Ten Talents Farm: Colorado Mountain Dogs

Ten Talents Farm​​

Our farm is dedicated to breeding & training the best Colorado Mountain Dogs / Livestock Guardian Dogs  available that will love & guard both family & livestock whether on the farm or hiking trails. All puppies are now sold with back
dew claws removed and MICRO CHIPPED.
Training Tips
 ​If you will spend the time training your pup during the first year, and especially the first 6 months, you will have a confident, well-adjusted adult dog and a lifelong friend. Paul and I (Kristyn) became trainers because we were saddened by homeless dogs that could have had a very different life had their owners trained them to be well-mannered members of the family. If you have purchased a puppy from us and are experiencing a problem, call us and we will endeavor to help you work through any problem (the first three consultations are free). 

Sometimes you will be working with a puppy that is more interested in his surroundings than in you, or just doesn’t understand what you want him to do, and that’s when we use a technique called “all or none” reward training. It’s basically waiting silently until the pup does what you want him to, then rewarding him for it. We go into our puppy pen when our puppies are only 4-5 weeks old and just sit in a chair with the pups (pick morning or evening time when they are more active). Eventually one will come up to you (wondering what you’re doing) and sit. Immediately reward that pup with a treat. The others in turn learn from that puppy to come up to you and sit for a treat. You can begin to say “sit” when they start to get the idea. This works well for an older pup that is overly excited or not paying attention – wait for the response that you want. It may take 5-10 minutes, but it teaches pups to look to you for guidance.

     1. We recommend training first thing in the morning, teaching your pup “sit, down, and stand” (and “come” when called for meals). See our
         videos for training examples. If you puppy is biting too hard when taking the treat, yell loudly and pull your hand away without giving him the
         treat. Then say “gentle” and offer the treat again. Repeat if necessary – he’ll learn. After 10-20 minutes of training, free feed your pup all he
         wants (usually takes about 10-20 minutes), then take the bowl away.
    2. Next, fill a Kong and give it to your pup during the day. This will help entertain your pup while giving him/her an appropriate chew toy. It will
         also give him some nourishment during the day but not so much as to interfere with evening training.  If you have more than one dog, make
         sure both have a Kong chew toy and that one of them does not have both toys.
    3. Train the second time in the early evening, and again free feed your puppy afterwards.  Take away the bowl when the pup is finished and
         provide a stuffed Kong overnight.
    4. You may train only once a day or you may be fortunate enough to be able to train three times a day, so just adjust accordingly. Just remember,
        your pup must be hungry to train well, but a pup that is too hungry gets overly excited by the food and acts hyper and grabs at the food in
        your had too vigorously (in that case, feed him half what he normally eats and try again, or just free feed him all he wants and train later). The
        secret is find that balance were your pup is hungry but not starving.
    5. If filling a Kong is too demanding (and it can be – it takes time), just give him one during the day and leave his food bowl out a little longer at
       night. If he starts chewing on other objects (I had one that loved drywall), supplement him with various other chew toys. Cardboard boxes work
       well (if you don’t mind cleaning up after them!) – just make certain you get to your UPS packages before they do!

