WHAT DOES MY PUP LEARN DURING THE OLYMPIA PUPPY STARTER PROGRAM?
You have made the decision to buy an outstanding Olympia Kennels puppy and have decided to enroll him or her in our premier Puppy Starter Program which will get your youngster off to a great start in life! You may ask yourself what your new family member does for the four weeks he/she is camping out here at Olympia Kennels. Up until the time a puppy is 16 weeks of age, there is a critical period for early development and initial bonding and training. While at Olympia, your pup will take the necessary steps to make him/her both reliable and predictable. Following is a list of things your new family member will be exposed to while here during this important formative time:
EIGHT TO TEN WEEKS
Introduction to the house:
Your puppy will be exposed to all the things in the home that at first contact are like ‘the boogey man’ to them. Hard wood floors, stairwells, television, radio, washer/dryer, pots and pans and kitchen activity, and the dreaded vacuum cleaner.
They will be introduced to house manners, which include reprimand when jumping up on furniture, counters, etc., garbage sniffing, re-directing to toys when they try to chew on people during teething, and learning to lay quietly on a dog bed.
The pups will also be introduced to crate training in incremental periods of duration as they continue to grow. By the fourth week, the goal is that they can make it (mostly) throughout the night once home on your watch.
Introduction to the outdoors at Olympia Kennels:
Your pup will learn to follow along outside using food motivation. This is a relaxed ‘let’s go’ happy approach where, like their mother, we encourage them to follow along for both sustenance and safety, just as they did when they were younger. We try to imitate mom’s behavior to build a foundation of trust and dependence which will transfer to you once they get home. This is an informal introduction to the heel and recall. Off leash sit and down are also loosely taught at this time as well.
As Olympia Kennels is a School for Dogs as well as a School for Trainers, they will be handled by several skilled people and grow an acceptance of humans in general. They will have play time on the field with toys and balls as well as time with other pups in the program for social skill building. They will also learn to follow under the distraction of other dogs, farm animals, and people traffic here on site.
The pups will get exposed to the beautiful trails surrounding Olympia Kennels. They will get exercise and fresh air, vital for proper conditioning at this age. They will get to experience the sights and sounds of the forest while learning that it is imperative to stay close to the handler. Once the connection is well in place, we introduce the pup to their first collar and leash, which usually comes with little rebellion as they have now learned that being close to their handle equals safety, nourishment . . . and love.
Introduction to the world beyond Olympia Kennels:
Lastly, with confidence rising, they will take a car trip off site to a city setting to experience their first ride in a car. They will be given a collar and leash for obvious safety reasons.
An appropriate spot will be chosen to walk the pup, let them meet and greet strangers, encounter traffic, and make a trip inside a store, typically a pet store, where they can pick a suitable toy for the progress and bravery they are showing!
TEN TO TWELVE WEEKS:
Introduction to formal training:
Although the pups may have been inside the School For Dogs training room for fun and games, now is the time it turns a bit more serious. They are now at an age where commands can be understood and followed with more acuity. Basics are introduced in a structured way by our skilled trainers.
The pups will have fitted collars and leashes and will be taught to focus on commands such as heel, sit, down, stay and here or come, (the recall). The recall is by and large the most important command and we put a lot of emphasis on it as it may one day save the pup’s life, be it from an approaching vehicle, an aggressive dog, or any other threat.
They pup will be taught to heel in a more structured way, progressing from the ‘Let’s go’ loose command to a ‘tight by your side’ focused walk on your left side. They will be corrected for pulling, or forging ahead and asked to maintain a pace in tune with the handler whether it is a slow walk or a jog. They key is to watch the handler and respond accordingly.
The pup will have the ‘sit’ command enforced along with short durations of ‘sit-stay’ begun.
The pup will have the ‘down’ command introduced along with short durations of ‘down-stay’ begun.
The pup will be introduced to the ‘go to place’ command – we use a dog bed and reinforce with a treat when they lay quietly.
The pup will do MANY recall exercises to enforce that we are not asking, but TELLING the pup to come RIGHT NOW.
We will teach the pup to sit and stand for examination to prepare him or her for their first vet visit and also for a visit to the groomer.
We finish the program by grooming the pup here at our on-site grooming center, making it a positive experience by people the pup is familiar with. The first bath is a scary concept – rushing water, loud dryers, ear cleaning and nail trimming. We want to ensure the pup remembers it in a positive and relaxing way, which may not happen with a groomer pushing a busy schedule on any given day.
The pup will learn the word NO along the way as well, to correct any behavior that is not appropriate while training. Of course, just as children will push the envelope, the young pup will as well during his adolescent months. This program is equivalent to kindergarten and early grades – it is a step in the right direction.
Olympia Kennels offers many other programs, both general obedience as well as specialized training for your highly intelligent German Shepherd. We strongly advise that you continue his/her training throughout maturity to produce the best companion possible.
As we say here at Olympia, you can give no greater gift to yourself and your family than a well-trained German Shepherd. The companionship, security, and sheer joy they provide, are beyond measure.