Training Your Cavalier . . . . . .
Training should be a happy experience for you and your cavalier. Dogs are very sensitive to your emotions, so keep your training "FUN", if you feel yourself getting aggravated -- take a break --maybe for a few minutes, an hour and try again tomorrow if things are just ..........
Focus Attention - (Development in Puppies)
the following information was given to me by a breeder of Lakies (a rather famous Lakie), on how to train for focus attention in your puppies in breeds that often have high energy levels and sometimes low brain cells, for table and ring training.
"When the pups are 8-10 weeks old I start putting them a grooming table, without taking my hands off of them. I have already started to entice them with a fur cover squeaky rat. I drag the rat around the floor by the tail saying get it ! get the rat. Most puppies usually love to chase it. I do this with a pup individually, not the entire litter.. The MOST important thing I teach my puppies is to be totally excited by and focused on the rat. I can't stress how very important this is in the shaping of a young puppy for focus attention. Do Not let the puppy take the rat off to bed, or play with it without YOUR participation. If you do than, the rat just becomes another toy. Every day you spend 5-10 minutes getting your pup to chase the rat, pounce on it, and tug on it, then you put it up and safely out of the way.Your actually making the rat a controlled obsession. Ok, back to the the table....I very gently place the puppy in the middle of the table (if you don't have a table use your washer or dryer with a rubber mat on it) and talk in a happy voice telling it how good he is. Take out the rat and get the baby to follow it around being careful to prevent the puppy from falling off. Do not do nails or anything scary to the puppy on the table until he is so excited to get up there that he eagerly awaits you while you are setting it up. Work with you puppy about 3 times a week until he is about 3 month old. At this point, I pick my puppies up just like an adult, an do a very calm but brief stacking lesson. These stacking lessons must be kept fun and brief, if it appears to be getting bored than stop. At 3-4 months I attach a grooming arm. I put a wide soft noose on and adjust the arm so that the puppy is standing with his head up, not to tight but not loose enough that he can fall off. I leave my table set up at this point right smack in my kitchen. when I am cooking dinner, I place the pup on the table secured by the noose and proceed to give him treats saying "want a cookie ?" in a very happy tone of voice. If the pup sits down, I gently pop his rear up and say "stand, good boy", giving another treat. This lesson serves three purposes: 1) Tables are fun ! Mom loves me so much that she talks to me happy and lets me watch her from this tall, tall vantage point. I must be special ! 2) I get food, I get cookies. Mom squeaks that rat and I get to watch it like a big show dog. You are reinforcing the baiting lesson while showing the baby that tables are the best place to be so that when the judge examines him, he is standing there with a great attitude; 3) You are teaching the baby to stand ! Have you noticed that the good pro handlers dogs appear to freeze on the table and they don't have to try and juggle the lead, the bait and the dog. How do you teach a dog to bait when: its noisy, hot, windy, freezing, your pup is nervous or distracted and you pull food out and your dog is going to say, "yeah sure, you want me to eat a time like this?". But if you have trained him to be obsessed with the rat you can get his attention anytime, anywhere. Basically, I just make them comfortable doing all of the things they will have to do in the ring. I make it fun and brief. I don't push them to early so they give me it all for as long as I ask. Take whatever you want from this, it works for me and has worked for others that have tried it. Let me know how your puppies do"
the above was given to me with the permission to have it printed in my local kennel club news letter and D.M. also gave me permission is share it with others who are interested.