FOR the fourth week, handlers are asked to leave puppies in their cars, providing it is safe to do so and come into the hall.
The puppies come into the hall one at a time and go into their corners of the hall with tables on their sides, or other large barriers between the puppies to help them cope in the hall and prevent them from meeting each other and playing. This time there are no toys on the floor but only water bowls. The handlers have brought in their puppies' own toys for playing, stuffed kongs for relaxing and treats for training sessions.
By this time the puppies usually feel quite confident in the familiar environment. However, if any puppy feels worried in the environment it may be that it is going through a fear period. There are many fear periods during a puppy's life, with the first one being at around seven to eight weeks of age and the second around four to five months of age. The others come a little later. During these fear periods the puppy needs a little more patience and understanding.
The puppies are given their kongs or other toys to chew, on their blankets on the floor.
The instructor then demonstrates with one of the puppies the next two steps in loose lead walking. First, use a distraction to gain the puppy's attention, then make the clicking sound as explained in week three, and then give the puppy a treat. Once the puppy is coming to the clicking sound for a treat during distraction, the next step is to take a step or two as the puppy comes to get the treat.
Each handler has a turn at doing the steps to loose lead walking, one at a time, while the other puppies chew their kongs or receive a massage. After this the puppies will be tired and will have a few minutes of rest while the instructor teaches the next step for the recall.
One of the handlers and puppies is used for demonstrating the recall. The instructor has the handler wander around the room with his puppy on a long lead. As the puppy moves away the handler walks in the opposite direction (without pulling the lead), as the puppy moves towards the handler, the handler praises the puppy and gives him a treat. As the puppy moves away it is ignored. The puppy soon learns it is nice and rewarding to be with the handler. The cue word is not added at this stage.
Each handler has a turn at practicing the beginning of this recall for a few minutes, one at a time. The puppies then rest again with their kongs, toys or a massage while the instructor talks a little more about training at home - just once or twice a day for no more than about two minutes each session.
Also any other problems the handlers may be having are discussed for a few minutes. With the session over, the puppies leave with their handlers one-by-one.