How We Start Puppies at Fort Causeway and Training Information

Sheep Grazing
When starting puppies on our farm, we feel even very simple and age appropriate training can begin as early as 4 weeks of age. We work to breed good dogs for small farms, acreages or ranches and that drives our starting philosophies. We've described some of our methods below:
  • Exposure - One of the most basic methods of starting puppies is supervised exposure to many different stimuli. As shown in the picture above, puppies are handled by adults and children of various ages. They are also directly in contact with cats, chickens and other dogs. The puppies, see, hear and smell sheep from a very young age. When they are older, fence line contact with sheep is started. Direct contact with sheep is limited to avoid negative interaction. The puppies are also exposed to limited extent to other adults, cows and horses.
  • Deep Voices - We have found that puppies can grow to be fearful or timid around large, tough men with deep voices. Some shy away, run away or pee all over the floor when confronted with a deep commanding voice. As crazy as it sounds, we use different inflections of voice around the puppies and Kevin, the largest of us with the deepest voice, takes time to work a bit with each puppy in what we call "desensitizing". This is training that is very important for new owners to continue, but we attempt to expose puppies while they are still with us. And yes, it is possible for women to do this too. Keri is often found talking to a pup in a deep growly voice while interacting gently with them so they know all is well!
  • Behavior Training - We've heard many training instructions that say to start training puppies around 4 months of age. We respectfully disagree, especially with large dog breeds. We start age appropriate behavior training as early as 4 weeks of age. Most training at this age is reactive, but is still important. We do not allow puppies to jump up on people. While super cute at 4 weeks, they could really hurt someone at 1 year and 120 lbs. We do not allow puppies to bite at our hands or other extremities. We do not allow puppies to bark or growl at people. Puppies as young as 6 weeks old can be taught to "Sit". We start teaching, "Come!" but most puppies will come to you naturally at a young age. We feel it helps them to hear the command, though, and will make it easier to learn in the future.
  • Housebreaking - This is one part of training that does take some time on the part of the new owner. A puppy's body simply needs to be able to control its bodily functions before true housebreaking can occur. But as breeders, we do take steps to start teaching the puppies that there are places to go potty and places not to. One thing we have consistenly heard from owner's of past puppy litters is that their puppy was very easy to potty train. This encourages us to keep on doing what we're doing!

Training Information

We have often been asked about training ideas, especially for the Pyrenees breed. There are excellent training websites online and books available, which we defnitely recommend using. We have found, though, that the Pyrenees does not always respond to certain training methods the same as more people pleasing breeds of dogs, so we have put together a flyer of information to get new owners started off right when training their new puppy. It consists of training tips that have worked for us through the years of working with the Pyrenees.

**Remember with large dog breeds - They do not stay small for long!** Some training methods do not recommend starting until the pups are 4 months old. With a large breed dog, you will definitely want to start before that or you will find yourself trying to control a wild 50-60 lb puppy.

Puppy Training Tips Flyer