My goal when I breed a litter is to produce happy and healthy Miniature American Shepherd puppies that make incredible companions for families. That starts with the first 8-10 weeks that they spend with me, but proper socialization and training continues when they head to their new homes. I send all of my puppies home with a puppy pack of which contains the following...
~Health guarantee and health certificate
~Vaccination and deworming record
~Towel with their littermates scents on it
~Toys that they have been playing with
~One of my favorite puppy socialization books
~AKC registration papers
~Microchip registration information
~A supply of the food that they have been eating
~Handouts I have written that include house breaking tips, socialization ideas, and training tips to work on things like channeling herding drive and preventing nipping
I always recommend that families find a puppy kindergarten class to attend that focuses on positive reinforcement training as a start to training both them and their new puppy. Puppy kindergarten is a great opportunity to socialize puppies, but it is also an opportunity for families to learn how to best teach and work with their new companion.
Positive reinforcement training is a style of training where you reward good behavior to teach a dog appropriate behaviors and actions. A classic example is if a dog is afraid of car rides and your goal is to get it comfortable with a car you work in the following manner over a period of time determined by how the dog responds to training
1) approach the car and feed lots of treats with the goal that when the dog approaches the car we change its reaction from one of nervousness to "every time I go by the car I get a treat"
2) once a dog is comfortable approaching the car then we feed treats while sitting in the car
3) once the dog is comfortable sitting in the car eating treats then we can start the engine always feeding wonderful treats, playing with a special toy, etc so we change the dogs reaction and feeling about the car
starting the engine becomes backing the car out of the driveway, then driving around the block, then going for a short ride, etc. until a dog becomes comfortable in the car.
This is how I approach any training concern that owners bring to me with their pups and I want and encourage owners to contact me anytime that they have a question or concern about training their pups. I make a commitment to every pup I breed and want to make sure that they thrive in their homes.
Miniature American Shepherds can excel in a variety of competition events including dock diving, obedience, agility, barn hunt, herding, and more. I strongly encourage owners to get involved in some aspect of training/performance with their dogs beause it is a great way to provide mental stimulation to these increedibly intelligent dogs and because it is a fun way to build a bond with your dog.
Below are a list of food and enrichment toys that my dogs love and many owners use in their homes....I expose my pups to many of these toys before they ever leave for their new homes as a way of teaching them appropriate and fun activities to entertain themselves
~Kong Quest Toys
~Busy Buddy twist n treat
~Omega treat ball
~Kibble Nibble Ball
~JW Caterpillar Toy
~Busy Buddy tug-a-jug toy
~Petsafe waggle dog toy
~Kong genius toys
~Everlasting treat toys
~JW Treat Bone Toy
I try to have many of these toys pulled out of the toy box when owners come to pick up their new puppies so that owners can see them and become familiar with great ways to entertain their pups when they take them home.