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Please Help: How Should I Train My Puppy?

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by Preacher, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. Preacher

    Preacher Forums Novice

    Jul 26, 2016
    Central Wisconsin
    Hey, all.
    I'm posting this in the General Thread because I'm hoping for a wide viewing "audience," but if it's better in another section, Mods, please move it to where it should be. Thanks.

    I'm hopefully, probably, possibly, maybe getting a Sheltie puppy in the next couple months. Yay! While I've had Shelties before, as well as German Shepherds, a Rottweiler, Poodles, a Chihuahua, and a Schnauzer, I haven't had a dog as a puppy in almost 10 years. The research on how best to train a dog has vastly changed from the last time I was actively working a dog for obedience. It was almost 20 years ago when I was using Alpha training to get my Rottie ready for the Obedience ring. It worked really well for that purpose but not so much for life--he certainly obeyed ME without any problems, but with everyone else, including my wife and children, he felt HE was the alpha male. (Oh, and we never made it to the ring because we moved to the middle of nowhere in another state so I didn't get to keep up MY training on how to do obedience training.)

    In trying to do research on this topic now, I'm finding Don Sullivan's Perfect Dog vs. The Dog Whisperer vs. Marker/Clicker/Food Rewards vs. Never-Use-Food-As-A-Reward vs. Never Use Correction Tactics vs. Leerburg-"Use-A-Shock-Collar" vs. Zak George is an idiot vs. The Dog Whisperer has no clue vs. Just-use-a-rolled-up-newspaper-it-worked-for-my-parents-when-they-trained-Fluffy vs. You get the idea. (I'm obviously being a bit facetious here, but NOT MUCH! Have you seen what's out there?!?)

    So, what's best? What's the best method particularly with Shelties? And particularly with a Sheltie that I hope to get into the Obedience ring one day? Like I said, it's been a long time and what was supposed to be the best technique back then isn't considered that anymore.

    Thanks for the help. And sorry this is so long.
  2. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    Shelties love their people, and love making their people happy. If your pup is food motivated, go with that. Shelties can be pretty sensitive, so no shock collars or alpha stuff please!
    Kirby and Toffee's Mom like this.
  3. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    I know what you mean, I wish I could have a 'do over' with my previous pets, knowing what I know now. So much research has been done in recent decades that we can now rely on methods with scientific proof backing it up.

    Generally you should only steer towards trainers who mention positive training methods. I think that works for any dog but Shelties are a sensitive breed and will tend to shut down with harsh approaches. My feeling is - if you wouldn't do that to a child then it won't work for a dog either.

    Ian Dunbar is a good place to start. His site Dogstar Daily has a lot of great resources, including his ebooks Before you get your puppy and After you get your puppy and articles, blogs and podcasts from many top notch behaviourists.

    Other well regarded, positive behaviourists with a web presence are Victoria Stillwell and Dr Patricia McConnell. The late Dr Sophia Yin has a puppy socialisation checklist that's definitely worth working through with your new pup. Both Dr Nicholas Dodman and Dr John Bradshaw have published excellent books on dog (and cat) behaviour. Dr Bradshaw's Book Dog Sense is a good resource for what is real and what is bunk in the world of dog behaviour. He discusses how the whole wolf pack theory was developed and how it was based on flawed research and goes into what science shows us works in dog training.

    For a little different training approach, once you get past the puppy stage - look at Do as I do training method - it relies on a dog's ability to mimic to teach them all manner of things.

    Cleo2014, Ann and Cara Sandler like this.
  4. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 11, 2015
    Yes, these trainers are the leading experts in positive training, and I highly, highly recommend researching them and following their advice.
  5. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    I have had wonderful German shepherds for more than 30 years and has always trained with treats and praise :yes: and taken a lot of samples.

    After 1 week with a Sheltie puppy, I understood that it had a totally different and much sensitive mind - so I started with a whole different angle to access training :biggrin2:

    A nice little article that tells a little about Shelties
  6. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    My dog Piper is my first Sheltie (but not last) and we've been doing obedience for a good while now and I can tell you the same thing everyone else said that they are a super sensitive breed and it must be a positive reinforcement training with lots of rewards. If you try to push them too hard or are too harsh with them not only will they shut down but it'll take you even longer to get them to do what you want them to do, kinda like 1 step forward and 4 steps back. Good luck!
    Hanne likes this.
  7. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    Oh, and my boy Loves praise! He lights up :) You will love your new baby, Shelties are amazing creatures and are adorable puppies.
  8. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I have followed The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete for all our dogs. People remark on how well behaved and calm, pleasant and we-- adjusted our Shelties are.
  9. Preacher

    Preacher Forums Novice

    Jul 26, 2016
    Central Wisconsin
    Thanks, everyone, for all the good input. I've checked out and researched each and every book or person that you've recommended. It's been an interesting time. I'm pretty impressed with Dr. Yin and the work she did on training. I'm probably going to get her book about the Perfect Puppy.

    Now I need to figure out what collar to get for a new Sheltie puppy. It will be coming home at 8 to 10 weeks old. So I'll ask for your help once more: What type of collar should I get a Sheltie puppy? Please post links to specific collars (if that's allowed here).

    Thanks for all the help.
  10. 2GoodDogs

    2GoodDogs Forums Enthusiast

    Jun 17, 2010
    If your sheltie will be your obedience prospect, find a mentor-coach who is (has been) successful showing their dogs in obedience. Alot of the pet advice isn't necessarily the best advice if you are aiming for the higher levels of competitive obedience (which is a thrill that doesn't compare... in my opinon!)

    Hands on help is best, because your learning cure will be way beyond what your sheltie needs to learn. ;)

    Look for an AKC club in your area that holds classes. Visit obedience trials and look for the teams that have the connection that you admire. Talk to them after they have shown, ask around and you will probably have several referrals to either classes or instructors who will work with you privately.

    and... start early! My puppy is doing the baby steps of the utility exercises early on and learning the novice exercises slowly... retrieving is easy with a baby puppy, make it play and make it fun and rewarding! Just them picking up something (my sock.. shoe... tissue!) brings praise and encouragement, even treats while I trade them a cookie for whatever naughtiness they brought to me. (trick is they pick up something from the floor and carry it to you for a reward!) :)

    Read the rule book, join a club, there are tons of groups on the internet and facebook. Google and You Tube for sheltie obedience, AKC Obedience, TNT Kennels, Celsete Meade, Laura Romanik, etc... tons of free stuff out there. I can't remember the name of one that is sheltie and oh so awesome... when it comes to me I'll come back and post it.

    Have fun, good luck! :)
    Cleo2014 likes this.

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