Doesn’t just seem like 12 weeks ago when you started training your puppy… and now, you’re all done! Or are you? Do you ever really stop teaching your furry companion? I can tell you that based on my experience, you’ll be teaching your puppy for the rest of his life. Teaching your pup the basic commands is the first step towards making your life together rewarding, fun, and potentially full of adventure. The basics help when you tackle more advanced puppy training options. They are the groundwork for fun!
Advanced puppy training is wonderful for both you and your pup. It helps strengthen the bond between the two of you while reinforcing your relationship as you confidently and effectively face real-life situations together.
Some Key Benefits of Advanced Puppy Training
This type of training helps your puppy’s confidence soar, resulting in enhanced self-control in a variety of situations where required. The exposure to different environments that accompany advanced training helps build a self-assured, secure pup who can accompany you to events, parks, outdoor cafes, and even business trips. All without fear, anxiety, or nervous excitement.
Participating in some form of advanced training also helps your puppy maintain effective mental stimulation, and boost brain health. Pups respond well to challenges. They, like us, are drawn toward challenges that they feel they can accomplish… Particularly those with a little struggle, as the payoff is that much better. One paw at a time, your puppy will learn to take on bigger challenges with advanced training.
Puppies who participate in some form of advanced training typically get a boost in confidence. This is due to completing the aforementioned challenges, as well as understanding more about their body’s capabilities; and how to expend energy when needed and reserve it when not required. Fear tends to dissipate and this helps your pup deal with a variety of unplanned situations and people.
A bored puppy is trouble… Rely on advanced training to help your young dog learn how to play games with other dogs, with objects, and with himself in some cases. This is particularly true of dogs bred for action, like a Cattle Dog.
One thing your little puppy needs is excellent muscle coordination. Advanced puppy training will help build strong, adaptable muscle fibers to help support quality bone growth. This is particularly true for hips and knees, where muscles can make the difference in maintaining alignment and keeping injuries at bay.
Tell Me, What Are Some Advanced Puppy Training Options?
The number of advanced puppy training options available is almost as high as the number of different breeds of dogs. It’s good to know your dog’s temperament, personality, frustration points, sense of play and curiosity, as well as learning capacity. Some options include:
Dock diving is perfect for pet owners who have a flexible dog training budget and breed of puppy that naturally loves water, like Labrador, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and Belgian Malinois. In this training, dogs chase a toy (called a ‘bumper’) tossed by their owner and learn to run the length of a carpeted platform, to leap into a swimming pool to catch or retrieve the bumper.
Gradually, the dog gains the confidence to run faster, and jump far out into the pool in attempts to catch the flying bumper. As a pet owner, all you need for this dog training is a dog that has strong swimming skills, a carpeted or nonslip 40-foot runway free of obstructions or trip hazards, potable water, such as a pool, pond or lake with water that is at least approximately 4’ deep. Dock diving builds on the sit, go, retrieve, and come here commands of basic puppy training.
This is a truly exciting training option for puppies. First, you must build on the sit, go, come here, and stop commands learned in basic puppy training. With these well under your belt, your puppy will learn to have the utmost respect for the animals with which s/he will interact. Start this advanced puppy training when your dog demonstrates the ability to withstand the physical and cognitive demands of this sport, typically 10 to 12 months old.
Herding is perfect for Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs, Corgis, and Shetland Sheepdogs. There are many groups that teach herding, and your puppy will have a ball learning how to corral livestock and bring them into a pen. Once your puppy gets good, you can even compete at different levels of challenges.
This is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the United States, perfect for both old and young dogs alike. Agility helps to foster a deeper relationship between a dog and owner. In this type of game, the dog owner directs their puppy through an obstacle course, to be completed within a limited time. Usually, there are between 14 to 20 obstacles which include weaves poles, tire jumps, pause tables, tunnels, and seesaws where the dog get to stop at intervals. One beautiful thing about this type of game is that all different types of breeds can participate.
Agility is easy to start in your own backyard. You can begin with small little hoops and teach your dog to stop and sit. If you set up the hoops, you can add jump to your dog’s bag skills. Official agility has very specific moves that a dog must complete, but if you’re doing it for fun, you can call the shots. This type of training builds on sit, go, come here, up, down, and stay.
This is a new type of sport for a dog that is spreading like wildfire throughout the United States. Barn Hunt is based on the roles of dogs traditionally used to protect crop stored in farm and barns from pesky, above ground vermin. This sport allows any type of puppy or dog to participate, and it’s a fun sport that tests a dog’s hunting skills.
The goal is for a pet parent to hide a toy that smells like a rat (some competition actually use a rate placed in a well ventilated, secure tube) in a maze course. The course is made up of stacked and layered straw bales positioned for dog’s to climb and tunnel through. A puppy is perfect to start this type of training because you can build on the difficulty of the course to keep your little guy constantly engaged - and looking to find the hidden rate. Barn hunt builds on the basic commands of sit and go, and encourages a dog’s natural hunting instinct.
Originating in Germany many years ago, Treibball (pronounced “Try-ball” and also known as “Drive Ball”), is a unique, fun, and challenging sport for dogs. It is also a low cost and low impact sport that helps to build a puppy’s endurance, coordination, and muscle control. The beauty is, any dog (or horse, or elephant, etc.,) can play this sport. It’s simple to play and requires only a few fitness balls, some treats, and a love of working with your dog.
Treibball promotes teamwork and strengthens communication between a pup and his or her owner. It’s perfect for puppies with a lot of energy that are good off-leash, and who like to keep busy or chase things. Like herding, the goal of this sport is for a dog to push a fitness ball around and into a specific area (for treats). Your pup will learn how to use paws, knees, shoulders, and head for more than s/he ever knew possible. Treibball builds on the basic commands of sit, go, stop, come, and if you’ve mastered any directional commands, this sport will put them to good use.
Canine Scent Sports
This is a fun sport of scent detection and is a good competitive time for dogs of all breeds. It teaches a dog how to use their nose to find specific odors and to then indicate they have found the scented object. This sport builds on nose training, and relies heavily on the basic commands of sit, go, and come here. That’s it? Yup! Scent sports tap into one of your puppy’s superpowers - their incredible nose!
Dog’s have the ability to smell things from phenomenal distances (source). Canine scent sports capitalize on a dog’s natural ability to smell particles that humans simply can’t. Plus, you can play this game anywhere, with just about anything. Start off with something that tempts your puppy, like a treat, to encourage excitement and a willingness to play the game more frequently. You can hide the scented item just about anywhere, and by using basic commands like sit, go, and treat, you lead your dog around until s/he finds the item. Each time your need to help will lessen and soon your puppy will be able to find that magical sock that always goes missing when you wash your clothes!
Advanced Puppy Training Is the Next Level of Learning
Like what was said when we started this article, your puppy will never stop learning. So, guide him or her towards productive outcomes for all the pent-up puppy energy. This is where advanced puppy training comes in handy. You’ll be able to gauge your pup’s natural propensity to play one or all of the games mentioned. Some dogs truly love to herd, while others like to hunt. Whatever your puppy’s instinct is, there’s a game for that - and that’s where advanced puppy training comes in very handy.