«String» method : educational measures during the first week.

Author Baskina Sofya, translated by Olga Ulyanko

Attachment of a dog to the owner doesn’t appear instantly. The maturity of a puppy complies with certain laws, which I will talk about later. Today, when you have a puppy for less than a week, you don’t have many ways to influence the puppy’s behavior — the pet hasn’t formed an attachment to you yet, it is still under the stress of moving to a new home, thus it is very active and explores everything— hands, furniture (by tasting it). It is yet early to punish the puppy. So what can and should be done to make yourself and the puppy safe?

1) Give the puppy what it needs — toys that it can chew on, play games in which the puppy can run and bark. But don’t overdo it. Play with the puppy for about 5 min., then give it a toy and leave it alone for 10 min. After that continue playing. This is especially important for excitable dogs. If you play with a puppy until it conks out, it can develop a ball-herding obsession. Such behaviour is undesirable for a companion dog. On the other hand, if the dog is for sport, you will have to play a lot with it and in many different manners.

2) From the first days get your puppy used to wear a soft collar. Leave the puppy in a collar every day for several hours. If the puppy tries to get rid of the collar, itches, put the collar on the puppy when you feed him or play with him, so he can get his mind of it and get used to the collar. !!! Don’t forget to take the collar off the puppy at night and when you leave him at home alone!!!

  • As soon as the puppy gets used to the collar, put it on a leash or a string 1 m long.The puppy will be wearing this string all week. (!!! Don’t forget to take everything off the puppy at night and when you leave it at home alone!!!!!!). On the first day the puppy will gnaw the string ( if the puppy gnashes it – just tie two ends together), will step on it and stumble – that’s ok. On the third day your pet will forget about the string.
  • If the puppy bit your hand, take the end of the leash in the other hand and severely say «NO!». Don’t pull your hand out of the puppy’s mouth, just hold the leash until the puppy releases your hand and then immediately say «Good dog!». Quit holding the leash if the puppy has lost interest in your hands.  If the puppy  gets “overexcited” — put out your hand and hold the leash so that the puppy can stand on his four legs on the floor, but can’t reach your hands or clothes.  If it starts jumping, you can slightly pull the leash to the side, so that the puppy would lose balance and hasten to stand on four legs.  Be patient —it can take time for the puppy to calm down and stop his «predator» antics during the first   Gradually your pet will get accustomed and will respond more quickly to the forbiddance and the leash.

 

  • If the puppy starts gnawing chair legs – immediately say “No!” and pull the pet back with the leash. Wait until the puppy stands on all four legs, stops straining after the chair leg, and, ideally, looks at you. Say “Good boy/girl!” and give the puppy something it is allowed to chew.
  • If the puppy grabs your sock and starts running around the apartment with it, inviting you to join the game – step on the end of the leash. Then, using the leash, pull the puppy closer (don’t come to the puppy yourself) and take the sock out of the puppy’s mouth carefully.

If you always follow the same procedure – hold the puppy back with a leash each time it tries to do something inappropriate, no undesirable habits will develop: the puppy won’t bite your hands when it gets carried away with a game, won’t steal your socks or shoes, and won’t gnaw your furniture. Leave the leash on the puppy for one week (but only when you are around!!!). If after 1 week the puppy keeps misbehaving, leave the leash on for another week. Several months later you may need to repeat the “string method”, but only for an hour or two.

This method isn’t hard to learn and use to prevent undesirable behavior of your pet. Nevertheless some dog owners make mistakes:
1) The leash is not a panacea. Hold the puppy back with it when needed and then let go. Don’t hold the pet on the leash all day long.
2) “Control” the puppy using the leash only. Don’t grab it by the collar or by the back of the neck – it might frighten the puppy (which will result in fearful aggression) or might provoke playful aggression (you grab – it bites back – you pull your hand away – it bites again).
3) Under no circumstances shout at the puppy during the first week at your home, don’t beat it, don’t punish by ignoring the puppy, don’t grab and shake it by the back of the neck, don’t force it against the floor and don’t scoot it back over.

Different things can come into fashion from time to time, even cruelty that poorly educated dog owners and dog trainers explain by as thought “dominance theory” (having no idea what this term actually means). They don’t even have enough knowledge to assess the consequences of their misconceptions. On the forums, in training schools, on the streets and even in books you will hear and read: grab the dog by the back of the neck, force it against the floor. For this reason I repeat in capital letters:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOUT AT THE PUPPY DURING THE FIRST WEEK AT YOUR HOME, DON’T BEAT IT, DON’T PUNISH BY IGNORING THE PUPPY, DON’T GRAB AND SHAKE IT BY THE BACK OF THE NECK, DON’T FORCE IT AGAINST THE FLOOR AND DON’T SCOOT IT BACK OVER.


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