For Obedience Training Your Dog Yourself
Beginning training sessions should be in a safe area with no
distractions. After you and your dog have finished this "course" and
he has the commands down pat every time, try moving the sessions to a park so
he will eventually learn to follow commands despite any distractions.
You should only concentrate on one new command per week. Once you start your
dog's training, you will need to practice the new command for at least fifteen
minutes every day. After adding a second command, practice both every day. And
so on. It won't take long for your dog to forget these new things if you don't
keep practicing. Not all dogs learn at the same pace, so don't feel
discouraged if you need to practice each command for two weeks instead of one.
-- Your dog wants to make you happy, and he will quickly do what you want once
he knows what it is you want him to do. The way for him to know it is what you
want is to praise him every time he does it - even if you had to put his body
in the right position or he did the right thing on accident. In the beginning,
your praise should sound hapy and excited and include lots of nice petting.
-- The commands you give should be said in a commanding voice - just slightly
louder than normal, very authoritative and stern, and in a slightly deeper
tone than normal. "Sit!" means sit down right where you are and do
it immediately. Saying "sit?" means please sit - that is, if you
feel like it - okay, when you get around to it - maybe?
-- When you say come in your most authoritative voice and he runs through the
front yard of three neighbors before coming to you, do not say no, yell at
him, or sound mean. He came, so praise him. The last action is the only one he
will relate to your praise or lack of it - the only one that he will think
made you happy or mad.
-- All commands must be enforced. Dog training is not for a lazy person. In
the beginning, each command will be given at the same time that you literally
put his body into the position that you want. When you think he knows the
command, try it with the verbal command alone - once. If you have to give the
command a second time, it should be done at the same time that you physically
put him into position. Otherwise, he will think that he can either obey or
not, or that he can take his own sweet time to obey.
-- Anything that you have been allowing a dog to do in the past that you want
to change now will take longer than if you start with a new puppy that does
not yet have any bad habits. A six-week-old puppy can learn to sit, come,
stay, get off, and heel in a matter of days. Stay takes longer with the really
young ones because they are usually only not moving when they are sleeping or
chewing on your good slippers. But, a dog of any age can and will learn all of
these things if you are persistent, you sound authoritative when you give the
commands, and you praise him as soon as he does it right.
First, raise your hand and repeat after me. "I swear that I
will never leave the training collar on my dog except when actually training
him or taking him for a walk."
Obedience training requires a special collar. This is called a choke-chain
collar and is meant to "choke" the dog for a matter of seconds
to tell him that he can't continue to do what he is doing, and to release
quickly - this doesn't actually hurt him. When the collar is put on incorretly,
the "choke-hold" will not release at all. Even if the collar is on
correctly, he could be choked to the point of injury or death by something in
the house or yard if he is wearing the collar without supervision and it gets caught on something.
You can see in the picture above that the collar must form a circle with the loop
continuing to the right at the top. (You can test this by doing it incorrectly
on your own arm to see the difference.) The leash attaches to the loop. With
the leash attached to the collar loop, hold the loop at the other end of the
collar and allow the collar to drop down through the loop. With the leash on
the right, put the collar over the dog's head. You need to be sure that the
collar has about 2 inches of extra length once it is on. The collar links
should be as thick as needed for your dog's size. Thin links will do fine for
little dogs, but a very large dog needs very thick links so the choke chain collar
won't break if he decides to run after another dog someday.
The training lead or leash should be about 6 feet long.
You may want to have some healthy treats on hand.
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