Wheeee! I’ve been working on an updated version of the Puppy Primer for six months now, and it feels SO good to finally hold the finished product in my hot little paws. In it, co-author Brenda Scidmore and I emphasize the benefits of positive reinforcement, of letting dogs initiate the correct action themselves when possible, the importance of realistic expectations and of going step-by-step in training. That last issue is such a big one to me: so many of the problems I see people having with their dogs relate to them jumping from Step 1 to Step 25, without knowing that there should be many steps in between. For example, there’s (Step 1) sitting on cue in the kitchen while holding a dinner bowl and (Step 25) sitting on cue when 5 people come to the door and there are 3 other dogs barking their heads off…. Don’t you think that one of the most important things you’ve learned (or are learning!) is how many steps there are in between?
I’m also happy about how the book is divided into 1) Special Topics, 2) New Exercises and 3) Practice Makes Perfect, because it helps people understand that you’re not ‘done’ with training once your dog will sit in a training class when you’re holding treats in your hand, and gets them started on a building a foundation for years to come.
The special topics include: Socialization, Positive Reinforcement, House Training, Crate Training, Handling/Collar Touch, Stopping Unwanted Behavior (so often not mentioned and such a common problem!), Helping Puppies conquer their Fears, How to Play (and how Not to), and What to Expect in Adolescence.
The exercises taught are: Sit, Down, Stand, Come on Cue, No Jumping Up, Walking Side by Side, lots of games like Fetch, Find the Toy etc, Take It/Drop It, Puppy Pause (as a foundation for Stay).
We worked really hard to keep the book user friendly and easy to read, but thorough enough to cover the most important information needed to get a puppy started out right. But, I would LOVE your feedback. There’s always a second printing . . .
Is it perfect? Oh heaven’s no. I already decided that the title to Chapter 2 is just stupid (this morning I noticed that and said “Who wrote this anyway?), and I’m sure I’ll find more that I want to change, but in general, just between us, I’m pretty excited about it. Truth be told, she says sheepishly, I am in particular a total mush bucket about the cover.
Intro Sale: I like to keep business separate from the blog, but I think some of you might like to know that the book is on sale for a week at a special introductory price. Just check out The Puppy Primer on my website. Thanks for bearing with me on this, the new book might not be of interest to some of you, but it’s really fun for all of us to have the finished product delivered from the printers.
Meanwhile, back on the farm: Still living as if on the top of a wedding cake with white frosting, snow snow snow everywhere. This Sunday a group of Univ of Wisconsin students are coming out to learn how to do pregnancy checks on sheep (not from me, I couldn’t read a sonogram if my life depended on it; I still think they are making it up when they point to something and say “See! See the grey area there.. that’s a …”. ). I’m also getting straw delivered; if I’m lucky it’ll come when the students are there and we can fill up the barn in just a few minutes! Nothing like lots of strong backs on a farm! This all is reminding me I’d better get my lambing supply orders in. Can barely believe they are due in a month. Shearing happens next week too; it’ll be interesting to see which ewes take each other on afterward (there always seems to be a challenge between two ewes after shearing, I’ll try to get it on tape again as I did last year.)
Willie and I are loving having lots of time together, and working on some new tricks, but oh I miss having another dog around for Willie to play with. Even in the last weeks of Lassie’s life she and Will would play together a little, and I am sure that he misses it. Going to borrow some dogs from friends this weekend!