Your pup is now 16 weeks old, and that window of super fast learning and socializing is slowing down. But look at all you’ve packed into those 8 weeks they have been with you:
- they’ve begun to learn to ID objects,
- to target
- to touch,
- coming to you,
- paying attention,
- to recognize colors and numbers,
- “read” words,
- ignoring distractions,
- to sit/down/stay/wait on command,
- to pick up,
- to tug open,
- to close drawers,
- to differentiate scents,
- get used to equipment on their bodies
- to move things around in their environment,
- begin learning basic harness work positions
- to walk loose leash
- alert to certain sounds…
No at 16 weeks I being to pay more attention to obedience and task training, though the socializing and building on foundations continues.
I’ve introduced the pup to their mobility harness, to simple guide work and hearing alerts. But now it’s time to start putting things together.
The find it games start becoming finding the dryer sheets at the dollar store, and numbers become which ailse to go to, and number recognition/counting becomes paying with the right combination of $1, $5, $10, and coins.
I start teaching things like counterbalancing, finding exits, and guiding around obstacles. I’m also working with more focus on the Sue’s obedience clicker training levels, http://www.sue-eh.ca/page24/page26/page10/ to try and prepare a puppy for a Good Canine Citizen test.
The GCC will allow me to get the puppy involved in therapy dog work, which further socializes him in places like libraries where kids are reading, and assisted living facitilities where he will encounter walkers, canes, wheel chairs, and medical equipment.
The 4-6 month old age is a developmental stage I call the “puppy stubborns”. Some people say 6 mo is adolescence, but my question for that is “what do ya call the yearling rebellion, then?” *grin* It feels more like the terrible two’s to me.
Whatever ya call it, it can be frustrating, since the pup that couldn’t wait to come to you turns up their nose in favor of a bone.
To deal with the stubborns, I increase both the frequency, amount, and value of the treats I’m offering. Ie–kibble don’t cut it, it’s time for the cream cheese, roast beef, and nutter butter cookies.
A 16 week old is starting to want a bit of independence, to do things their way, or even do a bit of “I don’t have to” on you.
Some pups breeze through it like it’s a speed bump, and some pups make you think you ran into a dumptruck…but it’s a neccessary step in becoming a thinking dog.
I also get downright stingy and refuse treats if they give me something half hearted or sloppy that I know they know. Do it right, little man, or “nope, no pick up, no treat”. They get another opportunity, but I won’t play the willful games.
There’s lots more for them to learn at this age, from harder to cope with public places, harness work, hearing alerts, anxiety alert/response, and guiding work. So this is just as busy a time as the first 8wks at home with me.
I’ll take advantage of a trainer to take them out without me, doggie day care with stimulating activities, as well as trusted people to just give me some down time when I need it. The fibromyalgia, Lyme, and Chronic Fatigue just has it’s way some days!