All the find it games, scent games, change my mood games, everything that started at 8 wks old continues at 4 months old: it just begins to turn into tasks. They were going to the grocery store with me before and playing the find it games.
I am still willing to stop and leave if the pup gets overwhelmed, since a negative experience can be hard to overcome. Socializing is still the #1 priority.
But the number recognition is kicking in as a find aisle 4, and counting becomes “I want 3 cans of beans”, and reading becomes find the bathroom for me little one. They can help me find a vanilla candle in the Yankee Candle store, or the usual deoderant I get at the Walgreens.
Because they’ve learned to tug and pick up, at home they can open the cabinet and get the little soup pot for me so I don’t need to bend over. They can help me make the bed by pulling up the covers on the other side of me. They could open the closet doors and put away my shoes while I put on my slippers.
All of this is still a big game, with clicks and rewards and hugs. Puppies know when they’ve done good, and these more difficult things need more rewarding and love. They are working, whether they know it or not. I know. And I know how hard they’ve “played” to get even to this point. So yeah, I want them to know how proud I am of them!
A 4 mo old Dane may be the size of many adult service dogs, but they are still puppies, and will have a shorter attention span than an adult.
The key to making any sort of training effective and long lasting is making it fun and rewarding. Puppies have “off” days, and temper tantrums, and suddenly decide they want to do it THIS way.
We have to remember they are living creatures, with feelings, and quirks, and things they don’t like to do. At this point, if they aren’t liking picking things up for me, then I have to respect that: you counterbalance and brace some while I bend over for it.
If they just can’t seem to get the hang of counting, then I’ll try a little longer but if they can’t they can’t, why make them unhappy about it? Look at everything else they can do! It pays to step back some every day and be amazed at this little animal’s intelligence, loving nature, and playful spirit.
We are still training, and will be for a long time (Shh, don’t tell them, they think we’re just making up new rules to the games)!