Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pressure and Puppies...

Puppies are the "new chance" for many of us that train dogs. The chance to try new things, do not do things that we did with our previous dogs (or I sure hope so!!). A clean slate.

Puppies are also individuals, capable of great things---if they are allowed the opportunity to shine.

I take a very "whatever" approach to raising a puppy (if you have read this blog long enough you know what I mean by that ;) They are puppies, they are cute and they do stupid stuff...and I don't care :)

My puppies are growing up, and I am enjoying them a ton...adding training here and there...but mainly I am bonding with my kids.

Someone asked me at a recent trial about the "skills" my pups do or don't have. I told them that my puppies loved me, want to be with me more than anything...and right now that is ALL I NEED from them :)

Given a chance to interact with me versus all their dog friends...they choose me...I don't beg, or bribe...I am just very fun to them. THAT is what I want to cultivate in our relationship :)

I am amazed to see how much pressure people put on puppies to "pay attention" and "focus on them"--when in reality the person is as boring as can be. They are "faking" genuine affection for their dogs...and a dog knows that.

Puppies have toys thrown into their faces, lured with treats etc etc..when in reality all it takes is ONE ON ONE time...you, puppy and affection...you can play with your hands, pinch their fuzzy little butts, wrestle (I can hear the gasps now) and as long as they are proper...the games continue. I take my pups into a quiet room in the house all the time and play games...no toys, just me and the pup. Just bonding, having fun and no pressure to do anything :)

Don't get me wrong...toys and treats are used...used for TRAINING...used as a reward...unfortunately I see many people that use the tuggie or treats as affection. Which doesn't bond a dog to you. They have to want to BE with you...not just tug and eat from your hand. You treat them like machines (to get you to the finals, nationals, whatever) and they will treat you like a means to an end...you become a human pez dispenser...without emotion, without a bond. When I put it that way it sounds pretty sad huh? It is.

This goes for anything you do with your dogs, be it herding, agility, obedience, or just a pet dog. They need that bond to get that enthusiasm for work.

This lack of a bond causes these dogs to be under pressure...they can't trust a person they have no bond with...so this can cause stress, confidence issues and a host of other things. All because of this basic lack of bond. Try spending time NOT training with your puppy--take walks, cuddle, wrestle, play, have FUN.

Enjoy those puppy times, don't be in a rush to get a grown dog so quickly :)


stickitbc said...

Jinx is a perfect example of what you can change and how in benefits=))

sweetpea_path said...

This is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read about raising puppies - THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write it all down!

You have inspired me with your affirmations of puppyhood and how these pups need their special, undemanding time with us humans.... I have a dog that I rescued at age 2 and in many ways she was still a puppy (in what she knew of the world) when I brought her home. I hope I gave her as much of me as you give to yours. Think I'll go check in with her (grin)!

Anonymous said...

good post. far too many people do push, push, and push some more for those young dogs to be perfect.

although I can attest to the fact that bonding is sometimes very difficult. Princess Pixel did not like me at all when I first got her. She is a year old now and now loves me, but not all breeds are instant lovers. :o)


Barbara said...

Well said. I have a 6 month old puppy that I am enjoying watching grow up. She's happy and healthy and gets to play with me, and her canine brothers and sister and her friends. I do work on tricks with her, but not for any purpose other than to have fun.


fulltiltbcs said...

Amanda, I totally agree not all breeds love you just because you are "you" :-)) The JRT we have definetly took some time...as well as my BC Klink...she was harder to bond with...but I think people tend to give up on getting a bond with that kind of dog,not realizing how important it really is :)

Kathy said...

This was a GREAT post, I am looking for my next BC now, my first BC was a dog that I really worked hard to raise and stressed about her upbringing enough that I did not have all the fun I could have had, I had fun-I love her to death, but I wasted a lot of time worrying and did not enjoy her puppyhood as much as I did with my next dog. I am really going to remind myself and hope I can take your post to heart with my next little one.