Physically, he's growing at an astounding rate. Mentally, he's taking big leaps as well (thankfully!).
I just completed his five-month old questionnaire for Service Dogs of Virginia and was amazed at all the things this boy knows (and is in the process of learning).
If you have a puppy, your pup is also able to accomplish all these things. Schooner is just a regular puppy, he has no special intelligence or skills. So if you're looking for more to teach your pup than just sits, downs, and loose leash walking, take a look at Schooner's list for inspiration.
By five months, Schooner is expected to be at least working on all of these. Some of these he should already be pretty good at.
Don't worry, it's not all work for Schooner. In fact, it's usually a lot more play than work! As you can see from this picture, we take lots of training breaks and field trips where he can let it all hang out and be a regular pup. Here he's trying to figure out just how those two dogs got all the way out there (they jumped off the dock and swam) and whether he's brave enough to try this amazing feat (he wasn't -- at least not that day).
- Watch me (look at me when I call his name once)
- Auto check in (looking at me frequently just to "check in")
- Leave it (don't touch it) with food in a closed hand, open hand, on the floor, and while walking past the food on the floor
- Touch (his nose to my hand or lid) from 1' or 2' (or farther if possible)
- Touch that object when it's affixed to the wall
- Loose leash walking (polite walking without pulling)
- Recall (come when called) in the house, outside, away from play
- Sit (in front, on my left, and on my right)
- Down (in front, on my left, and on my right)
- Stay (from either a sit or a down, to hold that position)
- Release (tells the dog when they can get up or move or quit the behavior they were doing)
- Meet and greet (meet people and dogs without pulling on the leash or jumping)
- Look at that (dog will look at a distraction when asked) By asking the dog to look at something, we are getting rid of the startle/bark, and also getting the dog's attention back on us while letting them check out the distracting thing)
- Mat (go to your mat and lay down)
- Kennel (run to your crate, go in, and lay down)
- Up/Off (put your paws up onto something, take your paws off something). Can also mean get up onto something (onto the bed, for instance) or get off of something
- Back beside handler (helpful especially for a large dog so they are easily maneuverable in tight spaces like hallways, trains, restaurants, etc.)
- Back in front of handler (helpful when the dog has gone through a door first, turned to check on the handler, then needs to move backwards for the person to come through the door)
- Go in (dog goes under table and lays down)
- Wait (dog waits at the gate, door, etc. for the signal to go through)
- Over (roll over)
- Shake (fun trick) -- dog offers his paw when asked
- Hurry up (dog goes to the bathroom). This is really handy when the handler needs to go into a public place and needs the dog to empty before entering the building or meeting.
In upcoming posts, I'll dissect each of these a bit more and give you tips on how to teach them and why they'd be helpful for you to teach your pup. Even older dogs can learn how to do these things. They're fun to teach, and helpful for you to use. What have you got to lose?!
What cool things have you taught your puppy to do? Leave a comment below and share with us and the readers!