Puppies and whistles
Our most recent litter of puppies to go home with their families (Molesley and Claire puppies) practiced and learned a skill that we hadn't taught before: coming (enthusiastically!) to the sound of a plastic whistle. We're always working to learn more and improve, and at an Australian Labradoodle conference this spring, Gail and Carmen heard about this practice and decided to give it a try. WOW did it ever work well!!
We used a regular plastic whistle, and began by tooting it three times each time the puppies were fed a meal. Then we enlisted our chief puppy snuggler, Lucca, to help, and he had the puppies chase him around the yard while he tooted the whistle. They loved it and caught on fast. We continued to practice this and on the day the puppies went home to their new families, demonstrated how three quick toots of the whistle caused the puppies to stop what they were doing and come barreling across the lawn.
We're so thrilled with how effective this simple exercise was, and plan to use it with every litter going forward. We've heard great things from the families of our test litter, too!
Kelsey, who took home puppy Nelson, has continued practicing with the whistle for a treat reward. "Nelson can be do anything — sniffing, playing with another dog, running in the opposite direction — and when I blow the whistle, he instantly stops whatever he is doing and comes running to me at FULL SPEED. It's amazing! When he's old enough to go to the dog park and be off-leash, I think it's going to be an incredible training tool. It has clearly stuck in his mind and I can't thank Gail and Carmen enough for instilling this simple but important lesson!"
So future puppy parents, don't forget to buy a regular plastic whistle!