Free stuff for your dog!

CynderComp

 

My partner Kevin blogs over at Cynder & That Dog Dancing Guy and at the moment he’s giving away two prize packs filled with great treats, toys and products for your dog. Check the competition out here – it ends 8pm Friday June 13th. While you’re there make sure you read his great tips for raising, training and caring for your dogs (and all about the fascinating world of dog dancing!).

-JB

 

 

Sprocket’s training begins

Training with Sprocket
Sprocket and I at our first obedience class

Meet Sprocket – the newest member of our family. He’s an 8 month old Terrier cross (We’re not sure what’s in the mix!) adopted puppy from Melbourne’s The Lost Dogs’ Home. Follow along as I share his and my story as a new dog owner learning how to raise a healthy and happy little dog. I’ll also be doing regular updates on JOY 94.9′s Pets-A-Loud about my experiences and what I learn along the way.

Sprocket has started settling into our home really well. His toilet training has progressed (no accidents for weeks!), he’s beginning to understand the routines of our household and he’s as affectionate as ever. Finally he’s able to get out and about after his vaccinations so we’ve been able to start taking him for walks and socialising him with other dogs.

He’s a digger

One of the things we’ve learned very quickly is that Sprocket is a digger! Kevin gets home from work before I do and unfortunately came home to a note from the neighbours telling us that we had a couple of escapees! For a couple of weeks there we had Sprocket and Cynder going under the fence for visits with the neighbours’ dog. Kevin had to try a few strategies to combat this including bricking up parts of the neighbours fence, laying down wire and giving Sprocket some more entertainment throughout the day to discourage digging. He still partakes in a bit of digging around the yard, but thankfully we’ve managed to keep him away from the fence line.

Training at home

Whilst we were waiting for Sprocket to get through his vaccination wait-period we started some basic training at home. We’ve invested in a clicker and have been teaching him the basics of sitting on call and how to give and maintain eye contact with us. Eye contact and attention will be particularly important later on as we try to teach him more complex forms of training. He’s developing well and showing good eye contact and sitting on command. I’m starting to see him do this without needing a food reward or the clicker – so we’re getting there.

First obedience class

Sprocket and I attended our first obedience class at the weekend and I’ll admit – It was completely exhausting. For both us. There’s so much to learn when starting out and a lot of it is information overload. Thankfully there were a number of other new dog trainers in our group and we were all encouraged to learn at our own pace and the pace of the dog. The big learning curve was appropriate technique with Sprocket’s lead and teaching him the correct heel position. The trainers specifically encouraged us to use positive reinforcement as much as possible and to train regularly. The one thing I’ll definitely take with me was the piece of advice to NOT train if you’ve had a crappy day. The last thing you want is to take out your bad day on your dog and get frustrated with them. You want training to be a fun and positive experience for both you and the dog.

It’s been a really fun experience – I’ve had a very busy and stressful time outside of training Sprocket so it’s been nice to focus on something positive, but the key for me will be not to expect too much too soon and learn at my own pace and at Sprocket’s pace. He’s really growing into a wonderful member of the family.

-JB

Have you raised dogs? What are your tips for getting a new puppy/dog settled in? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments or at @JB_AU on Twitter.

Meet Sprocket!

Sprocket

 

Meet Sprocket – the newest member of our family. He’s a 7 month old Terrier cross (We’re not sure what’s in the mix!) adopted puppy from Melbourne’s The Lost Dogs’ Home. Follow along as I share his and my story as a new dog owner learning how to raise a healthy and happy little dog. I’ll also be doing regular updates on JOY 94.9’s Pets-A-Loud about my experiences and what I learn along the way.

First impressions

The moment one of the staff at The Lost Dogs’ Home introduced me to and handed me Sprocket’s lead the cheeky little boy rolled straight onto his back for a scratch and a belly rub.

What.

A.

Cutie.

It didn’t take long to decide that he was the puppy for us. Of course Kevin and I already live with Cynder – so she came along with us to the home to meet him too and see how they got along. It was quite a nervous moment wondering if these two would get along, but after a bit of hesitation it didn’t take too long for Cynder and Sprocket to become friendly. In fact…a little too friendly with Sprocket taking a particular liking to putting his nose right into Cynder’s “underside”.

After sorting out paperwork and logistics with the home and getting some supplies Sprocket was in the car with Cynder ready to come home.

Sprocket2

 

Getting started

Sprocket settled into home pretty well, but getting started we had a few priorities to sort out:

Bed time – Cynder sleeps in the laundry so our first priority was to get Sprocket used to his new shared sleeping quarters. For the first few nights he barked for about 10-15 minutes after being put to bed, but thankfully this didn’t last too long and he settled into his new routine.

Toilet training – There’s no way of knowing Sprocket’s previous training so figuring this out was a case of trial and error. I learned that with toilet training it is absolutely vital to catch the puppy in the act or otherwise they will have no idea what they’ve done wrong and to reward them when they display the right behaviour (going to the toilet outside). This meant keeping a VERY close eye on Sprocket whilst in the house. Despite a few accidents here and there he picked up toilet training fairly quickly (it’s possible he had already been trained before he found himself on the streets) and we’ve made sure to give him regular toilet breaks and time outside.

Food – When he  got home Sprocket was very timid with his food and for the first few days would only eat from our hands. Over time we managed to teach him to get over this dependency and eat food independently from his bowl. This involved a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement, but now he can’t wait for dinner time! (An even tries to sneak food from Cynder’s bowl!)

Manners – Sprocket is a VERY cheeky little boy and an intelligent little dog. This has made some basic manners training fairly easy so far, but he certainly has a personality! So far training has included teaching him the boundaries of play (a puppy-like squeal and disruption/halt to play time whenever he bites or gets too rough – bite inhibition), teaching him to sit and the early stages of teaching eye contact and attentiveness.  This has been done with a mix of treats and a dog training clicker.

The next steps

Sprocket has just received his latest vaccination which means soon we’ll be able to start taking him for walks, socialising him with other dogs and starting formal training classes. I’m looking forward to learning these skills and helping Sprocket to become a healthy, happy and well trained puppy. He’s got a wonderful personality and has fitted into our household so well. I’m particularly looking forward to taking him on his first trip to the beach and teaching him some cool tricks!

-JB

Have you raised dogs? What are your tips for getting a new puppy/dog settled in? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments or at @JB_AU on Twitter.