Puppy Wonder Weeks – Part 1

At what age should you start training your puppy? As a trainer, I get this question all the time, especially from those with new puppies. The simple answer is “training should start the moment you first meet your puppy” and training should continue until you and your dog(s) are living happily ever after. When training starts from the get-go, you set the foundation of your pup’s life by developing all the layers of their insanely awesome personalities. Early training ultimately effects their health and happiness. And, when puppy dogs are healthy and happy, so are their human moms and dads.

Puppy Socialization

The critical socialization period for puppies is 4-12 weeks. Before 4 weeks, puppies sleep around the clock – with occasional bouts of arousal to consume nourishment. Puppies typically stay with their biological doggy moms and litter-mates until they are 7-8 weeks old, so early puppy handling should be provided by other caretakers.

The last month of their critical socialization period (weeks 8-12) is the prime time for your pup to get accustomed to other humans and animals (dogs, cats, birds, sheep, hamsters, etc.). This short window of opportunity is why puppy socialization should start the moment you meet your puppy.

The Wonder Weeks

The second half of puppy’s socialization period (8-12 weeks) are the Wonder Weeks. These weeks represent the ideal time to start puppy training. The foundation of your puppy’s personality is molded and developed at this early age. The importance of early socialization is why puppies typically meet their new families around 8 weeks and why you are in the training process the second you meet your little pup. If you have the great fortune to acquire your puppy before 13 weeks old – you will significantly shape your puppy’s personality, for better or worse. Early puppy training will have a significant positive influence on your puppy’s life.

Puppy Training Skills

Young puppies (less than 5-months) are taught foundation skills that include potty training, manners (e.g., jumping, barking, whining, mouthing, biting, growling, snarling), basic obedience and socialization. Other than the foundation obedience skills of LOOK and COME, young puppy training focuses more on potty training, manners and socialization. While older puppies (5+ months) also need manners and socialization skills, they are at the ideal age to learn more advanced obedience plus leash skills. 

Coming soon …. Puppy Wonder Weeks – Part 2: Training options for young puppies.

If you would like to learn more about training your puppy, we would love to help you. Please give us a call.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. Please follow us on Instagram @LuckyDogTrainingAVL and @KyloRenPup. Please contact us for more information at TrainingLuckyDogs@gmail.com or call us at 828-423-9635.

Curb the Chaos

During these unprecedented times in our lives, we are faced with unimaginable challenges, to no fault of our own. To overcome these challenges, we must dig deep and find the strength and courage to move forward.

Humans are social creatures, so “social” or “physical” distancing is difficult and feels abnormal. However, physical distancing is necessary as we fight this highly contagious coronavirus. As we take necessary precautions and physically distance from each other, we should not lose connection with each other. And we should not lose connection with ourselves.

To stay connected with others, we are encouraged to use technology. (If they could, our social doggy friends would definitely use technology to bark with their buddies.) To stay connected with ourselves, we are reminded to focus on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We need to remain strong and stick together, even though we cannot touch each other.

We had the great fortune to hear Dr. Sue Varna, CBT Psychiatry, speak about mental health during times of crisis. Below is a link to Dr. Varna’s explanation of the “4-Ms” in mental health: mindfulness, movement, mastery and meaningful engagement.

MSNBC – Dr Sue Varna

In the spirit of the 4-Ms of mental health, we will focus on calming the chaos in our lives during these uncertain times. Our goal is to provide feel-good stories through all types of online resources, all of which can be shared with your loved ones, especially your pups.

We have so much at our fingertips. And while our fingertips are prohibited from touching others, all-hands-on dog petting and loving are highly encouraged. If you have the great fortune to have a beloved pup, you are blessed to have your very own mental health therapy dog right at your fingertips. And if you don’t, now might be the best time to adopt. Dogs save lives.

~ For the Love of Dogs ~

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. Please follow us on Instagram @TrainingLuckyDogs and @KyloRenPup. Please contact us for more information at TrainingLuckyDogs@gmail.com or call us at 828-423-9635.

Puppy Training 101

Why Train Your Puppy

Are you planning to get a puppy soon? How exciting! Do you already have a new puppy? Congratulations! Puppies are wonderful beings that come in relatively small packages. However, puppies grow up very, very quickly – right before your eyes at lightening speed. Continue reading

Science of Dog Training

As a scientist, I find myself in the curious culture that revolves around pet dogs. I hear “science-based dog training” and am mystified by the context it’s used. The term “science”, which is a very broad, all-encompassing term, has been misappropriated to represent a very narrow training approach. In the pet dog training culture, “science-based dog training” is synonymous with “positive reinforcement training”. This is not accurate in so many ways and creates confusion and frustration for everyone, especially for our sweet little dogs. Continue reading

Happy Holidays!

