As the litter due date gets closer I’m getting pretty excited, things are definitely starting to seem like they are going to happen in a hurry! I want to be as ready as possible beforehand since I know I’ll be running non-stop once puppy gets here.
Looking ahead I’m starting to put together my puppy training plan. The puppy will need to learn basic commands of course; however, I also want to plan out what other classes I want to take with him in his first year.
My favorite things to do with Tess, which I’m sure the puppy will get roped into doing, are agility and tracking. Flyball is a little newer to us, but I hope that can be a part of it too. I haven’t done any hunt training work with Tess – though I would have liked to – so I hope I can do that with both of them.
So what does that mean for my training plan?
Right now I think we’ll start with the basics, Puppy Class of course! I have a few classes I still need to check out to finalize where we will go. Right now I am debating adding a second puppy class and doing two different facilities. My hope would be to get the puppy used to another new facility, different puppies & people; but most importantly since I live alone I want the puppy to have more opportunities to be handled and meet new people. So I have to think on that, alternatively I might do a couple different visits to the groomer (even though I normally do this myself), and/or a visit to a local doggy day care & rehab facility (that has a heated indoor pool) for a swim session with their trainers.
After puppy class I think we will enroll in a Canine Good Neighbour class, I did this before with Tess and it was an excellent way to continue to work on socialization, as well as continue with our obedience training (or lack thereof!). My biggest regret with Tess is that we can’t get our title, so one of my big goals with the puppy is that he get his.
Occasionally I mix up the order in which I want to take these next two classes, but I think the next class for us will be puppy agility. This is a puppy safe class so it is designed not to stress their growing bones and bodies, but will start to introduce the puppy to the obstacles and environment in which we hope to compete down the road. I want to move this one up a bit earlier while the puppy’s brain is still a sponge to new experiences and environments and before the socialization window begins to close. After completing the puppy agility class, I hope I can start to bring the puppy when I rent the agility hall and work on little sequences ourselves before enrolling in the next level of classes, which will likely be 6-12 months down the road.
Puppy won’t be ready to jump into agility full tilt just yet, and I don’t want him injured or burnt out before he’s even grown up. So I think we will enroll in Rally Obedience next. It’s something I haven’t done with Tess, so it’ll be new to me, but I think it’s something that’ll keep me a little more focused on keeping up with the obedience work. Which should take us to around the end of his first year!
I’m also looking into some drop in conformation classes. I haven’t done any of this, and I’m not sure I’m too keen to do it, but I think it might be a good way for the puppy to get used to focusing in a show environment; lots of dogs, noise, kenneling, and more people handling him.
Outside of classes we will do some tracking, maybe some simple hunt training (sit-stay in place, retrieval, and swimming) over the summer, and some trick dog training. A good friend’s 16 week old puppy earned her Novice Trick Dog Title so the bar’s been set pretty high!
Writing all this I’m so excited to get going!