In this lesson we are going to begin working in some ‘time over tension’. What does that mean? Simply put: we are going to ask our puppies to WAIT. What waiting does is #1, teach our puppies impulse control. We all know just how far a little patience can go in life. And #2, it gives the muscle fibers time under contraction before release. This is how we build muscle. It doesn’t do much good for puppy to quickly go through the motions of this workout. And while we aren’t looking for them to hold the position for minutes on end, it is going to benefit them much more in the long run to slow down and wait. To begin, we’re just going to count to 3. That’s all. Over time you can work your way up, but for puppies- three seconds is a good round number. I mean, we do still have to factor in their short attention spans. Patience and muscle are built over time in BABY STEPS.
For the movements in this lesson we are going to utilize hand targets. If you already know how to teach this, great! If you don’t, here’s a quick primer: Hold your hand palm flat out in front of your puppy. Make it easy and stay pretty close. When he inevitably goes to sniff and TOUCH it with his nose, mark it with a “YES!” and quickly reward with a food treat from your opposite hand. Continue this until he is reliably hitting the target 5 out of 6 times. Walk away for awhile. Come back and ask again only this time, say the word “TOUCH!” BEFORE presenting your hand and reward in the same manner. Now we are teaching a verbal command for the target touch. Again, once he is getting the idea 5 out of 6 times, stop. We want him to have some time to process. Don’t get greedy. Training puppies is much easier and behaviors become stronger when learned in short bursts. 3 minutes. Try to stay within that range. Next time, move your hand around to either side of his head, lower, higher, further away, etc. Switch hands even. Now your puppy can hand target! Super easy, right?