Tag Archives: puppy training

Dog Obedience Training

Lying down

A variation of the ‘sit and stay’ routine is to encourage your dog to lie down, and remain in this position until called. It is usually learnt quite quickly once the initial response has been mastered. At first, though, you may well have to encourage your dog to alter its posture from a sitting to a lying position. You can do this quite simply by lifting the forelimbs together and gently pressing down on the top of the shoulders.

When the dog is lying down, stay nearby and give the command ‘down’. If this is carried out after a period of exercise your dog may readily remain in this position since it may be relatively tired. Alternatively, it may simply attempt to stand up or sit. If it does, simply repeat the procedure until it is lying down. Obviously, do not expect your pet to settle down readily on a wet or uncomfortable surface. You can reinforce the message by holding the leash close to the ground which will make it harder for the dog to stand up if it persistently tries to do so. This is possibly more effective than having to reposition the dog repeatedly in the ‘down’ position.

Again, as with the sit and stay command, you can gradually back away, leaving the dog lying on the ground. Having learnt this routine previously, then dogs soon adapt to the new version. It is important for a dog to sit and stay when instructed, once you allow it to run free off a leash; while it must also be prepared to lie down, both in the home and when waiting with you out of doors.

In an emergency this may prevent a dog from straying into a potentially dangerous situation, for example if you should suddenly encounter riders on horseback when you are out for a walk along a narrow path. If the dog drops down as commanded then it will be unlikely to disturb the horses, which may otherwise be unnerved and could even attempt to bolt off.

Another situation where the command ‘down’ is essential is within the home itself. While it may be pleasant to have a young exuberant puppy bounding out to greet you with great enthusiasm, you do not want a large adult dog behaving in a similar fashion, leaping up and bowling people onto the floor.

This again requires consistency in training from the outset. It is unfair to expect an adult dog to appreciate that such actions are no longer welcomed if you have allowed them since it was a puppy. Try to provide just a welcome pat when you return home or first thing in the morning, rather than a more exuberant greeting. If your dog does try to jump up, simply encourage it to lie down by using the technique described previously. Be calm and firm throughout so that there is no question of the dog interpreting your anger as excitement, and striving to obtain more attention by this means.

Excitable children can have a similar effect, and so they may also have to be shown how to behave towards a puppy. This applies especially with larger breeds, such as the Great Dane, because they will grow up rapidly, and may bowl over young children. Similarly, when you have visitors, your dog must not be allowed to jump up on them. It is a good idea to let the dog remain with you, however, preferably lying down at your feet. Once this routine has been established in puppyhood you should have no difficulty with your pet when visitors call.

The only alternative is to shut your dog in a separate room when there are guests, but this could result in other problems including whining and destructive behavior. Again, these problems are most likely to arise in puppyhood. It is usual for young puppies to whine to attract their mother’s attention. This in turn becomes easily transposed onto their owner, and can become a major problem in later life.

If a dog wants food, for example when you are preparing a meal, then it may well start to whine until you give it some scraps. Unfortunately, your dog will soon come to associate its whining with an immediate and affirmative response on your part. It is therefore folly to give in to behavior of this kind, and you should try to prevent it by being aware of the situation when it may arise and not responding as the dog demands.

The command ‘down’ is especially important for larger dogs. so that they do not cause problems in the home. From a sitting position, the dog’s front legs will need to be lowered as shown here.

The dog should then be reasonably comfortable. It is best to carry out this exercise in the home, or on a dry patch of grass. so that the dog can rest happily.

Using a hand signal to show that you want the dog to stay in position, you can give further encouragement by holding on to the leash in the early stages of teaching this command.

The Command ‘Sit’

Leash training should also be linked with other basic commands which will be essential when the dog is walking along the streets. For example, it must learn to sit, rather than straining to rush across a road. You can begin this aspect of training right from the outset, encouraging the puppy to sit in advance of every meal.

Apply gentle pressure to the dog’s hindquarters to encourage it to sit. This can be repeated at the start of every session of leash training: hold the leash in your right hand and then apply a light touch with your left hand. Do not allow the leash to slacken at this point, but try to keep it taut as this will help to ensure the puppy adopts the required position rather than jumping up.

If you encounter problems, you may want to kneel down alongside the dog, keeping your hand in place over the hindquarters and the leash in an upright position. Do not be too keen to give praise in this instance, but allow the dog to settle down first for a few moments. You will soon find that the dog will sit of its own accord, before you place the food bowl in front of it, as this is a natural posture for dogs to adopt.

Having started on the leash from the sitting position, you should also break the walk with the command ‘sit’, as will be necessary when you are opening the car door, for example, or when you come to a road. You can also encourage your dog to sit when it is playing in the garden. Such behavior is essential when you are training your dog to run free outside as you will want to put it back on the leash at the end of the period of exercise. Sitting is a relatively straightforward command to teach, and because it is such an important part of many other routines you should concentrate on this command during the early stages of training.

