We teach the puppies to offer behaviors to get a reward. We call this manding. Manding looks like the “sit” command, but it’s so much more. The idea is not that the puppy learns to sit on command, but rather to use a sitting position as a way to ask for what they want. If they want a treat, a pet, or to go outside, they learn to sit quietly in front of you to ask instead of barking or jumping. We start obedience training after puppies are 4 weeks old, they learn to walk with
a leash on, with a harness. They do a little agility and also learn to use their noses. They go visit some dog wise sheep from 10 weeks and start to balance.
Some puppies stay much longer. These puppies are trained to work with sheep and later with cattle. There are three different stages to this training. A started puppy can work at a short distance with a few sheep and has learned three basic commands: ‘stop’, ‘come bye’, and ‘away to me’. These puppies are normally 6-10months old. A beginner puppy or dog starts to work longer distances from the handler and bigger mops. They start to do yard work (Kraalwerk) and started to learn whistle commands.
Adult dog Training:
A junior dog can do all the farm work and start to work in difficult terrain and all weather conditions. They know all whistle commands and can do all jobs in the yard. This dog is introduced to cattle work. A fully trained dog can do all work on the farm with sheep and cattle.
How we raise our puppies
Research has shown that young puppies’ brains are like sponges. They can absorb and process information much faster than an older dog at this young age.
The best part is, the information given to them now will stay with them for a long time after. Puppies also have very little fear during their first weeks, so new experiences are approached
with curiosity. To capitalize on this, we introduce various vibrations, sounds, objects, locations, and experiences that they might encounter during their lifetime; always in positive ways.
This teaches puppies to approach novelty with calm, curiosity rather than fear. For dogs, if they learn in the first 12 weeks that new = scary, they will forever carry that with them. On the contrary, if they learn that new experiences are something to be happy about and look forward to early on, they will be able to continue that throughout their lifetime.
The goal is that they approach new experiences with calm confidence. As the puppies grow, the experiences become a little more complex and exciting. They get to go outside or explore different areas of the property, they will go to the local veterinary clinic, take car rides, and even visit a some sheep and other farm animals.
From 3 days old we do proprioceptive exercises, these exercises help the puppies to have more control of their body movement and better co-ordination. These exercises are practiced to help reduce their risk of injury and improve their confidence. A professional physiotherapist come around to assess their development and growth. We continue these exercises throughout a dogs live, this ensure that a dog is fit and sound to do his/her work.
Having the puppies meet a variety of people: old, young, men, women, people with beards, hats, coats, heels, and glasses to name a few and to visiting dogs will help the puppies to socialise well. We invite a few guests who are experienced with dogs to help with training the puppies through a mini agility course.
Even if the puppies aren’t destined for agility, the small challenges are great for teaching the
puppies to conquer fears and obey their owner. Ending this session with a meal, we teach the puppies how to behave around the table, show the puppies what it looks, smells, and sounds like when their owners entertain guests.
As the puppies grow, they are given opportunities to spend time with other adult dogs to learn how to be a good citizens of dog society. Potty training: we use litter boxes to start teaching the puppies to leave the “nest” to eliminate, starting as young as 3 weeks old. This works right along with their natural instincts to keep the nest clean. As the puppies grow, the litter box area gets smaller and moves farther away from the “den”. The idea is that they learn there are many places they may not use as a bathroom and one place where it’s ok.
Then, they are taken outside on a routine to learn that they are to use the outdoors to go. Most litter materials have a natural smell to them so they have no problem transitioning to the outdoors. We also start to train them to eliminate on a command or a whistle.