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  #21  
Old 11-06-2006, 06:24 PM
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showpug showpug is offline
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I think with puppies, the bonding comes later in life. At this point, Holly is so interested in figuring out the world around her that she has little time for "other" things. Once she matures, the world and her surroundings will be familiar and old news. Eventually she will have the focus and attention span to be really interested in her "human" family.
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  #22  
Old 11-09-2006, 06:15 AM
IliamnasQuest IliamnasQuest is offline
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Puppies are so naturally curious, and I like that curiosity. I don't mind an independent puppy (that's why I have chows! *L*). It's absolutely normal for a dog to show a great deal of interest in someone they haven't seen for awhile and be kind of blasť towards those they see all the time. It doesn't really have much to do with the bond, just with the attention span and change in interest that happens so frequently in dogs.

As dogs age, they lose much of the curiousity and gain a more settled approach to life, and then the bond is more apparent.

I believe in letting a dog be a dog and not worrying too much about pushing the bond. There are those who will say to isolate your dog and not let it associate much with others - to the point of keeping it completely confined any time you can't be with it, and only taking it out to potty and work. Those people also tend to tell you that you should never let your dog play with other dogs (I'm thinking of someone with a huge website who, unfortunately, is believed by many misguided people) and that socialization is not neccessary because your dog should never pay attention to anyone but you. I find that pretty sad. I want to set my dog up to succeed in life regardless of whether I'm there or not. Maybe I'll get stomped by a moose tomorrow and my dogs will need to be with someone else .. *L*

I've raised numerous puppies who have developed into well-rounded adults. I've used crates as needed for potty training and to keep them safe until they can be trusted outside of the crate. I take my puppies to puppy kindergarten and I let them enjoy playing with other dogs. I smile as they happily run to others and get petted, because it's important to me that my dogs like people overall (which hasn't diminished their capabilities as guard dogs - it's just given them the tools to understand the difference between "bad" people and good ones). I don't worry when I can't get their focus because they see someone they want to go visit, because I know that will get better with time and I'd rather they like people overall.

And when training with treats, I've learned that the longer you lure or use visible treats, the harder it is to teach the dog to respond without the treat. Dogs that only respond when the owner has a treat in hand have learned that - it's 100% a handler error and not the dog's fault. What you can do instead is have little containers of treats that are stashed throughout the house (especially in areas like near doors, in rooms you will likely do some training in, etc.). Don't keep the treats on you, but when you have your dog do something then run to one of the stashes and pull out a treat. Have your dog run with you (additional reinforcement!) and praise happily as you go to get the treat. I say things like "WOW! What a GREAT girl you are! Let's go get the TREAT! You're such a good girl, I'm SO impressed!". The dogs just love it!

And then the next time I have them do something, we run to a different stash. The dog will never know where the treat will come from, because I vary where we go (even if we have to run out of the room to a stash somewhere else). Because the running and praising is exciting too, it can almost take the place of treats after awhile. If your dog is toy driven, you can also stash toys around and run to one of those (it's best to have special "reward only" toys that the dog doesn't get to play with except during praise/interaction times with you).

Independent smart dogs are harder to train than dogs that are bred to work with humans. Nordic/spitz breeds, terriers, hounds, etc. can be a real challenge. On the other hand, herding and sporting dogs are what I call the "easy" breeds. I don't find them to be any smarter, but they're definitely easier to train than the truly independent breeds.

They're all fun, though! And once you get one trained, you can use it to train another. My shepherd was invaluable as a training tool for my young chow. Trick helped teach Khana the off-leash recall. And all the girls together helped teach her a down and stay - we do a lot of group obedience where all the girls do a down, then a sit, maybe a spin followed by a wave good-bye .. *L* .. it's like a three-ring circus at times!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
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  #23  
Old 11-09-2006, 10:07 AM
Tracer Tong Tracer Tong is offline
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yeah, I have to work on that no apparent treat thing but its kind of difficult. We'll see how it goes.
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