Adolescent fears and opportunity training

Dexter will be 7 months in a few days and he has been going through normal adolescent moods, fears and tests.

One of the things I started noticing is that he is afraid and unsure of carts, baby carriages and similar wheeled objects. Despite of me introducing him to these things in his earlier age, his “tough” adolescent mind decided that these things are better to stay away from.

Obviously, for a dog that is going to live in Brooklyn and is lining up to do Schutzhund and IPO, these are unacceptable fears.

I’ve seen many people ignore these signs and chuck it off to being cute and just “a baby thing” and ignore the fact that these puppy fears can turn into full blown panics or aggression feats when the dog gets to adulthood. And believe me, I wish luck to anyone who wants to deal with a fully grown mastiff in panic or manic aggression mode.

Thus, I have been walking Dexter by lawnmowers and ladies with carts and etc, but this morning we got a perfect opportunity to face his insecurity head on. Right by our house was a perfectly nice abandoned shopping cart. Dexter promptly decided to make a wide and expeditious circle around it. But to his dismay, which resulted in few “Are you kidding me looks?!” from Dexter and people on the street, I went straight for it and proceeded to roll the cart with us as Dexter and I walk down the street. As he became a bit more confident, i placed him in it and rolled him around. Next, we progressed to walking circles around the cart with Dexter right next to it and doing some basic sit/down obedience with plenty of praise and treats. Not surprisingly, after 10-15 minutes of these shenanigans, he was comfortable and care free walking next to the rolling cart as I rattled and bounced it around or just rolled it in circles.


In one morning of opportunity training we resolved a very simple but potentially very aggravating puppy neuroses. Not only did we solve a problem, but we also had a bit of fun and increased my dog’s trust in me and our bond.

Pay attention to your dog and his behavioral signs! Do not treat puppy behavioral problems as cute and funny “puppy things.” Help your dog explore life and things around them. Guide them through dealing with threatening and uncertain situations and things! It might be funny to you, but to your 6 months old pup the baby carriage might be the most fearsome thing in the world. Your work and patience will pay off by leading your puppy to becoming a confident and reliable dog that will respect and love you and will be ready to follow you in to water, ice and fire!





Dexter had his own plans this morning! Lesson on flexibility in training.

I had big plans for the morning walk with Dexter. We were suppose to do a tracking exercise, some obedience and tug play. Oh, and maybe we work on some healing.

So, tracking done, I am ready to do some obedience work and BAM!!! Dexter decides that the only thing he cares about this morning is some invisible entity that he cannot get his attention off. He locked in staring into the distance and sniffing. No commands or food could distract him. He was full of tense, concentrated energy that was laser beam directed into that ghost.
Now, I faced a choice … Push him into what I wanted to do or let this almost 6 months old deal with whatever occupied his mind.
My plans crushed, I decided to listen to my pup and allow him to process his emotions and interests along with me.
Instead of all the training planned, we went for a long power walk. I chose to be a part of his process and help him drain that energy with my help.  We walked together and allowed his tension to dissipate into the walk.
Ah, and after about 20 minutes of power walking, a miracle happened, my pup relaxed into an easy trot and his attention returned to me. We did some simple obedience exercises and happily went home.
So, remember to be fluid with your dog. Pay attention to their emotions and behavior. Especially, with young dogs who are still processing lots of new information about themselves and the world. Be patient and attentive! Sometimes you will need to surrender you desires, plans and ego and go along with your dog’s needs. Your patience and understanding will pay dividends later through greater bond and respect with you dog.

What's there? #canecorso #canecorsopuppy #dogtraining

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Some Winter fun


Dexter got to play in the snow for the first time and he is growing to love it!

Morning play time #canecorsopuppy #canecorso #snowplay #puppylife #doglove

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Snow fun #canecorso #canecorsopuppy #snowpocolypse2015 #snowplay

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Running in the snow #snowpocolypse2015 #canecorsopuppy #snowplay

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What is this new stuff around? #canecorsopuppy #canecorso #firstsnow #snow #instapet

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A little bit of training

We have been working on come, sit, down and leash walking. All is done with lots of praise and encouraged with food. We do randomly about 20-40 minutes a day of training in between walks and play.

It is paying off and here is a short clip of Dexter doing Sit and holding the position while I walk away about 25 feet. On command he comes to me into come/sit position.

There is no magic to this. All it takes is patience, praise and desire to spend time with your dog.

Dexter is learning how to speak cat … aka not to bite Monya’s tail

We have been working on learning not to chase the cat every time. Dexter’s favorite thing is to run up and grab the tail, but Monya is not a fan. So we are working on hanging out together without chasing or biting.

These are important skills for Dexter to learn for peaceful co-existence with his buddy.

As an owner, even though it is quiet entertaining to watch their antics, it is my responsibility to teach Dexter proper etiquette with the cat and other smaller animals. Very soon he will be much bigger and stronger and bad learned behaviors can lead to lots of headache and conflicts.

Socialize and teach early!!!

Preparation for new puppy and what you will need before one arrives.

There are a lot of things you can buy for your new puppy. However, there is a number of essentials that you need to have prior to your puppies arrival.

I’ve put together a list of things that I have purchased and had ready before I went to pick up Dexter:

1. Crate is an essential part of housebreaking and should be ready for when you bring the puppy home. This crate is nice as it has a divider and will allow you to adjust the space as the puppy grows.

2. Water and food bowl … for obvious reasons. I like this one as it can be mounted inside the cage. Puppies can be rowdy and can flip the bowl if it is not fixed in place. Stainless steal is best as it is easy to clean, hard to chew and will not cause allergies as some plastics do.

3. Natural grain free food (preferable in the beginning same as the puppy was fed by the breeder)

4. Crate bed to make the puppy comfortable

5. Collar… I prefer a simple leather collar. They are durable and reliable.

6. A standard 6′ leash is a must.

7. “Indestructible” toy… something a puppy can chew and play with. I like these as you can put treats inside to stimulate puppies interest and keep it occupied and to drain energy.

8. Treats, preferably grain free, natural and small. It is a must to have so you can right away begin training the puppy and have treats at hand to encourage and reinforce the training.

9. Two identical balls to play fetch. In later posts I’ll explain why 2 and not 1.

10. Chew treat

11. Treat pouch for walks and training. This is very useful as you need to have treats on your walks to reinforce and encourage your training.

12. Waste bags and Dispenser. I like these as they are biodegradable. Prices have dropped significantly in recent times for these things and the pouch is very convenient.

13. Bite and tug rag, especially for bully or larger breeds and if you are interested in obedience, Schutzhund, and other trial dog sports

14. Training Wee Wee pads… for housebreaking

Amazon is a great source for these things vs pet stores. Prices and availability are better as well. This whole list is under $200. Here is a link to the full list

Housebreaking setup Dexter

I setup a playpen as Dexter is too young to hold it for long. At 2 months of age , he can barely hold it for 5 min and needs to go every 2-3 hours. Considering he will need to be left alone for extended periods of time while we are at work, he needs a way to relieve himself. I setup a playpen and it works great. Dexter only does it on the wee wee pads in this setup. However, he also figured out how to climb out, so now I have to figure out how to prevent him from doing that.

Update on the solution will follow.

Feel free to share your solutions… much appreciated.