This is essential! You MUST socialize your puppy! This means you must take your dog around other people, children men, women, young adults, other dogs, other animals, to the vet, to the groomer, and other places so that the dog will learn to not be afraid of people, sounds, etc. Your dog must learn to be a well mannered member of your family, at home and in public!
One of the first skills you should teach your puppy is attention. In order for your puppy to learn other skills, you must first have it's attention before you can ask it to do something else. There are many great ways to develop attention and this one skill will be the foundation for all obedience and other training. You simply cannot ask a dog to do something if you do not have it's attention. I have listed several books in the Obedience section of the website, all are helpful and have great information. There are two books specifically that I highly recommend and use to train attention in my own dogs.
1. Steppin' Up To Success, Book 1: This book has very detailed exercises to teach attention. Excellent, excellent, excellent!!
2. Team Work: A Dog Training Manual for People with Disabilities. Book 1 (A corresponding DVD is available)
While the section on attention is short, it has great information throughout the book. There are also corresponding DVDs available with these books (Team Work and Team Work II). Again, I highly recommend these books, as they offer some wonderful training information. Participation in group classes are a must...your dog needs to have the socialization with other dogs and people in a training environment. In addition, your dog needs to be introduced to as many situations/environments as possible (parks, young people, elderly people, other animals, different locations, people wearing sunglasses, hats, walking with canes, umbrellas, etc.). The more exposure to these environments/situations at an early age, the better your dog will be able to tolerate most any environment or situation.
Participating in classes with your puppy vs. sending your puppy to a "bootcamp" training environment.
You and your dog will learn better and bond to one another if you take your dog to training classes. Sending a dog to a "camp" environment to be trained by someone else certainly has some risks. You will not know how your dog is being treated, nor will you know what training methods are being used. While there may be some very good, and legitimate, training camps available, there are also many that are not. There have been documented cases of dog deaths resulting from things like the dog being crated with a muzzle on, left unattended, and the dog died due to suffocation, heat stroke, abuse, etc. The best way to train your dog is to participate in the training with your dog - you both will learn together.
"Sending the dog alone to school won't do you any good. It's like sending the dog off to learn a foreign language, and not taking that language class yourself. You still won't be able to speak to each other."
NCA Newfoundland Dog Library
All About Newfs
The Newfoundland Puppy: Early Care, Early Training by Judi Adler
A Dog Who's Always Welcome: Assistance and Therapy Dog Trainers Teach You How to Socialize and Train Your Companion Dog by Lorie Long
Dog Language: An Encyclopedia of Canine behavior by Roger Abrantes
On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas
My Dog Pulls. What Do I Do? by Turid Rugaas.
Reinforcement Training for Dogs by John Fisher
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