Welcoming the New Pack Member

Alan Newton, Associate Trainer Wildrose Carolinas

Perhaps you’ve welcomed a new pack member home this spring.  A new puppy brings anticipation of successful days afield, coupled with high hopes for the dog’s performance upon reaching maturity.  Handlers working their first Wildrose dog approach training a new puppy with a sense of eagerness.  Patience quickly becomes a much-needed virtue when traversing the long road ahead in preparing the new pup for success in the field and home.

Training begins the day your new pack member arrives home.  The first seven months of a puppy’s life, referred to as backgrounding in Wildrose circles, is critical to the long-term development and success of the new pack member.  Backgrounding centers on establishing a carefully crafted daily routine that includes crate training, airing out, feeding, place training, socialization, tie-out, heeling on lead, basic verbal commands, sit to the whistle, and simple retrieves including trailing memories and 180s.  

Developing and following a consistent daily routine for the new puppy is key to backgrounding success, and foundational in preparation for more advanced training.  Behaviors instilled by the handler during the first seven months of a puppy’s life are most often permanently ingrained, so choose your teaching lessons wisely.  Put simply, developing obedience during this time period is foundational to future success.  An excellent resource for the new handler training their first Wildrose dog is the first four chapters in Sporting Dog and Retriever Training the Wildrose Way, by Mike Stewart, which provides basic training instruction for the new handler.  Also, take advantage of the complimentary 16-lesson “Starting Your Puppy, the Wildrose Way” videos at uklabs.com produced in association with Purina.

Kennel and associate trainers are available to answer questions during this critical developmental period.  Reaching out with questions is well worth the time and effort when considering the long-term expectations for your new Wildrose companion.  Be wise, consider your time, ability, and experience as you set your new pack member up for success!

Alan Newton, Associate Trainer

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