FAQ

1.

How do I arrange to sign up for class and what can I expect?

You call or email me and we arrange a start date and time for puppy training. I come to you. We will do the classes in and around your home. Ideally we work for 4 consecutive weeks although we can skip a week if necessary. The last week of each level includes an outing together with your puppy.

During Puppy Level 1 classes I will teach you about the important concepts or early socialization and preventative exercises. Socialization and Prevention are the main focuses of this level and critical to your pup’s overall wellbeing. In addition to these concepts, we will cover teaching the pup bathroom habits, manners in the house, puppy biting, and jumping. We will also work on games and basic behaviours that you will want your pup to do, such as sit and lie down when you ask, come when you call him, and walk on the leash without him pulling you.

The curriculum of THE Puppy Course is designed to help you understand your puppy, and feel confident and comfortable during the early months. With the foundation in place we can start to refine behaviours with continued education and support during your pup’s adolescence.

2.

How is the class structured?

For THE Puppy Course, there is a class plan that we will follow. I will provide you with this at our first class. One of the many bonuses of the private class is that I always allow for particulars that may come up that you want to understand, and problems that need immediate attention. After each class, I will send you a recap of what we worked on, in addition to what I want you to focus on. You will find most of the exercises that we work on explained and illustrated at ultimatepuppy.com.

For the 4-week sessions with Adolescent Dogs, the curriculum is tailored to your specific needs.

I learned so much from Sydney about how to interact with my puppy, and how to teach my puppy skills beyond just regular obedience training. Socialization and prevention exercises were something I never would have thought of, and are so important in having a happy, stress free dog in the future.

Marlowe Tucker

3.

Is there support in between classes?

Yes! Let’s deal with stuff as it comes up. Reach out with questions via email, a phone call or text I will get back to you. Depending on the nature of the query, I may wish to discuss it over the phone.

4.

What supplies will I need for our classes?

A treat pouch, treats and a favourite toy, as well as an appropriate puppy harness, flat collar, and lightweight leash. Please avoid hanging poo bag holders on the handle of your leash or tying knots in the leash. All of these items are pieces of equipment with particular uses. They need to be unencumbered, well-fitted and maintained.

5.

What type of puppy training methods do you use?

freshpuppy training methods are force-free, science-based, puppy- and puppy parent-friendly. We will use food, toys and games.

You will learn what motivates your pup and how to pay her for a job well done. Despite popular myth, pups aren’t born wanting to please us. Dogs don’t work for free; for many dogs food is usually the number one motivator. We can build a beautiful, trusting bond, this is for sure. But this takes know-how, patience, and understanding what makes your dog tick and what she finds reinforcing.

6.

How long is each class?

Each class is 45 mins to 1 hour long.

7.

Is there homework between classes?

Absolutely! I will give you clear instruction, guidance and support material, but to see results in puppy training, you have to put in the time and effort. Think quality versus quantity. Think preparation and understanding. There are some time-sensitive things to attend to with the young pups as well. Raising a puppy does take time, and will require your attention, but besides the first week or two of sleep deprivation to get bathroom habits rolling, it shouldn’t be unpleasant or too stressful. I will help you get organized and give you a game plan for how to work on all the things you want to teach your pup.

8.

What are the best treats for training a puppy?

The best treats are whatever your pup loves and gets him happy to work with us. Soft, smelly treats work well, so the puppy doesn’t get distracted with crunching. I like to use hotdogs, cheese or turkey for times when we need to up our game with higher value pay for the puppy. Most pups are food motivated, but sometimes a favourite toy and a good game of tug are more rewarding. Doing a freshpuppy pre-puppy shopping trip with me is a great way to make sure you are stocked with effective treats and toys and not spending money on unnecessary supplies or things your pup might not like.

9.

My vet advises not taking my puppy out before his vaccinations are complete. It is safe to socialize my pup before he has had all his shots?

Yes, it’s safe! Beside that it is also critical to your pup’s wellbeing. Socializing your puppy does not mean going to a dog park. It is the undertaking of exposing your pup to a wide variety of sights, sounds, surfaces, situations and people, and pairing this with something the pup loves. If a puppy doesn’t have a robust list of things they have encountered before they are a few months of age, the chance of them being afraid of people and different situations is very high. This will negatively impact the life of the dog and you. Early puppy socialization is a no-brainer! It is fun, easy and safe. It does require your time and attention though. Once the pup hits about 4 months of age the opportunity to do this early exposure is over.

