Monday, March 03, 2014

Puppies - So much fun???

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Event Day - March 5, 2014; please visit all the blogs at: (  Please leave comments, we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.

I am not sure there is a perfect way to begin training a puppy since each puppy will bring with them positives and challenges. It also depends on the age you get your puppy and what if anything the breeder has done with the puppy prior to picking them up. To me building a bond, socialization, basic obedience and introducing them to all kinds of sounds, environments and situations is key. Starting them slowly on equipment, not pushing them too quickly and keeping it fun is also important.  

I picked up my new puppy in late May, 2013 when he was 4.5 months old.  I had planned on getting a puppy in the fall so was looking at breeders when I met Diesel at Boxer Nationals and feel in love with him.  I renamed him Thor when he came home to live with me shortly after Boxer Nationals.  He has excellent breeding, both champions and performance dogs in his bloodlines.  I am not an expert but many have told me he is structurally sound which was very important to me as I plan to do many performance venues with him.

Shortly after he came home I realized he is extremely shy around total strangers, had a hard time with loud noises in an agility trial environment and new places.  He is slowly coming around but even now at almost 14 months he is still shy in new situations and with new people.  He does believe that every dog he sees is there to play with him and is not good at reading body language from other dogs who aren't happy with an exuberant puppy around.

So with Thor one of the most important things was to start building his confidence and desensitizing him to the things that bothered him before doing a lot in agility or obedience. I took him to agility trials, to visit family and friends, in stores where dogs were allowed and walks until the weather got too cold. 

Over the summer with the help of a trainer friend we started getting him used to agility equipment, sometimes we would train at her home where they had all of their equipment lowered for their puppy and at the club where he was comfortable.  Thor has been in obedience classes since fall, we did two Rally trials in January, so proud of him he got both legs with a 95 & a 94.  He did much better in a new environment then I expected.  In March we will be doing our first structured agility class plus he will be starting a second one with a different trainer in April.  I do not plan to enter him in an agility trial until I feel he can handle the noise and people that go along with it.  We will continue to do Rally so he can get used to smaller trial settings.  

Thor has so much potential and I will be there to support him how ever it is necessary to reach that potential.  Love this guy!


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