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Puppy Head Start

Puppies are cute, energetic, crazy and adorable. One minute you can pick them up and cuddle and the next all they want is to race around. We all need to remember that puppies are babies and like human babies, they need a lot of sleep and will often fall asleep on your lap, in the laundry basket or between your favorite pillows.

But who can resist the faces of those adorable puppies?

Puppies can be a handful, chew on your furniture and steal your shoes. Like a child, a puppy will need positive parenting and guidance. They need to feel secure in their new environment and know that the humans will help them and provide for them. 

Puppies will try everything they can think of to get what they want. When they find something that works, they will continue to use it, but it may not be something you like. Teach your puppy what behaviors you want that will still get him what he wants. Show your puppy that what you want is what he really wants too and that you know where all the best things in life are.


In the past, working with puppies was pretty much confined to house training and maybe a few tricks, sit and possibly down. But real training didn't start until a puppy was about six months old. Things have changed over the last couple of decades and puppies are learning all about life from the moment they are adopted. Some breeders are even instituting enrichment activites and learning opportunities to puppies as young as 3 weeks old. All this being geared to teaching a puppy about the human environment in order to prevent fear and/or aggression later in life.


From the moment a puppy is born, his responsibility is to learn. That responsibility does not change for most of a dog’s life. His sole purpose should be to understand his universe in order to survive. That means learning all about it. That means taking responsibility for finding opportunities to learn.

Obedience behaviors of sit, down, stand, heel, come and stay are taught using games and reward based training. Using these methods, puppies are like sponges and learn things truly fast.


Play behavior in dogs starts at birth and is crucial to their development. Play promotes a puppy’s social skills, fine and gross motor skills, builds their body awareness, environmental awareness and helps them relieve stress. It is a puppy’s job to play. Play is the leading source of development for puppies. As a puppy grows, his ability to play with others teaches all the rules in how to relate to others. 

A puppy's play behavior is limited because their fine and gross motor skills are underdeveloped. But even at the ages of 3 and 4 weeks a puppy should play with squeaky and color-contrasting toys that teach simple cause-effect relationships and offer sensory elements. Toys with textures, sounds, and contrasting colors for visual stimulation promote cognitive and motor manipulation. Around 4 weeks of age, puppies begin actively engaging and handling their toys, which teaches them to reach, grasp, mouth push, pull and shake.

Between 6 and 8 weeks, puppies become goal-oriented and begin to understand simple cause-and-effect relationships. This is the time when bite inhibition is developed and the final stages of frustration tolerance are refined. Without the socialization aspects of playing with others at this stage, behavior issues happen that end up with an uncontrollable teenage dog at the pound.



There’s a lot happening during play. Puppies learn to chase and be chased, drop things, look and watch, bounce, hide, pounce, tug, bump into each other, and more. Puppies are busy when they’re playing. And, more than that, they are learning. They are learning key social concepts; what will start play and stop it, that a hard bite will stop play, that not everything goes as planned all the time, to create patterns and change them at will, and how to communicate.


Play is the true work of the young in any species. And when your puppy plays with you, he is also learning. When you play with your puppy you are teaching him that learning and fun happen everywhere and with every creature. Most of your puppy’s socialization can be done with play. Play creates self-confidence, self-control, impulse control and how to deal with sudden changes in the environment. Play creates a bond between the players and that ability to bond will assist a dog his whole life. 

Puppy Learning Games

Play Your Way Game Book

There are hundreds of different ways to teach and a thousand ways that life is being lived.  There is classical and operant conditioning; there is social and associative learning; trial and error and memorizing facts and figures. Each of us creates a pattern of actions that assist us in learning and in playing the game of life. But the one pattern, the one learning scenario that is gaining prominence and proof, the one that appears to deliver results in all arenas is Game Theory. 

Puppy Group Class in Tucson

Games provide a platform of training that covers all the necessities of life.  Games enhance observation and the ability to make informed decisions. 

Games increase confidence in dealing with novel and unique experiences, understanding the rules and how to live without stress. Training with games teaches that failure is just another way of learning and not something to be avoided. 

Training with games gives control to the dog, understanding to the dog, and less and less need by the human to be constantly alert. So rather than concentrating on the elimination of problem behavior, your choice as a trainer or owner should became a decision to increase a dog's abilities which, in turn, handle problems as a matter of routine.

Puppy Learning Games OnLine Class

There are many way to train or condition a puppy. Science tells us about learning theories, reinforcers, punishers, schedules, timing, criteria and a host of different ways to use equipment in the training process.

There are dozens of leashes, collars, harnesses and other devices touted as the new magic wand. We even have one of our own - Canine Game Theory. However, Game Theory and it's uses in education has been around for at least 100 years. Task training and reward based training has been around for 1000's of years and is how shepherds train their sheep puppys, carters train their mountain puppys and guardian breeds are taught self-control and discrimination.

Raising A Service Puppy OnLine Class

A service dog is NOT a pet. It’s not something that you get and then ignore. It’s not a highly trained dog that will be able to go through life without constant training reinforcement. It’s an ongoing training. These dogs are deemed medical equipment - the same as a wheelchair, crutches or cane - you don’t pet those items, so don’t pet the dog. The dog is our responsibility, not the responsibility of any place that we visit.

This responsibility starts when a potential service dog is still a puppy - an impressionable baby that is a sponge for learning.  Teach them the basics, but also teach them creativity, resilience, persistence, industriousness and intelligent disobedience.

This is four - 6 week classes.

Puppy Learning Games DVD

Games provide a platform of training that covers all the necessities of life. Games enhance observation and the ability to make informed decisions.

Games increase confidence in dealing with novel and unique experiences, understanding the rules and how to live without stress. Training with games teaches that failure is just another way of learning and not something to be avoided.

Training with games gives control to the dog, understanding to the dog, and less and less need by the human to be constantly alert. So rather than concentrating on the elimination of problem behavior, your choice as a trainer or owner should became a decision to increase a dog's abilities which, in turn, handle problems as a matter of routine.