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New GWP owner with questions

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Joined: 24 Mar 2003
Posts: 6

PostPosted: 03/24/03, 1:59 pm    Post subject: New GWP owner with questions Reply with quote


I have been reading messages here for a while now but this is my first post. We are getting an 8 week old gwp puppy next week !!! Very Happy and we're are so excited we can hardly stand it. I have some questions though... and ANY advise is welcome if not begged for Smile

This dog will eventually be a serious bird hunter. I have birds as pets, a lovebird and a cockatiel. I am wondering about the best way to handle their coexistence in the house. "Leave it" is the command I plan on using if the pup shows too much curiosity but how much is too much? actions toward the bird or simply an intent look? How interested should I let her be before I inforce the leave it command???

I was just wondering too about using no as a command. I have been advised to use a more specific command rather than no, because soon everything becomes no and then it is not as effective. What are anyone else's thoughts on this? The commands we have so far are whoa for stop in place, sit (instead of down) when teaching not to jump up, leave it for the cat and birds.. and all the usual other commands. Also do you associate a word or command with doing the "outside business". My husband feels that is a bridge too far but I have heard it's a good idea to have a command to associate with it in case you are in a hurry sometime.

Please share these or any other thoughts! We are so anxious to get our puppy and want to do things right for her.
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Joined: 27 Dec 2002
Posts: 15
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: 03/25/03, 2:03 pm    Post subject: "outside business" command Reply with quote

I didn't believe it would actually work, but I taught a command to my GWP pup for just those times when I'm in a hurry, and by golly it DOES work! That was 2 years ago, and I find times when it's quite useful. Maybe your husband is worried about his dignity as he follows a pup around in full view of your neighbors using whatever command you've chosen (my husband was not amused that I use "Go piddle")--so chose your word(s) wisely. Next time I sure will.
A new puppy: you lucky person! Have a great time!
Cheers, Rollick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: 03/27/03, 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For getting them to "do their business" I use "hurry hurry" .. cuz that's what I want them to do. Smile

To not jump up on someone, I use "Off"

To leave something alone such as the cat .. or the cat box!! "Leave it"

To get them to stop barking, "Quiet!"

My husband went to nationals for the first time this year (I've been going since the early 90's) THe show was about to start and everyone had their dogs up on the tables for the last minute "fix-up" when my husband started to chuckle. When I asked him why, he said, "Listen!"

Through out the building, from every grooming set up, you could hear the words "QUIT!" and "QUIT IT!" echoing over and over again. Seems to be everyone's word for "Stand still, you goof, and let me finish brushing your legs/ears/back/beard!

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Joined: 08 Nov 2002
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 04/16/03, 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good questions, Ducky.

Isn't it nice to see someone being PROactive? I love that you're preparing for your new pup and getting your language figured out ahead of time. Not enough people do that. So you have my absolute respect!

"Leave it!" is the best command, I'd say, when it comes to the cat, the bird, trash on the sidewalk, other dogs, etc. Make sure that the command is followed by a leash pop (to redirect back to you) or whatever you're using for reinforcement, and then LOTS of praise and LOTS of treats. Of course, if you're talking a wee one here, you might just want to say "leave it" and immediately stick the treat in front of his nose, but not give it to him till he looks at you. Basically you're trying to teach him that "leaving it" means good things coming from you, that you're way more interesting/fun/tasty than the thing you're asking him to leave.

As for the timing on using the "leave it" command... You're talking a GWP here. I'd say the second he starts to show interest in something you have to get him to "leave it". Once my girl locks onto something like the cat (and it can happen in a split second), it's almost hopeless to break that stance. It took me 7 months to get this girl and our cat together. Now they're chums, but before you could have set a bomb off beside this dog and she would not have come off the cat. So I'd say, the very SECOND he looks at the bird or the cat, grab his attention. Trust me, it won't be easy. It'll take a long time. If you're feeling frustrated on this one, and want to vent, you can always e-mail me privately. I've been through it.

And in case you dont' already know it, pointers can be easily motivated with food. I cook my girl liver as treats, but you need to vary it up. Keep them small (I cut the liver into pieces no bigger than my baby pinky nail), keep them tasty, and keep them frequent.

As far as potty... I've always had rescues, so it's fun to try to figure out what commands the dog's previous used. With my current girl, it was "do your business." I've since changed it to "go pee" and "go poo". Yes, the dog knows the difference, and this is my second dog I've been able to train to both. And even though she's got it, I still reinforce with the command. If she's taking a poo while on a walk, I say "Good poo. Good girl. Good poo." So now when I let her out into the yard at night, I say either "go do your business" or "go pee" and off she goes. If I don't see her poo, and she's come back to the door, I ask "Do you have to go poo?" And sure enough, 7 times out of 10, she turns back to the yard and does her poo. Lots of praise and a biscuit follow, even at 15 mos of age. With a wee one, I'd say just give the cue when he first starts peeing. Or...if you KNOW he's gotta go (cuz you'll figure out his schedule pretty quickly), take him to the yard, and stand there. DO NOT MOVE! He is not allowed walk or play until he's done his business. So just stand there like a rock and say "go pee...go pee....go pee." Once he's starting to comprehend the language - in a few months - and you need him to go in a hurry one day, again, stand still, and give the command. If he starts sniffing around or looking off in the distance instead of taking care of business, I'd say "no. go pee. go pee." etc... Once they know, you can incorporate the 'no' into the equation to get their attention back to you and onto the business at hand.

You can also use a sharp "ah!" instead of "no" a lot of the time. I use it training all the time, if she's about to break a stay or is starting to move toward another dog. "AH!" gets her back in line with the work at hand and it's not a constant nagging "no".

When using "Whoa" make sure it's more like "Who-o-o-o-o-a" and not sharp, otherwise I'd worry the dog might confuse it with "no". I use "Wait!" It's got a nice sharp ring to it, especially when I'm using it long distance with her off-leash. I also use it in close quarters though, have her in a heel, and say a sharp "Wait!" She instantly stops and sits while I keep walking. It's just got a sharper sound to it. But hunters will advise you to use the whoa probably.

I use "off" for the jumping up. She's picked that one up quickly. I can also read her body language and can tell if she's about to jump up or is bugging someone, at which point I go with "leave it". But "OFF!" holds more umph, and you can translate that into getting him off the furniture as well. Others will suggest you ask the dog to sit and only then does he/she get attention from the person, however, I like to expand my dog's repertoire of commands. ANd trust me, these GWPs can comprehend more language than you can throw at the average dog!

I don't do any hunting, but I DO do a lot of work with my girl. We're into obedience, agility, and do a lot of off-leash and distance work. I've got her helping around the house as well, carrying groceries, etc, and she is an extremely good house-guest. It's been fascinating these past 9 months watching this girl come from nothing. She didn't know her name when we got her, and only really knew "no" and "business". Now her level of comprehension is vast and increasing daily. She's a joy.

Keep us posted! And if you'd like to speak privately, well, this kind of stuff is my passion....if you couldn't already tell!

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