Lightning, our pick of the litter, is now four months old and is well on his way to becoming a good-looking rabbit hound!  For the most part, we just let him enjoy being a puppy.  The kids spend time playing with him nearly everyday and he continues to demonstrate a great personality with a desire to please – which is important in a hunting dog.

This week we have started leash breaking Lightning.  Leash breaking is simply the process of getting a young dog use to being on a leash.  Often, the first few times a leash is put on a dog they will fight, pull and flop all over the place.  It’s a little like bronco busting on a much smaller scale!

During this training the dog will not only get used to having a leash on, but more importantly will learn submit to the handler.  Lightning is learning to go where the handler takes him.  He stops when the handler stops and he walks when the handler starts walking.

Often, you will see a defiant dog take the leash in their mouth and try to direct the handler.  It’s important to establish in this early training that the handler is the master, and is in charge, no questions asked.  If a dog is allowed to think they are in charge they will not be a very enjoyable hunting companion in the field or a pet around the house.

Here you see Lightning’s first experience on a leash.  The kids take turns holding the leash and speaking calmly but firmly to him.  It won’t be long until having a leash on is no big deal for Lightning and then he will be one step closer to joining the pack in the field!

Tips for Training a Pup

-Make your training sessions short – puppies, like kids have short attention spans.  It is much better to have six short 10-minute sessions than one hour-long session.

-Reinforce positive behavior with praise and affection.

-It is best to work with one puppy at a time, as they are easily distracted.

by Peter, pictures by Sunshine