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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Working with a new puppy using Hillmann's puppy DVD... puppy is proving to have a strong drive to retrieve and I know getting him on birds will bring it al the way out... However

Im wondering how you figure out and build his desire to please?

This puppy is pretty strong willed, doesn't like being controlled, loves to hold the leash in his mouth... (10 weeks old so I know some of it is just the fact that he is a puppy)

How do I bring out that desire to please early so I dont have to fix it later?
 

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Bobby, I believe you have a Boykin Spaniel puppy from your earlier posts.

Your pup is 10 weeks old... don't label him strong willed, doesn't like to be controlled, and no desire at 10 weeks.

This is the down side I have seen in the CD training and with some folks watching a CD and trying to emulate exactly what is happening on the demo "pup" or dog. Although I like CDs as part of instruction, I was mentored by some of the best hunt test and field trial trainers "in person" on how to raise puppies before the CD revolution in puppy training methods. There's no replacement for instruction in person because you see so many different puppies and how each pup is an individual and each pup responds to the training.

Don't get in a competition with the dog's progress on the training CD or with any one else who has a puppy. They are all different with their unique strengths and weaknesses.

Every pup matures at a different rate.. I can say owning both Labs and Boykins.. I have found some of my Boykin pups to be a bit slower initially catching on than the Lab pups, but in the end..they all end up at the same place..

Enjoy the puppy phase..it's too short.

What have you been doing to bond with the puppy and build his trust?
 

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Here's a great, well proven way to build the bond and build eye contact and biddability with any healthy pup.

It's called the eye/name game. Get some cut up pieces of chicken or hot dog ready. Call pup into the room, get down on your knees and give him one piece. Then ask him to sit, give him a piece. Then get eye contact by moving your finger up to your eye. When looks at your eye, say GOOD and immediately give treat. Move finger up to your eye again, and hold for a couple seconds to lengthen eye contact, say good, and give treat. Pup will now start looking you in the eye, say good and give treat. Stop after about 3 minutes. Repeat 3 minute drill 3 times in one day. next day, call pup to you for a session and when he makes eye contact, say his name gently and give treat.

this will build skill of when you say his name, he looks at you. This also builds bonding between you and pup - as well as trust. You'll be surprised.
 

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Make sure you are creating a positive and fun enviroment around you and retrieving. I have and used a process called "the walk" where I have a bumber and some other items that the pup enjoys. Could be a treat but do not over do the treating. I take a long nature walk around the house and in the field when training my other dogs. They are also being introduced to field smells and the outdoors.

This is a time for the pup to engage with me, rewards may be a fun toss and a retireve. Younger pups should have a lead on them so you can insure a return. Sometimes a pup will run to the bumper, pick it up and take off. I work early on to reel them back in and high praise on a return. The key in all of these is high praise and fun. They associate me with fun and high praise with the result in turn is a high desire to please me.
 

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Here's a great, well proven way to build the bond and build eye contact and biddability with any healthy pup.

It's called the eye/name game. Get some cut up pieces of chicken or hot dog ready. Call pup into the room, get down on your knees and give him one piece. Then ask him to sit, give him a piece. Then get eye contact by moving your finger up to your eye. When looks at your eye, say GOOD and immediately give treat. Move finger up to your eye again, and hold for a couple seconds to lengthen eye contact, say good, and give treat. Pup will now start looking you in the eye, say good and give treat. Stop after about 3 minutes. Repeat 3 minute drill 3 times in one day. next day, call pup to you for a session and when he makes eye contact, say his name gently and give treat.

this will build skill of when you say his name, he looks at you. This also builds bonding between you and pup - as well as trust. You'll be surprised.




Just a suggestion:

I would modify this game to say "look at me" rather than use his name if you plan to send use it send him on retrieves.
 

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There's been a lot of good advice here already but I'll add my perspective that "desire to please" is directly related to a dogs drive to maintain a certain relationship with his master. There are a lot of misunderstandings about so called "pack theory" that I'm probably not qualified to debate, but I do know that dogs have evolved with a unique instinct to take direction from a leader (as opposed to cats for example). Of course 10 wk old puppies don't care any more about "pleasing you" than a toddler does and this won't get any better as he becomes a teenager around 5 or 6 months. Until then, you should think of yourself as more of a "mother figure", giving him food & comfort and introducing him to the big exciting world of water and cover and birds. When the time comes to introduce "pressure" in the form of force fetch & collar conditioning, you'll transition from your role as "mother" to that of "pack leader". At first he will be responding out of a drive to seek comfort (turn off the collar), but as he learns to view you as his leader (firm, fair, consistent, etc.) and the one who provides him the things he loves as well as direction, the instinctive desire to please you will emerge. It takes spending quality time together to develop the connection you're seeking w/ your dog. As Joe B. mentioned above, don't over do treats, you don't want to be perceived as a human snack machine. Picture the ideal relationship in your mind & never give him a reason to lose faith in you.


This may rub some the wrong way, but I think Cesar Milan has some good things to say about the idea of projecting "energy" through your posture and attitude. Dogs read people far better than we'll ever read them.

Enjoy the journey, it doesn't last long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the tips guys... Terrie, Ill definitely try not to judge my pups characteristics too early, I just want to make sure I'm forming a good bond as the leader... Right now we haven't really started on the DvD, just throwing fun retrieves in the house, going for walks, and watching TV together in the recliner!

Great suggestion on creating eye contact... We're definitely going to start that tomorrow
 

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Dave posted,
This may rub some the wrong way, but I think Cesar Milan has some good things to say about the idea of projecting "energy" through your posture and attitude. Dogs read people far better than we'll ever read them.
Funny enough I was about to start a thread in a similar vein; "How much attention do you give to your own body language?" I confess to getting a bee in my bonnet about this in the last couple of years. We sometimes use a video camera to record a handler in training, and it's a pretty salutary lesson for some when they see the results. If dogs perceive relationships and intentions through body language (and they do, rather brilliantly) then it's got to be right to try and be as precise and consistent as they are. Casting signals are a good place to start smartening up; it's astonishing what antics we get up to instead of giving a simple clear consistent command. Worth a few laughs in the pub after the session. ;-)

The corollary to beefing up the non verbal language is to pare down the verbal variety. Most, including me once upon a time, fill the air with chatter; it doesn't mean a thing to the dog, indeed it diminishes the importance of our speaking.

The eye contact command should be "Squaaaaddd!!" It'll look great with three or four dogs at sit.

Having said all that I'm not Mr Milan's biggest fan.

Eug
 

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I know what y'all mean about the DVDs. My dog watches them religiously and sometimes gets frustrated that I'm not learning as well as the human does in the video.
 
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