    1.Everyone must train so your pup learns to respect all members of the family. We recommend you start at meal times since you already have
        your pup’s attention (see above), then do additional training when you can before you play with him.
   2. At first, train in a small area where your pup can’t wander off (a garage is small enough, but we train in about half that size). As much as
       possible, remove distraction from the room (or expect to wait every time you train for him to explore everything).
   3. Start with refining your pup’s recall. At this point, you are probably kneeling or siting for training so that you are on his level. Every time you call
       your dog’s name, he should look at you for instruction. Do this by calling his name a time or two, then wait for him to respond. Repeat if
       necessary. Make fun noises if he’s ignoring you and call him again. Then be patient. Wait for him to come to you. He eventually will and when
       he does, praise him lots and treat. Repeat these steps until he comes to you easily. You can also use two people if it’s easier - one on each side
       of the room.
    4. Part two of this step is to have him sit when he comes. If you’re working with him at meal time, he should already do this. Have him sit in front
        of you while you sit in a chair and hold treats in one or both hands away from your body. He will naturally look at the treat but we want him to
        look at you. Say his name and when his eyes shift you your face, treat him. You can also just sit there silently and wait for him to look at you as
        if to say, “What’s up? I see the treat; why don’t I get it?” Your pup wants to understand you as much as you want to understand him.
   5. Once he is paying attention to you, start teaching standing up. Make sure he is reliable with both voice commands and hand signals (hand
       down is “down”, hand up is “sit”, hand out to the either side is “stand”, but you can use whatever you want, just be consistent).  Now you can
       expand your commands to whatever you need (stay, off, up, in, out, take it, let go, fetch, etc.), and you can also move outside if he has a reliable
    6. This type of training works well with whatever you want your dog to do. With any new activity, or if you pup is at all hesitant to do something,
        start with breaking down the new activity into small steps. As you introduce each new step, reassure him. Reward for the major steps such as
        sitting before getting into the car or accepting the new lamb.
All pups/dogs need to learn to accept your hands in their food, as well as the hands of every member of the family. Start with the feeding and training suggested above, and remember, every member of the family should help train. If you have two or more dogs, make both sit and wait until you put their food down, and never allow one dog to steal another dog’s food. Each should have his own bowl and eat only from it. If necessary, tether them in one spot so they cannot go to the other’s bowl or feed them in separate rooms. And praise them when they contently eat their own food.  Secondly, never just take food away from your dog, but rather offer better than what he already has. If he has his normal food and you offer a liver treat in your hand, he will learn to love your hand coming near his food. Start with treats in your hand while training; when you get to actual bowl feeding, he should be used to your hand bringing good stuff.

Expose your pup to the leash the same way as any new experience – slowly. Let him smell the leash, then reward. Next clip in on him, then reward. Then kneel down, clip in on him, and wait for him to come to you (reward). Do this the next time, then take a step backward, are reward when he comes to you and waits patiently. Keep taking these “baby steps” until he understands that the leash is not a bad thing, but something rewarding. As he learns each step and is no longer fighting the leash, stop rewarding for that step. Rewards are only for new things learned – we don’t want him reward dependent. As you walk him on leash, stop often and call him to you. When he returns to you and looks at you, reward him (you may want to reinforce this step with rewards more often than the other less important steps – sporadic rewarding works well).  Don’t let him pull you around on the leash – repeat this last step often.  Other rewards you may want to use on walks are letting him sniff something really interesting, but only after you notice he really wants to and you’ve called him to you, made him sit, then given the command “go sniff”. You need to always remain in control, not him.

As puppies grow and develop, they become more aware of their surroundings and sometimes become scared of unfamiliar objects and experiences. They may even have a “season” of timidness – during this time you may have to introduce your pup to new experiences very carefully.  Regardless, you never want to stress your pup beyond his/her threshold so watch carefully for adverse reactions, especially when they are young.  If they appear nervous or scared, retreat to familiar ground and reassure them (don’t treat yet). Once calm, reintroduce the new stimulus or person slowly, and treat them when they don’t react. Have strangers offer a treat once your pup has accepted them. When done well, the new experience can become one of your pup’s favorites. Puppies must be exposed to many new and various experiences so that they will learn confidence and be able to face whatever comes their way as adults. An adult dog that bites is often a fearful one that did not gain confidence as a pup. A good idea is to expose your puppy to something new every day for the first six months. Start with common items around the house such as fans or hair dryers, then move on to things outside such as ponds and thunder (many of our dogs love water). AND expose him to people whenever possible – taking him shopping with you is a great idea. Take treats with you to reward him for good behavior, or give them to strangers to feed him (a great way to get him to love people). Finally, expose him to other dogs (dogs catch diseases from other dogs, not people, so this has to wait until all immunizations are done – that’s also the reason why we carry the pup when young).

Pyxis louging in the sun after a long day...

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Colorado Mountain Dogs