On this page, I’d like to introduce the concept of dog communication.
Your new Sheltie doesn’t know you and so has no reason to trust you. Yes, you are a very nice person but the pup doesn’t know this. And attempting a verbal conversation with him is pretty much useless. His verbal vocabulary will grow as he gets older, but right now it is non-existant.
Therefore, your job is to find ways to speak with your Sheltie so he will understand a few basic things that he needs to learn:
1) when you are pleased with his behavior
2) when you are NOT pleased with his behavior
3) when you’d like him to do something specific.
4) that good things come from you.
One good way begin dog communication is BRIBERY!!!
Teeny weenie bits of very desirable treats (really…. teeny weenie… You have a tiny pup with a tiny stomach) is the way get your pup thinking in terms of communication with you.
Give your Sheltie a few of these treats often during the day. Soon he will understand that good things come from you.
You are the treat machine. Dog communication is getting the message through. Let the bonding begin! WAAA-HOO!
If your Sheltie won’t take it out of your hand at first, toss a treat a little bit away from you for him to get. Remember, they don’t follow things thrown through the air for too long a distance. Make sure he sees you make the toss and try to aim close to them.
Slowly, over the next few days, toss the treat so it lands closer and closer to you. Eventually, your pup will take the treat out of your hand.
Another way to communicate is using your tone of voice. A happy, positive tone will add to the effectiveness of your dog communication. It demonstrates that you are pleased with whatever the pup is doing.
So let’s say you want to teach your Sheltie to come to you.
Little story: I knew a gentleman who purchased a border collie. He let it loose outside and eventually the pup got the idea to visit the farm next door and begin to harass the livestock.
This new owner, wanting to dissuade the pup from doing this, would call the border collie to him, thump him on the head with his hand, and say in a stern voice, “Now, DON’T do that again!” After a few of these little “conversations”, the pup would not come when called. Can you guess why?
I asked the gentleman if someone were to call HIM and thump him on the head and yell, would he want to go near that person after a few times? It was a light-bulb moment for the man. He needed to be a little more fluent in thinking from the pup's perspective.
Do your best to keep it positive. Coming up to you should be the most wonderful, exciting thing to a pup. And as a mentor told me years ago, it’s really hard to be more exciting than grass at this point. Everything is new and fun.
So be more fun than grass.
Puppies explore their environment with their noses and their mouths. If your pup begins to chew on something he shouldn’t, your dog communication is simply to re-direct him. Give him an approved toy, remove the unacceptable item from his space and praise him (happy voice) when he begins to play with his new toy.
You will do this about 6 million times with everything in the house before he finally understands what is his and what is not. And confine your Sheltie in a small enough space that he can’t go foraging all over the house for good, smelly, tasty items to chew, like your shoes.
Little story: Had a family purchase a Sheltie from me. After about 3 months I got a call from them saying they didn’t want the pup anymore because it just chewed everything including remote controls, shoes, kids toys. The list went on and on.
My questions were: How long was this Sheltie left alone in order to do that much damage? Why did they not confine the pup in an exercise pen to give it a chance to behave properly with approved toys?
Their Answer: Well, I showed him his chew bone when he first got home, why doesn’t he use that? Like I said, you are supposed to be the smart one in this relationship. You have to learn dog communication to get through to him. He's a baby!!
NEVER discipline a puppy harshly. While he doesn’t understand English, he does understand tones of voice. And hitting him just makes him afraid of you. You need to find a POSITIVE way to communicate what you want from him. He’s a baby.
DO NOT RUB HIS NOSE IN URINE PUDDLES if he has an accident. Seriously, what are you saying to the puppy? “Never pee again”? How can he understand from that single act that you just don’t want pee in the house?
Clean it up and consider it your mistake. Why yours? Because again, you are supposed to be the smart one in this relationship. Effective communication would be taking him outside many many times during the day and praising him when he relieves himself. It's rarely verbal communication that works in the beginning of a relationship with your pup.
DO NOT STRIKE YOUR PUPPY. ‘Nuf said.
Puppies have the short term memory of a guppie when you first get them home. If you don’t respond within a few seconds (not minutes) to whatever act you want to reinforce, he won’t make the connection.
Bottom line? Bringing a new puppy home means repeat, repeat and repeat again and again and again. Bribery and upbeat voice.
Puppies need to be handled correctly by children. This little ditty makes it easy for kids to understand what is good to do.