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Just a few random questions I've been wondering about!

1) My puppy keeps getting bug bites on his belly where there is no hair. They are bright red and go away within a day or two. He dosent seem in pain but it is scary to look at :( Any ideas on a product that keeps bugs off?

2) Yesterday we were walking down the road and a guy came by on his peddle bike. Egon stopped and raises his hackles a bit and almost looked scared? He approached the guy with his nub wagging and licked his hand but also peed while doing so. Was he just excited? Or is this submissive peeing? He was fine after but it was just out of character for him. He's been fearless from day 1 about everything.

3) When training, do you name the behavior or say the command then treat once he does the command? For example. I'll lower the treat towards the ground and he slowly lowers into laying down. Once he is down I say 'Down! yes!' Then give the treat. Is this the proper way? Or should I say 'Down' and then treat once he is laying down? He dosent do anything yet unless there is a treat - is that normal? :) I know he's a baby, I just want to make sure I am not confusing him.

Thanks for any and all thoughts!
 

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Just got an timely email, relating to pesky insect bites...here it is:

How to Kill Mosquitoes

You may be aware of this, How to Kill Mosquitoes
I can't wait to try this in the summer!

I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared. The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat whenever I saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well.. It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table, the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby. During the summer, I don't leave home without it....Pass it on.

OUR FRIEND'S COMMENTS: I tried this on my deck and around all of my doors.
It works - in fact, it killed them instantly. I bought my bottle from Target and it cost me $1.89. It really doesn't take much, and it is a big bottle, too; so it is not as expensive to use as the can of Bug-spray you buy that doesn't last 30 minutes.
So, try this, please. It will last a couple of days. Don't spray directly on a wood door (like your front door), but spray around the frame. Spray around the window frames, and even inside the dog house.
Now these are Good Mosquitoes!!!

EARTH FRIENDLY TOO???
 

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I'm not confident enough in my knowledge to weigh in on 1 or 2, but as far as 3 goes, I am pretty sure it's best to do command --> response --> reward.

So as in your example scenario, I would make sure I had his attention and had a reward ready, and say "down" or "Egon, down" --> lure into the down position --> "good down!!!" coupled with giving the treat/pat/whatever you like to use (I was/am a treat trainer) :D

I believe it's most effective to get an association between a word and an associated desired response if the word is given right before the desired response is expected. And it makes sense in many other scenarios like teaching "leave it" or "drop it" or "off" - you're going to want to be able to give the command and then have him "leave it" rather than pull a piece of gross sidewalk food out of his mouth and then say "good leave it." I hope that makes sense!
 

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Also, in terms of getting his attention/motivation up when you don't have a treat, I think it's a gradual process. He's still such a baby that he might need a treat in play to be motivated (and focused on you for more than five seconds). I personally like to use hand signals coupled with verbal commands, in part because you usually have the treat in your hand as a lure when you're initially teaching them something. So they come to be more motivated by your hand being involved in a command by virtue of associating your hand with rewards.

That, and our girl is quite a visual learner :p and is often more responsive to a hand signal than a verbal command (e.g. if we tell her "quiet!" she is likely to give it a couple more tries, if she's barking. But if we look at her face and do a "shhh" hand signal with a finger to our lips, she zips it immediately. Don't know why). So consider that too. You can couple hand signals with your commands and treat-reinforcements and gradually give treats less frequently. At Egon's age, I wouldn't be too worried about his responsiveness without a treat, but it's something to work toward as he becomes less of a little baby.

Eventually, you might find other things that motivate him too. Our girl's sharpest behaviour in response to a ball. She's so ball-motivated that she was able to start doing long-downs while I walked 30+ feet away from her and all sorts of other things without very much practice. She just listens so well when she knows she's going to get a ball toss at some point. Was also a huge help for training recall, far more effective than treating for her coming back.

Our girl still gets lots of treats compared to some dogs, but we've found a balance that works for us and her, and that's the important thing, IMO. Some people don't like to use many/any treats, and some do...I think it's personal preference, and we are happy having treats as a component of our training regimen. Plenty of other people on this forum know a lot more about training than I do though, so I'd be interested what their opinions are on this.
 

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Diluted Skin So Soft works well for bugs. You can google it and find the formula.

My guess is it may have been the bike that intimidated him? Make sure all his new experiences are really positive. Don't force him to approach if he's not ready. If he's nervous, go back to a distance that he feels confident and safe, and feed him yummy treats just for being there and looking. Keep it short and positive and let him take it at his own pace.

Do you have a good puppy class? I think group classes with a great trainer are super helpful - they are more about teaching YOU than teaching your dog :) This is a good starting place to find trainers: Search for Professionals. My favorite way to train puppies is with a clicker - they really understand VERY quickly what it is want from them and it makes them very eager learners! You can also check out Kikopup's channel on Youtube for some basics in how to clicker train - she's awesome: kikopup - YouTube
 
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