between dog and owner what is pleasurable and rewarding things will be harder over an entire lifetime.

    Can you imagine too if it sort of freaks out puppies to leash them the first time what it will do to an older dog with no experience with such. It seems most things will be more terrifying when introduced later like nail trims, ear cleaning, grooming. Puppyhood is the open window when their fear reponses aren't yet intact and they are exploring the world with a brazen confidence. To not take advantage of that window seems at the best woefully uninformed and at the worst not caring about the dog's mental well being.

    As for smacking a puppy for any reason.....oh don't get me started. That's just abuse.
  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Snooks that reminds me...lol...
    I used to work in a grooming salon, and I was training a new girl. Her first week one of her dogs was a 3 year old Lab who the owners had just started a training class with because they were having issues. The new girl was not small by any means--around 6 foot and a little heavyset. When she started washing him, he was...well, somewhat decent. He was scared at first but I showed her how to get him used to it and he calmed down. But the DRYER....oh the dryer....he nearly knocked her down trying to attack the dryer hose, and bit her hand trying to attack the hose. He tried to hurt himself attempting to get away from it and was generally just terrified by it. I was able to get him used to the hose, but not the sound. When he was calm and happy(and still wet) we put him in a kennel and let him dry there. Nail clipping and ear cleaning, now that was fun! Putting him in a kennel took about four people, he wanted none of that. When his owners arrived to get him, he jumped on them, happy to see them, and drug them out the door. Lol...definitely should've started early with him.

    We had another lab pup who they warned was terrible with nails. He was about 4 months old, but his owners and the vet had traumatized him with nail clipping, because they would hold him down while he was trying to thrash and bite and freak out. It took me about 20 minutes to get them done, but he wasn't scared and I didn't force him to accept it. An 8-month-old lab/heeler mix that came in had also had bad experiences with nail trims, and with the help of another salon person, we got him done in 15 minutes...also happily, without holding him down or yanking on him. From then on everytime he came in he was perfect.

    So yes...work with your puppies.

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