Maternal immunity and active immunity in new pups is not a straightforward process. This is the reason puppy shots are given at different intervals. During early socialization of your pup always use care and common sense. Avoid heavily populated dog areas. Pick up your pup when there is an unknown dog approaching. Seek out dog friendly shops in your neighbourhood to visit. Have a puppy party and invite friends over to meet your pup. Take a bus ride, a car ride and walks around noisy construction sites and kids’ playgrounds. Check out the socialization checklist at ultimatepuppy.com to get inspired and be sure to read the position statement on early puppy socialization by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

10.

Is it safe for my puppy to meet other dogs?

Not always. Be careful and selective. Lots of adult dogs do not tolerate puppies well. We don’t want the puppy to get bitten and injured. Friendly, well-socialized, healthy dogs that enjoy puppies are fine for your pup to meet. Puppy playtime with other pups in a controlled environment is a great way for your new puppy to meet and play with other dogs.

11.

How long do I crate train my puppy?

There is no hard and fast rule as to how long to use a crate for. You can usually bank on 1 to 2 years. It is a tool to help you raise a healthy, happy pup. Used properly the crate has many advantages. It helps with bathroom training. It provides a cozy spot for very important puppy sleep and down time. It helps with attention for teaching sessions, and it is a safe place for the pup to spend time when you are not able to focus your attention on him. We want to set the puppy up to succeed in life. The crate helps us do this.

Gradually as the pup gets older, and you feel confident about the bathroom training, you will probably start to grant him more free time. I feel like the progress unfolds as three steps forward and maybe one or two back. You will test the dog: if things are feeling crazy and too wild, add more crate time back into the equation. I always say, shortcuts make for long journeys! Don’t be in a hurry to get rid of the crate. Your dog will let you know when the time is right.

12.

How do I teach my puppy not to bite?

Puppies bite! Be prepared when you get a new puppy to get some puppy bites too. Sometimes it will be an accident; other times they are aiming for you and will make contact with their super sharp puppy teeth. While this is very unpleasant, it is something likely to happen. When the pup does bite too hard, getting up and leaving the area or turning your back and just completely disengaging from him are good strategies to employ.

Examine how much free time they are getting. Have they gotten over tired and over stimulated? Maybe they are due for some down time in their crate. Always have a good stash of your pup’s favourite chews available and redirect the puppy to something appropriate to gnaw on.

A puppy must learn to not bite too hard. This important puppy skill is called acquired bite inhibition. A pup first starts to learn about his bite by playing with his littermates and Mom. If he bites another puppy too hard, the pup will cry out in a high-pitched yip, and maybe bite back. Your pup will continue to learn how to inhibit the force of his bite from playing with other pups, as well as from the feedback you give him.

It is very important that you allow your puppy to mouth you. This way you know how hard his bite is. If you never let your pup get his mouth on you, you can’t teach him to have soft gentle jaw pressure. Essentially, your pup is learning to inhibit the force of his bite based on your feedback and response. Puppy biting is normal dog behaviour. The key is for us to become active, understanding and knowledgeable participants in teaching our pups how to use their mouths appropriately.

13.

How do I teach my puppy to walk on leash?

Learning to walk on a loose leash is something that will take time to master. It is not a natural behaviour for a pup to trot along beside you paying attention to what you are doing. It is perfectly normal when pups quit or pull ahead on the leash. They will also be very interested in picking up all kinds of things that they find on the ground. Take treats and toys on your walks to help motivate the pup to check in with you. It is okay to pick your puppy up for breaks while walking too. With patience and practice, your pup will start to learn to walk with you on leash. We do some foundation work on a long line to help with loose leash walking in Puppy Level 1, and will start to focus more on refining your leash work in Puppy Level 3.

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Sydney Bleicher, KPA CTP, APDT, specializes in early puppy education and teaches private puppy classes and private adolescent dog classes in East Toronto. Sydney is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

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