August 22, 2005 (nine weeks old)
                                                                   "outdoor, natural hallway retrieve"
August 22, 2005 (ten weeks old)
 "Daisy's Dokken"
August 26, 2005 (eleven weeks old)
                       "water retrieve past a decoy"

                                           Thoughts About Puppy "Windows of Opportunity"
                            Training becomes a lot simpler by answering the question "What does my pup need to know before we start this new routine?" Taking a proactive approach avoids the potential quagmire of trying to teach more than one thing at a time. You can't go back and makeup for what was missed without interrupting a teaching moment.

A well imprinted pup starting formal training should have heard the words "no", "here", "sit", "fetch", "shake", etc. in a rewarding and relevant context. If these words become a daily "conversation" in the context of predictable routines they make more sense. This process is called imprinting and creates a responsive, seamless flow into formal training.

For example, If an older pup in formal training comes out of the water carrying a bumper  he should already know what "shake" means (with the "wagging hand" signal to do so). Anticipation requires a proactive mindset and becomes a useful retriever training skill that promotes seamless teaching. Plan ahead by working at being aware. Take advantage of the puppy "windows of opportunity". They are brief. 

Biting ("imprinting" sessions)

I guess I'm not so "warm and fuzzy" with biting pups. The biting issues are dealt with early on with tethered sessions on the living room floor. I want to have control over the pup's freedom and consistently apply the same correction. A "muzzle grab" and a stern "no" always worked quickly for me. I am "up close and personal" and there is no chance for escape. Deliver consistent consequences at the level they "dish it out" and get this issue over with sooner...rather than later. I'm not looking for an easy, alternative distraction and
I'm sure the pup's Mom wouldn't do much coddling, either
(see links below). However, this
is in a different context. I am not his mother.

The regular sessions are designed to be boring and cost me zero time......I do watch TV at times.
Being focused and under control is a good thing and puppies need to learn that not everything is wild and exciting. Their "reward" is 30 minutes of quiet time with me....daily.

Several neat things occur....1) the pup becomes leash broke, 2) the possibility of escape is removed, 3) biting becomes clearly unacceptable, 4) the meaning of "no" is established,
5) the concepts of responsiveness and control are introduced and 6) being relaxed, quiet and calm is normal (for both of us).

The "muzzle grab" and "no bite" routine can be transitioned to a simple raised finger and a quiet "uh...uh...uh" verbal warning....................when he understands and just needs a reminder/cue. I should mention that there are different levels of the "muzzle grabí.
I know I'm making headway with a pup when he falls asleep next to me.

This approach was predicated by a few recognitions. First of all I am not a dog and not a sibling or mother of my pup. It is a given that pups learn to modify their behavior in the litter environment, but when they are no longer is suddenly very different. Chances are the newly presented freedom will precipitate "experimenting". The rationale for proper puppy modifications is to foster responsiveness.
The teacher and trainer is introduced. This session represents only a small portion of the puppy's day.

Biting, leash breaking and being under control are developed in a predictable, fair routine. It is a new world for the pup with his first "job"....learning how to do (or not do) things with me. To repeat, I am not a sibling or mother.

On a side note, veterinarians will very much appreciate the fact that they can easily mess with a pup's ears, legs and paws without him/her "freaking" out.

                                     "The Lesson" (with subtitles) - link

  Mother's "imprint" on biting (Youtube)

Shake ("imprinting" sessions)

                           eight week old puppy water photos - warm, shallow and fun
(left click on thumbnails)
  The Rock River
"my shell hunter"
    This is cool!
  I'm swimming!
      "still wet"

Journal entry -  Aug 1, 2007 made a trip to the Rock River and Gunny took a brief swim while finding every piece of rotten fish there was, found out goose poop tastes good and learned he can keep cool "stuff" in his mouth longer by running faster than me (not good)

Shaking is a natural behavior. When a pup first starts entering and exiting water this is the best time to imprint the idea of shaking on command. Upon exiting simply say "shake" and "waggle" your hand down near him. These visual/verbal actions regularly accompanied by a well timed "good" will imprint the desired response long before expecting and enforcing it when retrieving. This approach is proactive and simple.......plan ahead.

Early on, there will be many puppy opportunities to casually imprint the cues for "shaking".


                                                    note: to be continued
                             next up - imprinting "here", "sit", "fetch" & casting

                                       related page link =
"In the Moment"
                        updated 05/12/14