Puppy Raising

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Puppy Raising:
The hardest part of raising a puppy is not to stifle them. While we want to tend to their every need, and cuddle away every whimper, when we do, we stunt their emotional growth.
Our puppies need to be able to problem solve, and work out their own difficulties. We need to find the balance of when to help them, of when to give them a kiss and a nurturing shove forward to work it out on their own, and when to simply protect them and keep them safe. 
When raising a puppy, I use what they offer to build their confidence. Right now I am spending lots of time with Wee Willy. Willy like most little boys sometimes needs help being confident, and his strength is he is always smiling and ready for fun. When he was scared of a tarp on the floor, I played "Catch Me If You Can" running around it in circles, then slowed down so he could almost get me. Just as he was on my ankles, I took a massive leap right onto the middle of the tarp. He couldn't help it. He dove onto the tarp with me, and I fell down and let him wiggle all over me in the middle of the tarp. 
I used his strength of always being ready for fun, and turned the situation into a fun one for him. He totally forgot he was scared of the tarp, and never even noticed it after that. 
Find your puppies emotional strength, then cater your training situations to appeal to his strength. If your puppy is silly, you can make almost any situation silly and get them to give you their heart and soul. If you have a more ernest puppy who wants to just 'obey' you, then you will use your relationship and position yourself so that they have to tackle the scary object to get to you. I would step onto the tarp and call them on. If I have a puppy who loves to fight, I might turn the scary thing into something that they can bite and kill. I would use my tarp like a matador and get my puppy to be the bull. 
Use the strengths that your puppy naturally brings to the table to help them become the perfectly balanced dog. Training dogs this way is a whole lot of fun, for both you, and your dog.
Monique Anstee
Victoria, BC

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