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Training tips for off leash group play

to prepare your puppy for our program.

Training tips for off leash group play

to prepare your puppy for our program.

Especially if you're looking to have your puppy become a future pack member at our company. Training is an investment, and just like with the stock market an early investment can pay big whereas a late one comes up short. 

In my blog post, The Importance Of Puppy Training, I explain how during this short window their brain undergoes the most development that will occur over their entire lifespan. If deprived of stimulation they will have a smaller brain, and if given plenty you can directly influence the rest of their lives.  Couple that with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviors' recommended socialization window closing at 12 weeks and there's every reason in the world to start your gameplanning early. 

Your training needs to start early.

Early doggiehood development:


Many puppy owners that contact me ask some form of the question, "When should we start with your services?" My recommendation is as early as you feel comfortable because of the importance of the socialization window.


Socialization, which should absolutely be changed to societization, is the process of preparing a dog to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities. According to the AVSAB' position statement, the socialization window refers to a brief, early period in a puppies life in which "sociability outweighs fear. This is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences. Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Behavioral problems are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond"...."While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, the combination of maternal immunity, primary vaccination, and appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small." 

Tips for getting started with training:

Just like with any training regimen it's important to start small and doable. When you work with a personal trainer in the gym they teach you the mechanics with an empty weight bar. If they gave you too much weight without first teaching form you'd hurt yourself. Similarly you wouldn't want to start working with your dog around distractions before first putting in the mechanics at home. 

To teach dogs we take complicated tasks and break them down into smaller steps to allow them to experience being successful without asking them for more than they can give us at that time. Never work to exhaustion or boredom and force them to train, which isn’t fun and creates a bad association with it. Be fun and entertaining. Make them want to work with you. Don't just use treats. Use tug toys, ball, and play. Get involved. The process of engaging and earning the reward should be much more desirable than the actual food or toy itself! 

Perhaps most importantly, train. The biggest problem is that we rarely do it! In order to properly train yourself you've got to go to the gym. You've got to make it a habit. Similarly, dedicate time to training your dog. You'd be blown away by what 5 minutes a day for their first year would give you. Besides tricks and commands it would give you a dog who is ready and enthusiastic about listening and working with you, and that's really all we need. 

As I mention in my post, Off-Leash Training, you should start training for off leash as early as possible. Because of puppies’ anxieties of the big new world, the attachment issues they’ll have at their young age, their easily motivated nature, and their low sensory awareness, puppies have all the ingredients for turning an off leash walk into a cake walk.

Add a long line for safety and you should be able to practice as young as 10 weeks! Any hardware store sells strong, thin, sportsmans rope. Buy 50 feet, and cut it down to whatever size works for your outdoor spaces, like the park. Practice away from distractions at first but work toward them as your pup gets better.

Impulse Control is a great place to start.


Teach your dog that holding back it's impulses in exchange for what you want is more rewarding. Sit, lay down, and shake are super important, but don't stop there! 

Watch me. Teach your dog that eye contact with you is rewarding. Sustained eye contact can teach your dog focus, a lack of which is a huge detriment to their ability to learn out in our settings. I consider this one of the top 3 most important behaviors you can practice with your young dog. 

Stay. Everyone loves teaching their dogs stay, but few get it to a level where it works around distractions. The biggest tip I can give for stay is to go to the dog to treat them, to teach them to stay where they are. Most people call the dog out of a stay, but we want them to just staple their butt, so go to them for each rep. 

Walking on leash. This takes an incredible amount of impulse control. Once puppies get past the stage where they keep stopping everytime they feel tension on the line it's time to start teaching them to walk correctly on leash. A dog that can slow down to your cadence and follow your lead is setup for success. 

Training for the great outdoors starts indoors.

If you ever need anything it's all on YouTube these days!


Here's some vids to help you with puppy FAQs. 


These two vids may help with Housetraining: Part One. Part Two


Inappropriate behaviors: Stop puppy biting. Stop jumping on people. 


The basics done right: Sit, Down, Stand. Sit at a distance. Coming when called. Leave it.


Here's a video explaining long line training which can really strengthen coming when called. 


Training for calmness: Part One. Part TwoSettle Down/Relax.

There's plenty more where that came from. I love Tab289, KikoPup, and Zak George, but there's hundreds of other great trainers out there posting free videos. 

There's no video substitute for socialization, and if you're having trouble in that area call in us or another professional. Puppies need you to work with them early and often. These important windows close and never open again. Get started today. Call us if you need help with anything!

Professional dog walking dog walker dog boarding pet sitting dog sitting

We can start working with you and your puppy as soon as you get them to ensure they'll be able to come in and perform well in our program.

  • Call us very early on, even before you pick them up, to develop the gameplan.

  • Use us for potty visits during the day instead of leaving your work for them. 

  • We'll carefully introduce your puppy into one of our groups on leash. 

  • We'll work with you to make sure they're learning what they need to know to eventually come off leash. 

  • Get a free private training session with any walking package. 

I've heard enough. Sign me up, CH!

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