By the time your young dog is about six months old you should be developing other commands which will form part of its outdoor training requirements, in preparation for allowing the dog off its leash. These sessions should not be too long, just five minutes or so, two or three times every day. Continuity is important, and the dog is likely to respond best to one person, especially when learning new routines.

Once these routines have been mastered, then other members of the family can encourage the dog to behave in the required fashion. As an example, whoever feeds the dog should always insist that it sits before placing the bowl down on the ground. Make sure that the same commands are given, however, to prevent confusion and a likely lack of response on the dog’s part. The word `sit’, for example, should be used at all times rather than simply saying ‘food’ in this instance, and hoping that the dog will respond accordingly.

You should be able to kneel down, keeping the leash held high, without upsetting your dog. When you are carrying out any training procedure, especially outside, it is important to select a quiet locality. This applies especially when teaching a dog to sit, because this is quite a relaxed posture, and any distractions will upset the dog’s concentration. Patience is important when persuading a young puppy to walk on the leash. They may turn round to you for reassurance in the early stages. Once the young dog has grown in confidence, then it is more likely to try to pull ahead, as shown here. A check chain can be particularly useful at this stage, before a powerful dog grows out of control. Sitting is a natural posture for dogs, and they should feel quite happy in this position.
With the dog standing still, give the command ‘sit’. Gentle pressure over the hindquarters as shown may first be necessary to evoke the required response.

Staying

Concentrate on giving straightforward instructions, remembering the significance of the tone of voice. Use an encouraging, clear tone and avoid repeating the command immediately if the dog fails to respond at once. Otherwise, the repetition on your part will not motivate the dog to react at first, and soon this can become an habitual problem.

Training sessions should be fun, and the dog must be encouraged as an active participant. Once it is sitting on command, you can develop this into staying as well. This is sometimes surprisingly difficult to master, especially with more exuberant individuals, simply because they will run after you.

Start with the dog on the leash, commanding it to sit before stepping back. Repeat the word ‘sit’ to reinforce the dog’s posture. If the dog tries to follow you wait until it has readopted a sitting posture. This can be accomplished either by placing your hand back over its hindquarters, or if this fails by using a choke chain. If the dog tries to follow you wait until it has readopted a sitting posture. This can be accomplished either by placing your hand back over its hindquarters or this fails by using a choke chain. If the dog moves, your grip will pull the lead vertically and tighten the chain as the dog moves towards you.

Once the dog responds as required then offer plenty of encouragement. The next stage is to persuade it to remain in position while you move away, with the leash lying on the ground. This will be much harder to achieve if you start with the leash held vertically because the act of lowering it will be distracting for the dog. Instead, hold the leash so that it is close to the ground from the start, before the dog sits. Then you can simply release your grip and back slowly away over a few paces. If you move fast, then the dog is more likely to follow you. An extendable leash may be helpful at this stage. Repeating the exercise regularly will soon pay off.

Obviously once you are in a position where the dog remains still as you move away the basics of the command have been mastered. You can either call the dog to you or else leave it sitting and return to it. Avoid confusion, however, by adopting a standard approach at
first. It is probably better to return to the dog until the ‘sit and stay’ command is well established. Otherwise, by calling the dog, you may encourage it to simply stand up and then race across the ground.

It is important to choose a place away from roads when you are encouraging your dog to stay. Neither should there be dogs or other animals in the vicinity.

Once the dog is sitting, you can !hen extend the leash on the ground. Hand signals are an important part of the trainer’s repertoire, the raised hand here indicating ‘stay’.

There is no need to let your dog off the leash at first when you are teaching the ‘stay’ command. Here it is simply trailed on the ground to the trainer.

Training is a sequence of lessons, and at this stage, you can move back towards the dog and slip off its leash. Always leave the collar on under these circumstances so that you can restrain the dog more easily, if it attempts to run off.

Dog Training

A well-trained dog is a delightful companion and an intelligent member of the family. Training is a rewarding occupation requiring patience and kindness, which will bring you closer to your dog.
Puppies have short memories and must learn by repetition. In the early ages aim for short daily training sessions with the minimum of distraction and preferably just before feed time. Encourage the puppy when it has done well; give the occasional titbit, always a word of praise and a pat. Never smack the dog with your hand for punishment, other than on the rump, and never use any physical force on its nose—this is its most sensitive part and the dog’s sense of smell can easily be impaired.
If the puppy must be punished, catch it in the act of wrongdoing; otherwise it will not know what it has done wrong. Dogs understand differences in the tone of your voice, so make your initial reprimand by deepening the tone of your voice and speaking severely. If this does not work after repeated attempts, use a folded piece of newspaper to smack the animal; this makes a lot of noise, indicates to the dog that it is being punished but does not hurt it physically. Do not expect too much -too soon-, many pups will not learn commands until ‘they are five or six months old and. -remain mischievous and destructive until then.. The same basic principles of reward and punishment apply to all forms of training.

