There are lots of ways to develop these relationships with your puppies through play, cuddles, feeding, exercise, spending quality time together and of course reward based training!
Working through training challenges and learning together is a great way to build, improve and strengthen those all-important relationships, with the added benefit of improving communication and teaching some manners.
For me, I start by teaching a hand touch. This is where, when presented with a hand at puppy’s level and asked to ‘TOUCH’ the puppy will run up and touch the hand with their nose. This might seem like a strange choice but is has a few huge benefits.
• Hands are good – This helps puppies understand that an outstretched hand is nothing to fear and helps create great associations with hands.
• Foundations – A hand touch can then be used to teach all sorts of different behaviours and tricks, from competitive heelwork to doggy dancing, and many things in between.
It’s super simple to teach!
1) Offer an open hand out to the side of the puppy’s face.
2) When puppy turns their head and contacts your hand say ‘YES’ and give them a treat.
3) Gradually start offering your hand further away so the puppy needs to move toward your hand to touch it.
4) Once your puppy can move a few paces to your hand, start to say the word ‘TOUCH’ just before you offer your hand down to your dog.
• Don’t give treats with the same hand you’re asking the dog to touch, else you’ll get a lot of licking rather than nose touching.
• Don’t be tempted to move your hand toward the puppy once you offered it, else they will learn to wait for you to touch their nose.
• If your puppy doesn’t respond, remove your hand and retry. Don’t just leave it there to become boring.
And remember, if it’s not fun for both you and the dog, you’re doing it wrong.
with his dog Sydney