Need Puppy Training Videos
May 13, 2009 3:01 AM   Subscribe

We've got a new puppy and he's an adorable border-collie lab mix. He's about 8 weeks old. He's going to be an indoor dog and we're anxious to get him trained and trained well for all of our happiness. Still, we're like to keep it cheap. Can you recommend some good, free, video sites that teach puppy training in specific? Thanks!
posted by Gideon to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
There's not much to it. I just taught a 4-year old Jack Russell who had been living outside for over a year how to become an indoor dog again.

I just used puppy pads (available at Walmart in the pet section, if you're US-based) and laid them down in areas in the downstairs where I knew she liked to pee/defecate. With a good amount of reinforcement and scolding, within two-three weeks she was going only on the pads (for some reason, only one section of the three that I had covered).

If you're starting your puppy off in a partitioned area, layer most of it with the pads, and use reinforcement/scolding -- if you're playing with him, and you notice that he looks like he's about to go off the pads, make sure to put him on the pads. As time passes, reduce the padded area 'til eventually it's only one or two pads (depending on his size).

And here's where my knowledge stops. Since I'm gone for work sometimes for as long as ten hours, it's essential that she knows to use pads while inside. Hopefully another MeFite can get you over the finish line.
posted by the NATURAL at 3:10 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Congratulations on the new addition!

Border collies need a lot of space, in my experience - very intelligent and active dogs that need a lot of stimulation. How large is your house?

I have a friend with a Weimariner who's used the same pad system described above, but she also has a separate, very large room just for the dog, with all sorts of toys and a sort of jungle gym. The dog gets enough stimulation and activity to keep it in good spirits until she gets home and can take the dog for her daily 5K run around the park. You have a different breed mix, but both are breeds that need similar sorts of space, activity and play to keep them happy and well behaved. A happy dog is less likely to piddle after the indoor training.
posted by Grrlscout at 3:30 AM on May 13, 2009

I apologize retroactively for not linking any sites to you -- I hope I haven't jinxed your thread.
posted by the NATURAL at 3:56 AM on May 13, 2009

Firstly: clicker training, clicker training, clicker training. I sooooo wish I'd started my dog with clicker training instead of my general attempt at positive based stuff.

Anyway, once you've narrowed the field down to clicker training, there are a ton of videos on YouTube that can help you.

This is just an example to get you started: Intro to Clicker and some results.

Good luck.
posted by gwpcasey at 4:55 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ian Dunbar's Dog Star Daily has tons of really great information on training puppies -- including videos. I've been using his approach with my 11 week old Bedlington Terrier puppy and he already knows "come", "sit", "down", and "stand". Dunbar's got really effective methods for chew-toy training and crate training that have been working well with my pup.
posted by rhartong at 5:17 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Clicker training for sure.

And don't use puppy pads, they can be confusing: the bathroom is outside.

Get Jean Donaldson's "Perfect Paws in 5 Days", and "The Culture Clash". There are no free and good online sources that I know of.

Please invest in at least a couple of courses of basic positive group puppy training with a competent professional trainer, there is an enormous difference between working on something at home without anyone observing you, and having someone who knows what they're doing helping you personally. It is not that expensive (most courses are $80-100 for 8 weeks), and it is the most important investment you can make in your dog's future. As Patrica McConnell says: if you want to learn how to play a sport or an instrument, you find a coach to teach you how, why would you think you can learn to communicate with a different species without help?
posted by biscotti at 5:20 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Both of those breeds are outdoor dogs and need lots of activity. Make sure he gets plenty of long walks to tire him out.
posted by RussHy at 6:13 AM on May 13, 2009

Speaking as someone who was raised a border collie/lab mix from the time she was a puppy, I concur with everyone above who says LOTS OF ACTIVITY. And it's not an exaggeration!!

She was a holy terror as a puppy--even with clicker training with lots of homework. I believe border collies are also especially smart (and that was definitely my experience with my girl) so fairly easy to train. But I definitely cannot emphasize enough--lots and lots of exercise.

If your dog will be home alone all day, well you're probably going to have some problems in the beginning...

