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Meet Flynn, a working line German Shepherd Dog puppy and the latest addition to our family. Even at the tender age of 8.5 weeks, it's never too early to start to train your puppy. In this video, I am starting to teach Flynn how to walk next to me off-lead and to focus on where I am and what I'm saying and not to be distracted by his surroundings. Without this focus, your puppy will not listen to you when the time comes to put a lead on him and to venture out into the big wide world. Focus is the key to all your training and is by far the most important thing you can teach a puppy.
Flynn is now 9 weeks old and as he was doing so well with the off-lead walking, thought it was time to introduce him to his harness and lead. Getting Flynn use to having the harness fitted was spread over a couple of day's, letting him gradually get use to it so he didn't think it was a toy he could chew or turn into a wrestling match. Once again, the emphasis was for Flynn to focus on me and not the lead. I never applied pressure through the lead at any time as to do so could set up an 'oppositional reflex' which in turn could have led to Flynn pulling and fighting against the lead. A puppy pulling against the lead is one thing, a fully grown dog is another. And besides, if he had started to learn how to pull, then he wouldn't be 'listening' to me.
Always keep in mind, you'll never teach a puppy to walk on a lead by taking him for a walk. All these little exercises in the house and the garden will go a long way to making walking your dog a pleasure as opposed to it becoming a fight.
Flynn now all jabbed up and ready for the outside world under his own steam which is a bit of a relief as he was getting too heavy to carry around. Socialisation is a very important part of any puppy's education but socialisation is far more than just meeting other dogs. The topic of socialisation is covered in greater detail in the articles section of this website. In this video, when out with Flynn getting him use to traffic at his level, we came across this plastic calf outside the ice-cream parlour. Flynn was very unsure about this strange object but after a little time introducing him to this fearsome alien, Flynn accepted him as just being part and parcel of the enviroment.
Now, Flynn doesn't bat an eyelid if we walk past the ice-cream parlour. Socialisation is all about people, enviroments, children, surfaces etc. In fact, anything the puppy might encounter in his life and NOT just about other dogs.