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Leerburg Dog Training Blog

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The Art of Redirecting a Puppy

The Art of Redirection

Those that are new to living with a puppy probably wonder what I mean by “the art of redirection” and why it is important. Here is the short answer.

Puppies play with litter-mates by biting and chewing on each other. That’s just what puppies dog. So when they move in with their new human family they bite and chew on their new human friends. They don’t know any better. In the beginning this is cute. But it can quickly turn into an annoying habit when we can’t walk anywhere without the puppy latching on to our pant leg or shoe strings.

In the old days we used to simply tell them “NO” and give them a good shake, or we would pinch their muzzle until the squealed. Often times this frightened  the pup which then created a problem with our relationship.

Today we have a better way. We use markers and high vale rewards to redirect a puppy away from doing something we don’t want them to do.

When we are going to get our puppy out we put our bait bag on or we put a handful of treats in our pocket before we even see the puppy. We don’t put the bait bag on in front of the puppy. If the puppy saw us do this before we got it out the bait bag going on would be a signal for the dog to pay attention.

When puppies bites us we simply take a high value treat and lure the pup away from biting with it. If the treat has a high enough value the pup will leave what he is biting and go for the food. If we then jackpot the food delivery (watch Cindy is all of the videos) the pup will forget what he had been doing and try to figure out what he needs to do to to get more treats.  After doing this several hundred times the puppies forget about biting because they realize that trying to interact with you is more fun because they get cool food treats.

We can redirect a puppy away from almost anything. It doesn’t just need to be biting.

We don’t want our puppy playing with sticks (it is too dangerous for a pup to run with a pointed stick in his mouth) so we simply redirect (lure) the dog off a stick with a food reward. We ask for engagement by rewarding the dog paying attention to us.

When strangers come to our house, we us our treats to get our puppy to pay attention to us and not the house guests.  Cindy will jackpot food treats and then scoop the pup up and put it in his dog crate or ex-pen. She may need to put a sheet or towel over the crate door so the puppy can’t see the guests.

When Cindy and Meru are on our porch, Cindy on her computer and Meru in his ex-pen,  and I walk up to the house, Cindy will toss a few food treat to the other end of the ex-pen. This redirects Meru away from me walking to the porch.

I should say that I never interact with Meru when he is in his ex-pen. When I walk up I ignore him. I act like I don’t even see him. If I were to acknowledge him every time I walked by the ex-pen he would get too excited and bounce off the sids of the pen. That is just going to lead to problems. a

We have 5 horses at our home. When we first take our puppy out by the horses we don’t just walk into the pasture and let these huge monsters (which is what puppy thinks they are) come up and scare him. Rather we go out near the pasture and wait for the puppy to notice the horses. When he does we redirect him off the horses and back onto engaging with us. Over time our goal is to get closer and closer to the pasture. Our long term goal is to get our dogs to totally ignore the horses.

There is no limit to the number and type of scenarios we can redirect our puppies away from. It is something that we are always ready to do. So our advice is to keep an open mind and be prepared to redirect your puppy.

20% off Select Sport Puppy DVDs, streams, and courses good through Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT