My training is based on the growth of the puppies mind, to make him/her a better canine citizen! Thus I have mentioned the pups mind growth stages along with the training periods.
HUMAN SOCIALIZATION PERIOD (from 50 to 84 days).
This is the best time to bring a puppy to his new home. I would say no later than seventy days.This is the best time to (positively) introduce him to the things he is going to have to live with, like other animals, the vacuum cleaner, home noises, children, and men with beards and hats etc.
He must not be frightened by them, so introduce them carefully, gently and positively.Everything he experiences now will have the greatest effect on him more than ever again in his life. learning at this age is permanent.
This is the best time to start positive, non-compulsive, basic obedience exercise, taking his physical abilities and limited attention span into account. Therefore, make 100% sure that if you take your puppy to puppy classes, that the instructor is qualified and experienced in handling puppies, and their classes correctly.
FEAR IMPACT PERIOD (from 8 to 11 weeks.)
Any traumatic, painful, or frightening experience will have a more lasting impact on the pup, than if it had occurred at any other time in his life. it is the pups perception of the experience that counts, not that of the owner.
Make the pups trips to the vet a pleasant one, and ask your vet to oblige. take along a favourite toy or some treats etc. fortunately most vets today know canine behaviour, and these critical periods, and will know how to work with your pup to make it a pleasant experience for him.
Under no circumstances should elective surgery such as ear cropping, or hernia repairs, be undertaken at this time in the puppies life, unless it is life threatening.
The best time for the dogs to start basic commands like sit, stay, heel, down , down stays ..With which the dog learns who the make leader is! If implemented right.
Seniority classification period (from 13 to 16 weeks old).
Known as the cutting period, cutting teeth and cutting apron strings. this is the period the pup starts testing and seeing who is going to be the pack leader. Biting behaviour from 13 weeks on must be totally discouraged, it is purely an attempt to dominate. dogs play by the rules, if they are spelled out clearly, i.E. That there is only one pack leader. The pack leader is to be listened to and obeyed.
If there is no person who wants the job as pack leader, the dog will take it with pleasure. the dog has to resolve the question of leadership during this period. The more dominant the dog, the more important it is that there is a strong and consistent leader. Obedience classes teach the owner to be his dogs pack leader, not his master or owner. Slaves had masters and owners and they ruled the slaves with fear, brutality and force. Leaders rule through good education, and understanding.
Pack leadership is something that the owner learns through training. Through being taught the basics of canine behaviour, and specific obedience exercises designed to teach the dog who is in charge.
In this stage all basic commands are perfected with out the leash and all further commands, like retrieving, send away basic and tracking is also thought. THE LATER CRITICAL PERIODS The following ages could vary depending on the size of the dog. Small breeds tend to experience these periods earlier than large breeds.
Flight instinct period (from 4 to 8 months old).
The pup will test his wandering ability, and may turn a deaf ear to your calling. This can last from a few days to a few weeks. How the dog is handled during this period, will determine whether he comes when called or not, in the future.
Don't make the mistake of chasing after the pup, or scolding him when he eventually does come when called. Chasing after him can become a game. Rather teach him from the beginning that hands are objects of love, not instruments of torture. Entice him to come with a treat or a toy, and then reward him with a good scratch and then the treat and / or his toy This is where obedience classes can assist, by teaching the dog to continuously come when called in the correct manner; he will become more consistent and come whenever he is called.
The pup loses his milk teeth between 4 and 6 months, and the dog still hasn't finished his teething. Don't be surprised if you find the dog chewing your furniture or whatever. The reason being that although his teeth are through prior to 6 months, they don't set in his jaw until 6 to 10 months. The dog must chew. There is a physiological need for him to exercise his mouth at this time.
This is normally the time that obedience trainers get the call, please help!!! The dog not only doesn't listen, he runs away, wont come when called, and is now chewing everything in sight. Unfortunately for the dog, this usually corresponds with the next critical period.
The second fear impact period (from 6 to 14 months old).
This period corresponds with growth spurts that is why it could occur more than once as the dog matures. there is a change in the dogs behaviour. He may suddenly be reluctant to approach something new, or be frightened of something, or someone familiar. The dog should not be forced into confrontation, or into being brave. Nor should his fear be reinforced through a soothing tone and petting.
His fear should be handled with patience and kindness. Let the dog work it out for himself, without being forced to deal with something he perceives as dangerous. Positive and consistent obedience training during this period puts the dog in a position of success, which build his self- confidence. Because most dogs come to obedience training at this period in their life time, it could have far reaching effects on the dog if he perceives the training, and the environment as frightening, or even a dangerous experience. He may generalize this fear whenever there are a group of dogs together, such as at the vet, shows, or obedience trials.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance for dog owners, breeders and obedience instructors, to be aware of this period, and take the necessary precautions and make sure the dog is always handled in a positive manner.
This training is started only after the dog and its handler have perfected advanced obedience. The dogs have to be thought to bite and also where he learns to think and not simply bite! Personnel or property protection.
Maturity (from 1 to 4 years old).
Many breeds, particularly giant breeds, continue growing and changing physically beyond 4 years of age. Therefor, maturity refers to sexual maturity, rather than full growth. The average maturity age for dogs is between 1,5 and 3 years, with small dogs maturing earlier, and giant breeds later.
This period is often marked by an increase in aggression and renewed testing for leadership. The increased aggression is not always negative. Sometimes it could mean an over friendly dog, now turns out to be a good watch dog. However, it could also mean that your two dogs who got on well together previously, now start fighting.
At this period when the dog tries to test the leadership, he should be handled firmly, not necessarely physically or forcefully. Continious firm and consistent training with rewards for good behaviour, will soon let him know there is no question; you are still the pack leader.
Training is also imparted depending on the final objective of the cause...