Something that I wish I would've known about when she was younger is a day at a herding facility like this one. When we went for walks with our other dog off leash she always love to keep us rounded up together--natural herding instincts and all.

Anyhoo, have fun--I adore my dog and now that she's 11 years old and MUCH calmer (though still requires walks about 3 times a day), she's become one of the best dogs I've ever had the known.
posted by Zoyashka at 6:37 AM on May 13, 2009

clicker training or something similar works best (used to work at a theme park with LOTS of trained animals, domestic and otherwise...) as for puppy pads, i'm thirding the sentiment, they are NO GOOD. clean up the inevitable accident with a towel, use it (without cleaning the towel) two or three times and then put it in the yard. take the puppy to it every time you take them outside. DO NOT PLAY WITH THE PUPPY OUTSIDE AT ALL (until the house training has taken). lastly do not use windex or other ammonia based cleaners to clean up the urine. really anything more complex than a paragraph like this or those above is not likely to have great results quickly. i have house trained many dogs using this method and have never had it take more than a few days for the idea to click in and never more than a week or two after that to end 95% of accidents.... truly!
posted by chasles at 7:37 AM on May 13, 2009

My lab puppy is now 16 weeks old and I am STRONGLY forthing the NO NO NO puppy pad sentiment. Just as toddlers learn to go to the bathroom only over the toilet, puppies learn to go only on (insert surface here). That's why initial teaching my dog brick was ok was bad seeing as we have a brick fireplace in our apt. She really does only go on grass now. Also, clicker training is AMAZING. I know the site sells some stuff but it is a good resource too. You can get clickers at petsmart and they're really cheap. I use all beef hotdogs as the treat for the clicker and those are cheap too. Good luck!
posted by whitetigereyes at 8:33 AM on May 13, 2009

Best answer: I would recommend a book on dog psychology so you get some idea (if you don't already) about what's going on in your puppy's head. It's not complicated: dogs want to be the alpha, but they can't be, because you are. They eat after you do, they sleep in a different room, etc. If you get the psychology right, you will find training much easier.

WRT the toilet issues, dogs want to do their business outside because that's how they're programmed. When they're very young, they expect the parent dog (you!) to clean up after them, but then they will naturally just grow out of it unless they have other problems. About the only other problem they might acquire at this early stage is if you're so worried about indoor messing that you pass on your neurosis through inappropriate training. If it's a problem to wait, you might be able to reinforce going in a particular spot but I just got used to clearing up the occasional log and wet patch for a while.

Dogs are like children, only more so: plenty of discipline, firm boundaries, lots of love. Just as with kids, it can get messy and expensive sometimes, but if you take on a dog that's what you get. My only regret is not having a cage to put my puppy in when he was teething: he ate the fringe on a three-piece suite, so we had to throw it out. A cage can be very helpful, not as a punishment place but as a happy place where the dog feels safe, secure, and away from the furniture.

The only other advice I would offer is to socialise the puppy with other dogs, people and children. A puppy training class is the ideal place for this.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 8:37 AM on May 13, 2009

Gideon, if you are in NYC or vicinity, I can give you a great crate and pee pads for FREE. Let me know via MeFi mail!!
posted by thinkpiece at 9:20 AM on May 13, 2009

This woman's YT channel has some great examples of positive/clicker-based training. Really good stuff:

We recently adopted an aussie shepherd mix at 5 months -- we were fortunate that she was potty trained, so we had no accidents, but one of the things to remember is that there WILL be accidents and that you can't punish them after that fact. Get an enzymatic deodorizer and thoroughly clean the "site" -- dogs have a good sense of smell and will be able to detect odors you cannot. If they sniff out a site they used before, they'll use it again.

Nthing LOTS of exercise -- you should seek out puppy play groups if you can, but avoid going to the dog park until the pup has all its vaccinations. You'll probably have a hard time tiring out a collie by yourself -- recruit friends with dogs. :)

Here in Seattle, there are a number of dog schools where, for $100-120 or so, you can sign up for a 4 week period, reserve a number of classes and have unlimited drop-in classes. WELL worth the relatively small investment.

