My Gold Haven

Barbara Reichenbach
Buford, Ga. 30518

Have you ever been for a walk and witnessed a dog walking his owner down the street pulling the owners arm off. Or has anyone ever told you, jokingly, that their dog won't let their husband sit on the couch. These are not cute little quirks that the dog has. These are behavioral problems. If left alone, these little quirks can turn into serious behavioral issues. I truly believe that there are no bad dogs, just uneducated owners. Educate yourself and commit to your dog, and you will have the dog that everyone wants.

The first thing that I want to make clear is that you should
NEVER hit your dog. The days of the rolled up newspaper and rubbing the dogs nose in its' mistakes are over. There are much better and more successful methods available.

Our dogs are trained with some basic commands. I believe that it is better to tell your dog what you want them to do, rather than what you don't want them to do. How many times have you heard someone yelling and screaming the word
NO? We do it to kids too. It seems that everything in the world is off limits to kids and pups. We very rarely use the word no when we are working with our dogs.

The number 1 rule in dog training is to remain calm. If you get frustrated or angry, the dog knows this and will not perform. If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break, step back, compose yourself, and then start again.

Besides the basic commands like sit, stay, down, come, we also use other words to let our dogs know what we want of them.
Some of our commands are:

1. Leave it - This is one of the most important commands that your dog can learn. We use it whenever the dog is going for something or someone that is off limits. This includes the antifreeze that may have spilled on the garage floor or the brand new baby, just home from the hospital. We hold a treat in front of our dogs and tell them to leave it. They are not allowed to touch the treat until we give the command, "take it". Because we have so many dogs, we actually won't let them take it until we give the command and include the name of the dog allowed to take the treat. We would say "take it Abbie"

Take it - Obviously this is the opposite of leave it.

Off - We use this command when the dog is jumping on anything. It could be a person, or the couch. We do not use the down command for this because we have already taught our dogs that down means, "lie down". I remember one time our dog jumped on the couch and a visitor yelled down. The dog immediately lay down on the couch and was very proud of herself for doing so.

Up - Is used for getting the dog into the car or jumping on the table for grooming

Quiet - When we want our dogs to stop barking.

Back up - When we want more space than the dog is giving us. This is a good command to use when you answer the door. Before we answer the door we make the dogs back up so that they don't run out the front door, or jump on our guests.

Stop - This command can be used for several things. As a puppy, if the dog is peeing on the floor, you can yell stop. Hopefully this will startle the dog enough to stop peeing and give you time to go to the dog and lead it out side. We say, "go pee outside". You can say whatever command you decide to use for your dog. Some people say, "go potty outside". As long as you finish with outside so that they get the idea that when you say outside, they will associate it with going outside.

Outside - We give them the command outside every time we take them out. Eventually when you say outside, they will go to the door.

Kennel - We use this command when we want our dogs to go into their crates. All of our dogs are crate trained. We usually leave the crate doors open and they know which crate is theirs. They usually follow us around the house but if we are watching T.V. in the living room, they will go and lay in their crates.

Out - We use this command when we want our dogs to leave a room. If we are eating in the kitchen, we make them leave the kitchen.

These are just a few of the commands that we use. If you get a puppy from us, these are some of the words that they will be familiar with. 
As with children, you cannot let your dogs do whatever they want. They too, need to know the rules of the house and it is up to you to teach them. They need to respect you and this will not happen if you resort to violence. Any form of hitting your dog is violence. All of these commands are taught with rewards and positive reinforcements or a touch. We do allow our dogs on the furniture, but only when we invite them. Just remember, it is your house, you make the rules, and it is up to you to enforce them.

Training is so important that I decided to devote a whole page to it. I will continue to update this page with training videos and information that I find helpful.

