Since there are no available puppies right now, I’m working on a series of frequently asked questions. Things new puppy parents ask me a lot. If you have a question or want to ask or discuss something, do it here in the comments or pop over to the FB page and take look. I’ll chatter about anything. Well, mostly anything…try me and we will see! First up – a little information on getting your new puppy’s attention!
Pay Attention to Meeee!!!!!!!
High on the list of frustrations for people is when their puppy ignores them. I’ve had I don’t know how many people say, “I think baby is deaf.” Yeah, occasionally there are deaf puppies, but my husband had what I called “selective male deafness” and sometimes puppies do, too. Wait till puppy is playing with his ball, or half asleep and bang a spoon on a pot. If he looks, he isn’t deaf, you are being ignored. Why should they pay attention to you? I mean, you are just the source of everything in their lives, after all, right?
If you don’t have or can’t get their attention, nothing else you do is going to matter much. You have to be the most fun and most exciting thing ever! Which is easy when you have a tiny puppy. You are their world! They want to be with you! Use that and enjoy it, and take advantage of it. They will turn teenager soon enough.
First of all, you want to teach them to look at you, look your way. Think of one word. I say, “Me” some people say “Look” or “Watch” you can say ‘mustard’ or whatever you want – but one word. Take a tiny bit of treat and wave it under baby’s nose. Let them sniff, and say their name, first, then your word. “Baby, Watch.” And move the treat up by your nose. Hold what passes for eye contact for about two seconds, give treat and praise. ALWAYS REWARD BABY FOR DOING WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO. Treats are good, praise is good, playing ball for ten seconds. Whatever. Just let them know ‘that’s what I wanted! Yay you!’. They don’t know what you want or how life works – they are babies! So, tell them!
Your goal is when you say “Baby, Watch” they look your way. Now, I just put my finger by my nose and my dogs go, “Hey, Mom is up to something, let’s pay attention!”
Do that half a dozen times a day – it takes like five seconds after all. “Baby, watch!” Hold eye contact, reward. Do it before they eat, before play time, when you are getting ready to put the leash on, just incorporate it into your day. Your goal is to hold eye contact for about five seconds. Easy for some, harder for others, but you will have this baby for about 18 years hopefully, be patient. They are learning a lot right now!
Couple weeks ago, they didn’t even have eyes open and were smaller than a soda can!
If they don’t follow your treat up to your nose (eyes), use something smellier, or use a noise instead. A clicker or a click with your mouth or a whistle, just anything to get their attention and look toward you. Put your finger to your nose. Reward, as if they did it the first time, they are just learning.
Okay, after you have done that a few times, and baby seems to be getting the hang of it, take one step backwards and say, “Baby, come!” Puppy will more than likely follow you. If so – Most brilliant baby, ever!!! Get on the floor and love all over them, then stand back up and do it again. “Baby, watch! Baby, come.”
One thing to remember when you are working with puppy, is not to repeat your command over and over and over. They will turn into kids who refuse to do anything till you ‘start counting to three’. Why should they? You aren’t serious till then. Say it once, then stand on your head instead of repeating it. Okay, since they are babies, you can actually say it twice, but no more! Promise me? Make kissy noises or do something else, but don’t stand there and go ‘come, come, come, come.’ or ‘sit sit sit sit sit sit’ which is my personal pet peeve. We haven’t talked about sit yet. We will.
Okay -so for today, we have ‘Baby, Watch’ and ‘Baby, Come’. I’m going to do a few more articles on ‘Come’ because that is just the beginning. We want that puppy bounding to you every single time you call, because it can literally save their lives if they slip off lead, and can save you lots of frustration when puppy is jumping, barking, chewing your shoes, digging up your couch, i.e. acting like a normal puppy. Questions? Comments? Looking forward to them!