Does this sound familiar?
"We did the manding exercises, but my puppies are inconsistent. Sometimes they mand, sometimes they jump up. Why? Am I doing something wrong?"
We get a post similar to this at least once a week, so allow me to offer some clarification and reassurance. Manding is a concept, not a rule. The fact that the puppies do it sometimes and not others is not only permissible, it's completely correct.
Yes, we try to continually reinforce the manding behavior but there is no rule that says the puppy MUST mand before receiving resources. There is only the concept that he MAY access resources by manding. This is a forward communication from the puppy to you, not a top down rule imposed by you on the puppy. That's why we call it "Give Your Puppy A Voice" instead of "Teach Your Puppy Manners." Two completely different things.
Mand vs Automatic Sit
Because the mand typically involves a seated position, people confuse it with "sitting politely for patting" which is a RULE that a puppy will not be given attention until and unless he is sitting. This kind of rule is WAY beyond the scope of a 6 or 8 or even 16 week old puppy to do reliably so you're setting up both yourself and the puppy for failure if you try to enforce rules at this age. To make it worse, your puppy will wind up missing out on important emotional learning while you fuss about "rules."
That's why we call it "Give Your Puppy A Voice" instead of "Teach Your Puppy Manners." Two completely different things.
At this age, she still gets all the love, whether she sits or not.
But can it hurt to start working on some rules now?
Yes, it can hurt and you can get the exact opposite of what you had hoped for. You can (and probably will) wind up with bad behaviors that will be extremely difficult to get rid of.
The primary goal for young puppies is forming positive emotional connections. Obsessing about rules does not serve this purpose.
Surprise, You're AWESOME!
Jane Messineo Lindquist
|Author of the book When Pigs Fly Training Success for Impossible Dogs, and creator of the widely acclaimed Puppy Culture Program.|