Eeek! Fisher had his first puppy training class last Saturday (so sorry for no Fisher Friday update last week). He did so well, we were some proud puppy parents!
We took Fisher to the PetSmart near our house after their trainer was highly recommended by some friends and boy are we happy with deciding to sign Fisher up. Our trainer, Bryce really knows what he’s doing (I would hope so). He had a strong connection with each of the six pups right away and I think I can speak for all of the puppy parents there when I say we were impressed.
I won’t explain the entire class in detail,(that would defeat the purpose of going to the training), but I’ll give you the gist from each week.
We came into the first class thinking, “Oh boy, Fisher is so advanced! He knows his name, he knows sit, he is potty trained, he knows lay down, leave it, up…we are going to have a star student on our hands!”….eh, kind of.
Fisher did do a super job for his first training, but we found out we were doing a lot of things that were counterproductive to his training and have to retrain him.
Positive/ Negative Reinforcement
We focused on giving positive reinforcement to our dogs by saying the word, “yes!” and giving the dog a treat after saying the word. We did this for three minutes. (It’s been four days and Fisher definitely knows the word “yes” now!) The goal is that every time your dog is doing something you like, say “yes!” You can still say, “good boy/girl,” but by saying “yes” you are giving one simple sound for the dog to remember to let them know you like what they are doing.
If they are doing something you don’t like, say, “ut-ah”. That is immediately followed by a puppy timeout in the bathroom. Do this every single time they do something you don’t want them to be doing. If you don’t want them to mouth/bite you say “ut-ah” and timeout. Same goes for jumping up on you/strangers, chewing on things like the couch or shoes. Soon your dog realizes if they do any of those things it results with them being separated from the pack (you and your family members) and they do not like to be separated. They want to make you happy and be close to you.
We then worked on training our pups to know their name. Yes, all the dogs there already knew their name, but all puppy parents admitted that sometimes when they would call their pup, the dog would selectively ignore them. We were taught how to call their name and get their attention each time.
Sitting came next… Fisher was a pro, but again I’m biased 🙂
Sitting is a great command for a puppy to learn, but it’s also good for them to know to be released. When they are sitting whether a short or extended period, it’s good for them to know, ‘you’re free/ released/ go play/ you don’t have to sit/lay down etc. anymore’. We are still working on release.
The harder part was teaching him to Focus or have an extended sit. His attention span has definitely gotten longer since the first time we tried this on Saturday, but just like a little kid, depending on his mood, he’s not interested in sitting still for 10 seconds sometimes, even if it’s for a treat. So, we are working on that too.
We have homework to do this week before our next class on Saturday (tomorrow), but we are so excited to learn more! It’s been great for Fisher so far. He loves his puppy classmates and he has been catching on really quickly and well to all of the training from the first class. It’s been great for Ryan and I too to know how we can communicate with our puppy and create a healthy, happy, and safe environment for all of us with simple training.