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What to expect at 6 months

Written by: Kassie Dickson, CPDT-KA, K9 Koach

Terrible teenagers: Every puppy and their development is different, but your pup will likely be entering their adolescent stage. Your rules are the most important thing right now. Do not give up. Your puppy just wants to know that you are still the one with the answers. 

Prevention training: Bite inhibition and preventing unwanted behaviors are more important now than ever. Use active time outs to teach your puppy that inappropriate behaviors cause all the fun to end!

Older and more mature dogs are going to start telling your puppy what is and what is not appropriate, as they begin to age. Their “puppy license” is going to expire. This is a normal and healthy form of communication from other well-socialized dogs that can help your puppy to learn good manners around other dogs.

TIP

1. If your pup all of a sudden forgets how to sit or loses his focus, this is totally normal! Bring treats back into the picture for behaviors your dog may know, but seems to be forgetting. Reinforce that good things happen when good behavior is displayed.

2. Look for advice from trusted professionals. While friends and family mean well, it is important to get sound trusted advice from trained professionals.

Ask for references and always choose positive training techniques.

 

TRAINING

TARGETING

Teaching your puppy to target can serve as not only a way to get their attention, but in addition, to build essential behaviors, such as loose leash walking and recall. But wait, that's not all! It can also be used to teach fun tricks, help with Veterinary procedures, and act as a consent cue.

Start by teaching your pup to target their nose to your palm. 

Place your palm close to your puppy's nose. When they lean in and touch, mark, and reward!

Slowly repeat by moving your hand away from their nose, so that your puppy begins to seek the contact and actively push into your hand. If your puppy does not lean in to touch, take your hand away, and try again. When they do get it…pawty!

 

LOOSE LEASH WALKING

Keep your leash slack, then bring your puppy into the side you would like them to walk on, and finally reward them in place, several times before you begin to walk.

Start moving, and immediately mark and reward! Feed your pup in a forward motion. Do not stop to treat. Reward your puppy every step or two until they’re offering great attention and focus, then begin slowly increasing the time between rewards.

If your puppy pulls the leash, plant your feet like a tree, and get them back to where you want them. Then to try again, with patience, consistency, and lots of yummy treats, are key.

Remember your leash is not a steering wheel. Reward your puppy only, and only when, there is absolutely no tension on the leash.

 

"Your puppy is changing both in body and mind, it’s important to know and understand this stage.

If you're stuck, seek a professional. No physical or verbal punishment, science tells us that this type of punishment will only break the bond and trust you have with your dog. Introducing punishment that your pup may find aversive will have lasting negative effects!" — Kassie Dickson, CPDT-KA

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