It's yer choice

Puppy Training

How to train a dog to heel

Polite Walking - part 1

Solving Counter Surfing

Polite Walking - part 2

Polite Walking - part 3

Puppy Training

I am constantly being asked questions about puppy training. I have trained puppies here only to have them go to their new homes and turn into little land sharks, biting and jumping on their new family members. What makes that happen? Well, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it isn't the puppy, but the way that the new family is interacting with the puppy.
In this section, I will tell you how I train and interact with my puppies. It is a cumulation of years of watching the dogs and pups and learning different training methods from different trainers. I try to be open to all different methods of training so that if something doesn't  work, I always have another method to try. 
I don't play with my puppies. I monitor play between the pups and the older dogs and I intervene when they get too rough, but I don't want my puppies to see me as one of their litter-mates. If you have ever seen puppies or dogs play together, you will understand what I mean. They play rough. They bite and pull on each others necks and knock each other down. Their puppy teeth are like razors. I don't want my dogs or puppies treating me like this. All of my interactions with my pups is training. That is my form of playing. I make it very fun and engaging and discourage any unwanted behavior. I don't allow jumping, or nipping. My pups are corrected for unwanted behavior and rewarded for calm behavior.

You just picked up your puppy, now what - You have been waiting for this day for so long and now it has finally arrived. You just picked up your beautifull little bundle of joy. Are you ready? Oh that sweet little bundle of fluff, don't you just  want to cuddle them all day long. Resist the urge to do this. 

Feeding your puppy - This is how we first start our puppy training. Something as simple as feeding can teach your new puppy self control. For an 8 week old puppy, we will hold their food and wait until they sit. As soon as their butt hits the floor, we reward by putting their food down. We will do this for about a week, it could be longer or less time depending on the puppy and how quickly they pick things up. The next step is to make them wait after you put the food down. To accomplish this, you will start to put the food down and as soon as the pup gets up, you will stand back up again without putting the food down. During this step, all you want to accomplish is to get the food on the floor before the pup stands up. As soon as you get the food on the floor, release the pup with your release word. We use OK. After the pup has mastered this step, you will add a word for the pup. We use wait. Hold the food, wait for your pup to sit, start to put the food on the floor and tell them to wait as you put the food down. For young pups, just learning this, I will repeat the word over and over as I am putting the food down. If they break the sit, I pick the food back up and start all over. You may have to bend over with the food a number of times before they "get it". To begin with, I never make them wait for very long but as you practice this at every feeding, you can slowly build up the time that they will wait. When I am feeding my dogs, they immediately sit and wait for their food. I can now put their food down and walk away and they will just look at me waiting for me to tell them OK. I never make them wait too long because I think that it borders on being a control freak or just being mean. What I want is for them to show me some respect when I am feeding them. I don't want them jumping up on me and knocking the bowls out of my hands. I reward their calm behavior.

Training your pup not to jump - If you have been feeding your pup the way I suggest, your pup already knows that they are rewarded for sitting and being calm which will make teaching them not to jump much easier. Usually moving in the direction of the pup will make them move backwards and sit. When you're pup starts to jump on you, instead of moving backwards, move forward, toward the pup, and say the word off. Say the word calmly and firmly. You may knock them off balance but they will scramble back up. As soon as they sit, reward with a treat. Every time your pup is sitting calmly, reward with a treat or praise. As soon as the pup tries to jump up, remove any attention, step forward, and say the word off. Remember that these are commands. Your pup is learning words not complete sentences. Limit your commands to single words. Sit, stay, wait, down, good. Your pup  is also responding to your body language so make sure that you are projecting a calm and confident demenor. If you are feeling stressed, unsure, frustrated, or angry, stop your training session.

Training your pup not to bite/nip - If you are following the above training methods, your pup will not view you as a litter mate and the chances are they will not try to bite or nip at you if you are training and not playing. I understand that this is especially hard for families with young children. If your children are  running across the yard, the instict of a puppy is to chase them down and tackle them. This is why it is important to always supervise young children and puppies. The pup should be on a leash and never allowed to chase the kids. The children should be taught to respect and help train the pup. If your pup should try to chew on you or your children, always have a toy handy to redirect their mouths to something appropriate to chew on. If that doesn't work, make sure that you have bitter apple or something similar on hand to spray on your hands. That usually works.