Keira 5 1/2 monthsby Jade Giuggio on 03/28/14
Keira -5 ½ months
I get lots of interest in people wanting to start training around 6 months old to a year. If you get your puppy sooner start sooner. Don’t wait until all the problems start to arise. I know lots of people adopt older dogs too and I love that, but start off on the right foot with your new dog. I started working with Keira at 8 weeks old and Fidelco did training with them before I even got her. Of course we start very simple and basic but that is the best way to start if you get your dog young. By 5 ½ months old Keira knows: sit, down, stand, come, stay, look, touch, close (her sitting between my legs facing out), down and under (which means to lay between my legs when I’m sitting in a chair), leave it, drop it, place, crate, get busy and more. Now I don’t spend all day working on these things. I spend a few minutes throughout the day working with her and then I use every day rewards such as food, toys, play time, attention and walk to reinforce good behavior. She hasn’t had an accident in at least a month and lets me know when she needs to go outside. She may pick up the occasional towel or clothing but most of the time she brings them to me. She hasn’t destroyed any furniture or tried to jump on my counters. And the reason is because I don’t give her the opportunity and I give her enough to do or play with. Dogs, especially breeds like German Shepherds, like to have a job. If they feel like they don’t have one, they will find one. And I promise it will be a job you hate like chewing your couch or trying to grab everything on your counters.
She goes into her crate with just a verbal command or hand signal. I may get a whine or two then immediately knows to settle down and relax. She almost never jumps but in times where she is overexcited I still have to work on her. But I never allowed or encouraged it so it definitely is no issues with me or my husband. She lets me clip her nails and check her mouth out. Walking is going well but in times she can struggle. Once she has her “working jacket” on she is a pro and behaves very nicely. I also understand that she is still a puppy. She needs to be goofy and just play. There are times when I break play and do some quick training and there are times when I just let her be a dog and explore and sniff.
There are still things she needs to learn especially
for a guide dog, but she has already learned so much in such a small amount of
time. With her continuing to grow up, there
are things that we work on to build her confidence and exposure. I let her investigate things she may be
unsure about like a plastic bag blowing in the wind. Sometime we just sit outside and I let her take in the
sights and sounds of the world around her. I look forward to taking her new places with the warmer
weather and watching her learn.