Puppy Camp - Daily Report

I am doing a One Week Puppy Camp with the most adorable Great Dane.  Her name is Nike and she is almost 16 weeks old.  I thought some of you might be interested to follow her training progress over the next seven days.

Nike's parents contacted me because they needed help with house training, jumping up and puppy biting.  When I asked about her house training progress thus far, I was told that they'd being doing everything right with no results.  In fact, they'd been taking her out to pee every 20 minutes and were still having accidents.  I immediately suggested a vet visit and sure enough our little girl has a urinary tract infection.  This resulted in a prescription for antibiotics and one day's delay.  No big deal.

I went to Nike's house yesterday morning to pick her up.  I fell in love with her and her family immediately!  Nike lives with a mom, dad and four little girls ages 2, 6, 8 and 13.  The family's main concerns are her jumping up and mouthing, since she isn't going to be small for very long!  My main concern as soon as I met her was how painfully shy she seemed to be.

At almost 16 weeks of age, the clock was ticking quickly!  What appeared to be sweet, laid-back, gentle behavior to the average dog owner was a blaring fireworks display to a worried trainer.  The owners mentioned that they'd never seen her this way, or never noticed it.  That makes perfect sense!  If you and your pup are spending your time in familiar places with familiar people and animals, you wouldn't see any uncomfortable moments because the pup wouldn't be uncomfortable.

After a bit of getting to know each other and discussing training goals, we loaded Nike into our truck and headed for home.  She laid down on the backseat and went to sleep almost immediately.  My husband was with me and needed to make a stop along the way.  I decided I would get Nike out and let her walk around a new place, have some treats and maybe go potty. 

Oh my!  Nike was scared!  She did a half army crawl for a few steps, tail tucked and no way did she want a treat.  Back into the truck!  Instead of walking, I stood next to her with the door open, gave her a nice biscuit and praised her for watching the people and cars go by.  That she handled well.

Next stop...my house.  It was time to take this nervous pup into a house with five dogs, four cats, three adults and a 1 year old.  All of my dogs were put outside while Nike sniffed around the house, tail between her legs and a bit jumpy the whole time.  I got some string cheese and gave her little bits of it for everything she bravely investigated. 

The beauty of getting a hold of a shy dog at this age is that it doesn't take long for her to come out of her shell.  It was a matter of minutes before Miss Nike was wagging her tail and galloping from one end of the living room to the other.  She wasn’t as worried about meeting my dogs as I thought she’d be, but she hasn’t yet figured out how to play with them.

Thanks to her owners doing well with crate training, we settled in for a quiet, restful night.  I’m sure that Nike had a lot of new information to process!  This morning we ran from the crate to the potty area and successfully made it to our target.  Treats and a showering of praise followed immediately.

Today Nike will learn sit, down, stand and off/take it.  We’ll lure the first six or seven times with each behavior and plan to have her doing it all with empty hand signals by the end of the day.  We’ll also be doing at least 100 recalls from play and sniffing.  The icing on the cake will be a trip to Home Depot to meet lots of new people who will feed Nike her dinner one piece of kibble at a time.

I plan to get a lot of Nike’s training on video and will let you know tomorrow how today’s training went.