Q: I have 20-week old Shiba Inu puppy who I’m looking to be proactive with on training. He’s about to graduate from puppy school and has a few weeks until his next program starts. So I was interested in your services to get a head start on basic obedience (recall, focus, & place), leash walking, and impulse control with outside stimuli.
A: Congrats on your new Shiba puppy and good on you to be proactive with his training. I appreciate that you seem to have a list of items you want to make sure you check off including socialization, obedience training, leash manners, and impulse control – all the things the mainstream thinking around puppies wants us to do. Because of the so-called “critical socialization period,” we’re asked to go full on with the training of socialization of our new puppy, thinking we only have a small window of time to do so.
At Way of Life, we do things a little differently. We want our puppies to be puppies and we do not believe that manners, walking nicely on a leash, obedience training, or impulse control are the priorities for a puppy’s healthy development. These things come later. When we have a baby on our hands, the priority is to boost the soundness, strength, and spiritedness of that pup. We want a pup who feels on top of the world, who is happy-go-lucky, confident, and thrilled to be with us because being with us is fun, successful, and natural.
Yet everything we are told to do with pups as young as yours is to begin programming their minds with conditioning and asking them to behave according to standards they do not give a poop about. This is no different than asking human toddlers to sit at the table properly, chew their food with their mouths closed, and hold their forks and knives according to protocol. I hope you see the ridiculousness of this but this is exactly what we are doing.
Now what happens when the pup becomes a teen and a teen from hell? We think it’s all about the teenage period. We don’t see these things we did when the pup was just a baby ended up producing an angry adolescent. I would be angry too if I were asked to be an adult before my time and robbed of my childhood.
Raising a good dog has more to do with your way of life than with training for manners in the way you describe. Training is part of our way of life but it’s not everything.
In the Way of Life Method, we define way of life as including socialization, managing space and boundaries, developing the dog’s innate drives, and cultivating a mindset and relationship that’s suited to where were at with our dog.
You can find out more about how to apply those with your puppy in the free Way of Life™ Puppy Primer: https://wayoflifedogtraining.com/puppy-primer/
Wishing you well with your pup!