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Categories: Raising a Working Puppy

Q. We have an 8 week old Malinois and a 13 year old mix. We want to cross train the new puppy in a variety of activities, can you suggest materials for us? Also, is the older dog going to mess up our training? Right now she’s in charge of the puppy.
Hi Cindy?

Your training DVD products look terrific. Let me give you our background (wife and I). We have had dogs in the past but never trained them to do any more than sit or fetch. Our shepherd mix is 13 and not doing well. We will probably put her down soon. I just got an 8 week old Belgian Malinois girl. Her father was a police dog and mother a personal protection dog. I am in the military (guard) and my wife will be a stay at home wife after this school year ends. My desire is to help my wife train this dog for personal protection, and S&R. I?m a military policeman but do not think I could use this dog for K9 if my wife is the trainer since it would bond to her.

Here are my questions.

1. What are the DVDs we should buy and in what order? (To be able to accomplish these goals?)

2. Is there a basic dog training DVD we need to do first? Obedience?

3. We do not want to abuse the dog by giving it too much to learn. I have friends that have dogs that are S&R and Narc dogs?can a dog learn to cross train even more?

4. Last question, I promise. Is our older dog going to mess up the training of the puppy because right now the older girl is in charge. But the two get along great.

Thank you so much in advance for your time?our puppy is like a lump of clay and we want to mold it right. Sorry this was so long.

Jim

A. Hi Jim,

I'd keep your puppy from interacting with the older too much, if it proves to get in the way of the training you hope to do with the pup. I'd read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy's Pack Leader . You can read this to get our definition of socializing.

We raise our new pups alongside our adult dogs, but limit the types of interactions they have. We use an exercise pen to acclimate the pup to the house, the traffic in our home and the other dogs but the barrier of the pen keeps the pup safe, the adult dogs don't feel the need to discipline the pup and we can control the environment. Controlling the environment is probably the most important aspect of raising any pup, but especially a pup you want to train to a higher level.

I'm going to list the resources I would recommend for a working pup in any discipline (i.e. S&R, schutzhund, agility, protection). The foundation work we do for any sport or working venue is essentially the same and then when the dog is older we branch out into more specialized work.

Tracking (foundation for S&R) Competition Tracking

Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
Raising Your Puppy
Foundation of Puppy Bite Work

Your pup will begin teething around 4 months old or so. Once the adult teeth are in:

The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog
Advanced Concepts in Motivation
Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy
Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis

There are more obedience videos available but the titles I've listed are the foundation of any type of sport or work you might want to do with your pup in the future.

Dogs can learn to cross train in many different activities and setting a puppy up "learning how to learn" is the key to success later.

I hope this helps!

Cindy Rhodes
  
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