Still, with all the YouTube options, you can get a good idea how clicker training works just by searching for "clicker training".

Also: Don't get frustrated. Be patient and let the dog teach you just as you teach it.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 10:24 AM on May 13, 2009

Because of the high intelligence level of border collies, you need to be careful when you train them. I believe it was this site that pointed out to us that when teaching and using a command with a border collie, you should always do it the exact same way or they think you're teaching them something new. Even though your pup is a mix, approach the training as though you've got a border collie who just likes to retrieve on your hands.

Both labs and border collies are super sweet and VERY smart. You will need to be super proactive to keep your pup busy both mentally and physically otherwise he's going to be destructive.
posted by onhazier at 10:57 AM on May 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone. I'll try to address as much of this as possible:

Yes - no pads for us. We're trying to get him potty trained but we're not too worried about it. He's only had a couple of accidents in the last week or so (8 weeks old). I'm really just looking for more basics, etc.

The dog gets LOTS of exercise and that will continue. Girlfriend is an athlete and was adamant about getting a high energy dog for a reason. Which is good... cause I'm more of a low-energy dog guy :) He's actually been very well behaved - as much as any puppy.

I've grown up with dogs myself but haven't had to train a puppy in a long time, and I'm really looking for something for my girlfriend to watch to address specific situations when they arise.

We are planning on taking a puppy obedience class locally, just was looking for something to help with the basics until then - teething, sleeping at night, basic commands, etc. I've found that what I'd use to train an adult dog don't work quite as well on a puppy.

I'll give clicker training a look. I've heard of it before, but generally have only trained dogs to do the basics - potty training, sit, down, sitting before eating, stay, etc.

Regarding potty training - the girlfriend has taken to making 'business" trips outside with the puppy and calling them something else and not playing with him in these situations. And then will go back out with him for play afterwards calling it something else. I had never heard of that before.

@Panteng - good luck with the aussie! I had some as a teenager - they were incredible, and the most devious dogs I've ever had!
posted by Gideon at 11:22 AM on May 13, 2009

I would recommend a book on dog psychology so you get some idea (if you don't already) about what's going on in your puppy's head. It's not complicated: dogs want to be the alpha, but they can't be, because you are. They eat after you do, they sleep in a different room, etc. If you get the psychology right, you will find training much easier.

Yes to books on dog psychology, but not as described above, ones written with modern dog behaviour science as a basis (like the Jean Donaldson one I already recommended), not outdated alpha theory.
posted by biscotti at 9:03 PM on May 13, 2009

Have you considered crate training (for housebreaking)?

Ian Dunbar's tips are excellent (you can find much of the info from his book "Before & After Getting Your Puppy" on his website). Housetraining is here. Besides the crate, he recommends a pen area (for when you leave the house...then you can have the pads in there). We had a pen like this.

Here is Dunbar speaking at the 2007 TED conference...its not a "training" video, but pretty interesting in regards to psychology & trying to understand the dog's point of view.

Besides obedience classes, which are great for training in high distraction situations (omg...other place...people!!), don't forget about TONS of socialization (puppy socials are great before their shots set in).

And, definitely lots of kongs/stuffable toys. Many trainers recommend not feeding out of a give your puppy all of his/her food by hand. This has been HUGE for training my puppy...keeps him working for his food, learning, burning energy, and developing a soft mouth. What we have done is training sessions 3 times a day (or all the food comes from a kong during one of these meals..for this, we use a large sized one that is too big for him to really chew on, but filled with kibble, he can roll it around and get it to come out).

(sorry, I don't really have any videos besides the TED talk)
posted by hazel at 4:58 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

> not outdated alpha theory

Competition between mammals, especially those which live in groups, is a primary motivator of their behaviour, whether they are dogs, apes or humans, so an understanding of the ways in which this competition manifests itself in a social setting is clearly going to help.

And I realise this is a bit late to the discussion but, jeez! how rude of you! The stuff I described has worked for me, time and again, and you shouldn't be so dismissive.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 9:32 AM on May 23, 2009

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