Puppy Training Plan

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Photo by Lindsey Hamilton-Donnelly

I’ve been asked recently for my puppy training plan, the behaviors that I think are the most important for puppies to learn.  I train behaviors in a certain order, mostly grouped by the conceptual training categories.  Each behavior builds off the concepts learned by a previous behavior.

This is by no means a concrete plan.  Every single one of my puppies has deviated from this map at one point or another.  Typically, if my puppy is struggling with a behavior, I don’t push it.  I focus on teaching a different behavior that shares the same concept and come back to the original behavior once I feel like my puppy has a solid grasp of the concept.  For example, if my puppy is struggling with a down stay, I’ll go back and work on mat work, crate games or perch work and then come back to the down stay a few weeks later.

Here is my puppy training plan.  Understand that certain terms or phrases may be different from what other people use, this is just what I call them!

  • Hand touch –> chin rest (duration) –> object hold –> retrieve
  • It’s your choice by Susan Garrett (duration, impulse control, reverse luring)
  • All four paws in (object operance) –> all four paws on
    • Front paws on –> pivot in circle (rear end awareness) –> pivot in heel position –> pivot into basic –> precision heel work
    • Rear paws on (rear end awareness) –> back up –> handstand on wall –> agility contacts (2 on/2 off)
  • Shape down (self operance) –> go to/stay on mat (object operance, duration, stays)
    • Crate games (impulse control, drive building) –> perch stays   –> stalls on handler
    • Agility table
  • Linear heel (position is rewarding) –> pace changes (choose to stay in position) –> serpentines
  • Capture sit –> front position
  • Spin/Twist (verbal discrimination)
  • Leg weaves (spatial operance)
  • Wrap object –> sends to agility obstacles
  • Stay on one side of handler (handler awareness) –> rear crosses on the flat (agility, heel work, disc work)
  • Dog catch (trust of handler/handling) –> rebound (when old enough)

Hope this helps those who asked for it! Feel free to ask any questions.

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