5th Class

"Sit"...with some crazy dance moves!

That's right, time to bust out your inner Kevin Bacon. Quietly stepping away from your pup while they hold a sit is one thing, but having fun while you do it can be a deal breaker, and hugely distracting for them.

Whether you choose the Chicken Dance, or the Robot, keep the duration short at first and release and reward your pup for holding still, gradually building up the intensity. Have fun with this one.

What to increase the challenge? Have one of your pup's favourite toys in your hand as you step away. Gently play with it, as see if you can place it on the ground while your pup still holds position. Remember to go back to your pup and release and reward them with the toy, or if it's on the floor release with"Okay" and kick it for them to chase.

Jumping Up

Most dogs learn to offer behaviours that they find rewarding. If a puppy only get attention for jumping on you, well heck, that's obviously a method that works so why change it?! If on the other hand we ignore the jumping up, and instead focus on the calm behaviour instead, very quickly your puppy will figure out the quickest way to get you attention is to mind their manors.

How to greet your puppy. Get your hands down low. They smell great, and if they come down to your puppy, your pup won't need to jump up and grab them. Lavish lots of loving attention on your puppy, helping them to keep all their paws on the floor by gently positioning them on the ground if they try and climb on you.

Tips: I'll often crouch down when greeting a dog I know, as long as there is no risk of being knocked over. I'm also mindful not to lean over them, it can be very intimidating for a shy dog, and there is also the risk of being "muzzle punched" in the face if they are overly excited and jump up.

Use an anchor.  I like use this technique if my pup is getting overly excited, especially at the park or if visitor come to the house. Your puppy will need to wear a harness for this exercise. Tether your pup's leash to a to a secure object, like a park bench, fence post or dinning table. Enter their space, and greet them with your hands at their level. They all the love and attention they desire, as long as their four paws are on the ground.

As soon as your puppy tries to jump up, "Oops!" stand up and walk a few paces away. Wait for you puppy to settle, then enter their space again.

Keep repeating these steps. Once your puppy is calm with you in their space you can start to add a little excitement, though remember to say "Oops!" and moving out of their space each time they jump up or bite.

"Leave It" - Stuff on the ground

When teaching Leave It outside, I like to think of myself on the edge of a big darts board. The item that my puppy wants is right in the middle on the Bulls-Eye.

As soon as your puppy spots the item (this can be either food scraps, garbage, other dogs or even people), STOP! The game is on, and you do not need to take another step forward.

Without pulling on the leash, give the cue "Leave it" and wait for your pup to move their nose away from the item. You should be a good distance away at first.

As soon as your puppy looks away from the item, mark the behaviour with a cheerful "Yes", and luring your puppy a few steps back. Once you are a safe distance away from the item you can then reward you puppy with a treat.

Luring your puppy away from the item on the floor, is your way of "resetting the game". Once you have your puppy's focus you can then move towards the item again, with the aim of moving past it. If your puppy pulls towards it a second time, repeat the steps above, or, if you can successfully walk past it with out your puppy getting distracted reward their effort once you are safely passed.

"Come" - Outdoor distractions

Okay, I thought I had my puppy's attention, but when I called “Come” they ignored me. What should I do?”

  • Remember the Three Strikes And You're Out Rule? You've called their name and got eye contact, but when you called "Come", but nothing happened. Strike One!

  • Get closer, make your smoochy noise. If you get eye contact call "Come" and move your body away from them. If they still ignore you, Strike Two.

  • Last chance. Show them the treat/toy, squeal, clap your hands, stamp your feet. Still nothing? Strike Three! Give yourself a break. Wait for a moment where they are less distracted, then try again, or move to a quieter space.