Happiest of Holidays!

Wishing everyone the Happiest of Holidays! We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful area that welcomes so many dog-friendly lifestyles. Walking, hiking, biking and swimming with our dogs is just a sample of all the fun ways to enjoy life each and every day, including the holidays, with our faithful companions.

Please give your puppy dogs an extra hug for us! Continue reading

The DOG’S PERSPECTIVE – Kindle Countdown Begins

Will you be getting a puppy for Christmas? Did you get a puppy last Christmas? Do your puppies need training but you have no clue how to train a dog? Do you need help right now? Or yesterday?

You are probably a busy person who does not have time to read all the books and websites on dog training to figure out how to go about this very important part of your dog’s life – training. Would you appreciate if someone or something would explain or summarize your options for getting basic dog training? Do you want want training to be fun so that it is a daily pleasure, not a dreaded chore? Do you want to make an educated decision about how to train your own doggies? Continue reading

Lucky Dog Training Programs

Imagine you and your dogs are the talk of your neighborhood – for all the right reasons. Imagine your dogs walk  on leash without pulling – ever! Even when they see a cat, squirrel or another dog! Imagine that you can walk up to strangers or neighbors and your dog does not jump, bark or lunge on the leash. Imagine that your dog listens to you the first time and every time! Now imagine that you can take your dog off leash and you have the confidence that your dog will not bolt or runaway. Imagine that your dog is the poster pup for the well-mannered dog. Continue reading

The DOG’S PERSPECTIVE eBook

Volume 1 ~ A Philosophy Primer

Introducing the first volume of the Kindle eBook* series, The Dog’s Perspective: How to Train a Dog by Thinking like a Dog. The objective of this book series is to explain how to train dogs by thinking like a dog. The Dog’s Perspective is a simple and straight forward approach to dog training that enables anyone to find solutions to many of their dog-related issues. The objective of this first volume, A Philosophy Primer, is to explain the philosophical foundation of the Dog’s Perspective.

This volume describes, compares and contrasts three different training philosophies and their ultimate effect on dog training success. Current training methods are easily categorized into two basic philosophies: Wolf’s Perspective and the Human’s Perspective. This book presents a third training philosophy, the Dog’s Perspective, which is an evolutionary approach that shares both similarities and differences with the other training philosophies.

There are numerous reasons this book needed to be written. First, so much misinformation about dog training is running rampant, especially where it comes to unsubstantiated claims of scientific evidence supporting an opinion or viewpoint. Second, some training methods are too complex and/or ineffective. These problems frustrate most humans to the point of quitting – just giving up on training their dogs.

The individuals harmed the most from this are innocent dogs. Some untrained dogs are just left home alone or confined to their yards. Others are less fortunate and find themselves surrendered to a shelter or worse. The goal of this book is to help stop the abandonment trend by explaining just how easy and straightforward dog training is from the Dog’s Perspective. Trained dogs are lucky dogs and their humans are very happy companions.

Continue reading

Think Outside the Skinner Box

When you search for information on how to train your dog, do you consistently find references to B.F. Skinner and the learning theory he proposed known as operant conditioning? Understanding operant conditioning and properly applying the concepts to dog training can be a daunting task, but is necessary for achieving success in dog training. This is where our new book series, The Dog’s Perspective: How to Train a Dog by Thinking Like a Dog, will be very handy. Not only is operant conditioning fully explained and applied to dog training in Volume 1: Philosophy Primer, but it also explores how operant conditioning from the Human’s Perspective, does not coincide with the dog’s point of view (The Dog’s Perspective). These differences in approaches is explained in how to “Think Outside the Skinner Box”. Continue reading

How Dogs Recognize Human Emotions

Co-evolution of Dog & Human Companionship

IMG_6684Humans have associated with wild canids for at least 30,000. The fossil record confirms human (Homo sapiens) developed relationships with canines as far back as the times of the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis). From these early wild canids evolved the domestic dog. Humans and their dog companions have been together for the last 15,000 years or so, which is a very long time for BFFs. Dogs and humans are two different mammalian species that have developed a highly beneficial, co-evolutionary relationship. No other interspecific relationship, between two species, is as complex and mutually beneficial as the dog-human companionship. The success of our canine companions’ relationship is their ability to communicate and cooperate with humans, a separate species. However, how this communication occurs between humans and dogs is debatable. Continue reading