Puppy Prerequisites: The Basics
Our basic training program is the Puppy Prerequisite program, which teaches your new puppy all of the foundations for obedience, house training, and manners. This program is a 4 week training experience, and your puppy will receive 2-3 training sessions per day, in addition to living with their trainer like part of the family. The training program typically starts once the puppies turn 8 weeks old, and will capitalize on their early experiences and socialization that they receive while with their litter. The cost of a puppy that has graduated from this program is $4,000, and that money is your investment in having a well mannered, obedient family pet for the next 12-15 years.
Crates are one of the most valuable tools you can have when bringing home a new puppy. The crate can serve as a safe place to go for eating and sleeping, a management tool during house breaking, and a place for your dog to ride in the car for safe travel. In order for the crate to function as a versatile training tool, the puppy needs to be properly introduced to the crate in a way that is positive and constructive. During the Puppy Prerequisite program, your puppy will have a thorough introduction to the crate. He will learn how to go into the crate on command, how to wait to be invited back out, and he will learn how to relax quietly in the crate during downtime. This training will be effective for both crates in your house and in your car, and will be a great tool to teach your puppy how to travel calmly.
One of the most frustrating parts of owning a puppy is teaching them how to potty outside reliably. We take a holistic approach to potty training, and your puppy will be well on his way after he graduates from this program. The first part of this method is ensuring that your puppy has the appropriate management tools, and all puppies from this program will be comfortable in a crate and an x-pen. We will also begin to teach the puppy to ring a bell when they need to go outside, so that they begin to learn that they can tell you when an urgent bathroom trip is needed. We will also start to introduce your puppy to the concept that going potty outside is rewarding for him, and that it's the appropriate place for him to eliminate. Most importantly, we will establish a schedule for your puppy so that his bathroom times will be far easier to predict, and following up on the potty training foundation will be a breeze.
Basic Obedience Commands
We cover several different basic obedience behaviors during this program. The first thing that we will cover is name recognition. We use the dog's name before a command to get their attention before asking for obedience, and the dog must know their name in order for this to work. Puppies in this program will have a very prompt response to you calling their name, and will have full name recognition. Once we've covered name training with the puppies, we start to introduce them to the recall command. "Come" is the most important command that you can teach to a dog, as it has large safety ramifications. The start of a reliable recall begins at a young age when we teach the puppy that recalls are very reinforcing and fun. While the puppy will not be completely reliable at such a young age, they will have a very strong foundation and will have started to perform recalls around distractions.
We will also start your puppy on learning the concept of leash pressure. The easiest way to stop your dog from pulling on the leash is to never let them start, and we begin this concept from day one with this program. Puppies naturally want to resist and pull against the leash when first introduced, but we introduce the leash in a way that teaches the dog to happily come with the leash whenever they feel any tension, and that staying near their human, on a loose leash, is very reinforcing for them. Establishing this behavior from a very early age will make walks far more enjoyable than a dog that pulls like crazy. We will also give you the information and assistance that you need to continue this training with your puppy after they graduate from the program.
We will also teach the puppy the sit and down commands, and begin their training on stays. While many trainers teach puppies hand signals for these behaviors, we teach the puppies to do these commands on a verbal cue. Hand signals work great, but only when the puppy is looking at you. We firmly believe that commands must be on a verbal cue in order for them to be truly reliable. In terms of reliability with these 12 week old puppies, they will not be infallible, but they will be able to perform both a sit and down stay for short periods of time. We also teach the puppies to sit and wait before going outside, eating their meals, getting into the car, and anytime they go through a door.
The final obedience command that we will teach to your puppy is the place command. This is a very useful command during puppyhood, and retains its versatility well into the dog's adult years. The place command involves the dog placing all four feet on an object, and remaining there until they are released by their owner. Typically this is done using a dog bed, but it can be generalized to any object that is elevated or a texture difference from the ground. Some great times to use this command include when somebody comes to the door, during meals, or when you need a break from the puppy but don't want to put her in a crate. By the time the dog is fully mature, they should be able to hold this behavior for a few hours at a time, but at 12 weeks we only expect them to maintain this behavior for a maximum of 15 minutes.
Another key aspect of our training program is to teach the puppy manners around the house. This includes not jumping on people, and how to respectfully greet both family members and strangers. We also cover behavior around food, like not begging at the table, staying out of the trash can, and we also introduce the puppy to the leave it command. The puppies have all been raised in the house around normal household noises, sights, and smells, and they will continue this exposure as they continue through the program. We are one of the only breeders whose training program is run in a home environment.
Socialization is one of the most vital aspects of training a puppy, because this is the one area where you can never make up for lost time. There is a key socialization window between 8-16 weeks of age, and we capitalize on this window during our training program. Your puppy will be introduced to people and dogs of all ages, and we will ensure that all of these introductions are positive learning experiences for the puppies. This will help the puppy's confidence and sociability to grow. We will also expose the puppies to noises, surfaces, and other things that might scare other dogs, but that these puppies will handle with confidence. We can also customize the socialization aspect of the training to fit your individual needs. For example, if you are an equestrian, we will expose your puppy to horses and a barn environment. If you are big into water sports, we will introduce your puppy to water.
This is the portion of training that your groomer and veterinarian will thank you for. Many dogs are uncomfortable with their feet, ears, and mouths being examined, and they hate having their nails trimmed and teeth brushed. We prevent this from developing with our puppies by introducing them to all of these handling exercises at a young age, and making sure that they are relaxed and obedient when it comes to having basic grooming and examination tasks. This is another area where we capitalize on the early socialization window, and we can shape the puppy's outlook on physical handling for the rest of their life.
The Training Transition
When you enroll your puppy in the Puppy Prerequisite program, your training does not end when the puppy goes home. You also receive support from your trainer, and a road map on how to make sure that the training transitions to your home environment. You have made an investment in the life of your dog, and we want to ensure that you are both successful on the tail end of training. Additional training programs are also available to graduates as they get older.
If you are interested in reserving a trained puppy from a future litter, please contact us to receive a puppy questionnaire.