Puppy Thoughts…If Only We Could Read Our Pup’s Mind!

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UPDATE: I just noticed…do you know what’s wrong with the command given below?

Puppy Thoughts
Puppy Thoughts

UPDATE: I’m not sure why I didn’t catch this before I published, but there are two commands we are taught never to use with our puppy’s name:

  • “No”
  • “Stay”

Why you ask?  Check out this blog post we wrote: Commands Not To Use With Your Dog’s Name.  Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

You Can Read Minds!?

Did you ever see Zoolander? It was on TV the other day and that movie always cracks me up. Of course if you don’t like dumb comedies then you probably just think I’m an idiot.

So why bring up Zoolander for this puppy meme? Well, among the many classic lines in the movie it reminds me of this one:

After telling her heartfelt story about how she couldn’t understand why she didn’t have the figure of a model…

Matilda: I became…
Hansel: What?
Matilda: Bulimic.
Zoolander: You can read minds?

Sorry folks, but I’m full of useless movie quotes so if you’re a reader of this blog then you’ll definitely have to endure some painful references to stupid AWESOME movies!

Back To The Doggies…

One of the things we are constantly working on with our pup’s is to get a solid sit-stay and down-stay.  When working on your stay you should always build on a solid foundation.  Here are a few tips when working on stay with your puppy:

  1. Start off by keeping the distance and time short.  We first have our puppy’s in a sit or down by our left side.  Give a solid “Stay” then just pivot our bodies only a few inches out in front of our puppies.  We keep our pup’s in a stay for about 5 seconds, return to our puppy’s side, release them, and give tons of praise for staying (update: as mentioned in a comment below timing is very important when rewarding.  Our release and praise happen pretty much simultaneously).
  2. Make sure to start with a solid foundation.  As you puppy masters “Stay” you can increase time, distance, add distractions, and try different locations (park, inside the house, outside the house, while on a walk, your local pet store…etc).
  3. If your puppy becomes fixated on a distraction (like in the pic above) refocus his/her attention.  We use either the “Leave it” command, “Look at me” command, or Pup’s name.
  4. Try working with a long line to increase distance.  We have a 20 foot leash we used when we want to increase the amount of distance we have when working on our  “Stay”.

Here’ a good picture of my pup’s working on their down stays in our backyard.

Dog's Doing a Down Stay
Dog’s Doing a Down Stay

Linus is way in the back he’s the oldest and pretty good with his down-stay.  Stetson is near the tree and is a career changed guide dog.  He’s been working on sit-stay and down-stay nearly his entire life.  Adelle is the yellow Lab about 5 feet away.  She’s the rookie (9 months old) and current service dog puppy in training.  She says: “Someday I’ll be the pup on the far side of the camera!”

By the way, the main questions I got when I posted this on our Facebook page was not how do you get you’re dogs to down-stay, but instead how do you keep your grass so green with 3 dogs?  Answer: These guys are indoor dogs so we keep them inside most of the time, but when they are outside we’ve been working on getting them to potty on the wood chips along the side rather than on the grass.  They do well…most of the time 🙂

What tips and tricks to you have when working on sit-stay and down-stay with your dogs?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. I know it’s always being emphasized during any dog training exercise but while rewarding is a VERY important part of any training exercise, I believe it’s equally important to know exactly WHEN to reward your pup for being obedient…

    Let’s take the “stay” command for example… Rewarding your puppy while still staying and not after you’ve released him from staying is important because he needs to associate the reward with being obedient for staying and not confuse it with being free and up and about AFTER he stayed. So rewarding him while still in a staying position has him learning that staying is being obedient and he gets rewarded when he does stay.

    More advice on commands like these can be found at Puppy Obedience Training.

    By the way, thanks for sharing your Facebook page; I immediately rushed over to check it out (and “liked” it of course 😉 ) I think I may have liked it with my personal profile as well as my PuppyTrainingClassroom page…

    Thanks for the write-up!

    1. Hi Ruan,

      Thanks so much for the comment. You are correct proper timing when rewarding is very important. Whenever we release and reward these two things happen pretty much simultaneously. However, in all of our guide dog puppy training classes I do recall that they have told us to release and praise your dogs. Thanks again for stopping by!


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