House Training

From the time it is weaned a puppy can be taught to be clean and to go to a tray containing dirt, sand or ashes to empty its bladder and bowel. Put it on the tray several times a day, and always after it has been fed, and praise any action. It will quickly learn to go there regularly.
As the puppy grows older, put it outside five or six times a day, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night, as well as immediately after eating. If possible, select a spot in the garden and take the puppy there regularly, as the odor emanating from its toilet will stimulate its desire to pass urine or feces. If possible, stay with the puppy until it has performed and then praise it; it will soon learn what is expected.
Older puppies or dogs that have not previously been trained are sometimes more difficult. They require careful watching and frequent putting out. If they misbehave in the house, scold them with words.
If a trained dog has an accident in the house it usually means the dog has a problem. It may be an antisocial jealousy behavior pattern, it may indicate an infection of the bladder, or in older dogs it can be urinary incontinence. Never rub your dog’s nose in the mess when it has made a mistake; take it to the spot, hold it near and say ‘no’ or ‘bad dog’ several times in your scolding voice, then put the dog straight outside for some time as an indication of punishment.

How to Walk a Dog

Within the confines of the garden your dog will have learnt the basic commands such as walking, heeling, and sitting. You can put these into practice when you take the dog out on to the street. Do not expect too much in the early stages, even if your dog has become a model pupil at home. There will inevitably be scents and other distractions, including passing vehicles, which will affect the dog’s concentration on your commands.

For this reason, start by choosing a relatively quiet environment rather than a busy road. Be certain to keep the dog positioned on your left-hand side, away from the road at all times. If you walk reasonably close to the left side of the path there will probably be a natural barrier, such as a fence or wall, to reinforce the dog’s previous training routine. You may well find that you have to use the choke chain more than normal when you are first walking along the street as the dog will be more inclined to pause for scents than before.

Contact with other dogs may be a problem at first as well. Try to keep your dog walking in a straight line, so that it does not pull across you to reach another dog as you otherwise might trip over the leash. Again, if your dog seems keen to linger, give a gentle pull on the choke chain, with the command ‘on’, to indicate that the dog is to continue walking.

If you regularly visit shops in your neighbourhood where dogs are prohibited, it is a good idea to accustom your pet to waiting for you tied to a dog park. Never be tempted to leave the dog off the leash, hoping that it will simply sit until you emerge from the shop. A distraction may cause it to wander off into the road, with fatal consequences.

You should also make sure that the leash is tied firmly in place, so that the dog will not be able to wriggle free and disappear in your absence. Give the commands ‘sit and stay’ before leaving the dog, and check that it has remained in position before entering the shop. Again, plenty of praise at this stage will help to reinforce the desired response.

Never be tempted to run across a road if you are walking a dog. Your pet may be slow in responding, and this could easily result in a serious accident. Instead, cross at lights whenever possible or at a clear stretch of road where there is good visibility, rather than at a corner. While you are waiting to cross, encourage the dog to sit at the curb, and never allow it to wander out into the road on its own.

Sometimes, often because of a scent, the dog will attempt to stop while you are walking. Similarly the choke chain will again tighten, encouraging your pet to walk alongside you.

When the dog pulls ahead while on the leash, the choke chain tightens and it will experience discomfort. It will soon learn to walk at the right pace.

Dog Behavior Training

You will need to integrate the new puppy into socializing with people outside your immediate family. Some of these guests may not like dogs, and could be nervous, especially if you have a large breed. This can cause complications since the dog will undoubtedly be able to sense this by jumping up at a visitor while they are sitting down. Although this may seem quite appealing behavior in a young puppy, it will be seen in a totally different light with a large adult Irish Wolfhound. Again, consistency when training is important, and it is generally better not to allow dogs on to furniture. Otherwise, cleaning the room inevitably becomes more difficult as

Instead, provide a suitable bed in a corner. of the room. it is important to teach your dog to return here when required. After an initial greeting of a visitor, tell your dog to sit in its bed using the command ‘bed’.

There are several ways of accomplishing this, and it is of the greatest importance that you teach the puppy to recognize its bed. This can be carried out last thing at night, once the puppy has been outside to relieve itself. By this stage it will be ready to sleep, and you should give the word ‘bed’ at this time, placing the puppy back in its bed if necessary.

Once the puppy is properly toilet trained it may be more convenient to move the bed out of the kitchen into another room in the house. Your dog will still identify with its bed in a new location, especially if a piece of familiar bedding is provided. Once the teething phase has passed you may want to get a new bed, rather than a cardboard box with its sides cut down. Wicker beds may look attractive, but can be difficult to clean properly, which will be necessary from time to time, especially if your dog suffers from fleas. A solid plastic bed is an ideal refuge for fleas at all stages in their life-cycle. Since fleas do jump, of course, there is no certainty that they will not occasionally land on a chair, but the likelihood is greatly reduced if the dog is kept off furniture.

If you wish to keep the dog’s bed outside your sitting room, in the kitchen for example, you can still provide a bean bag so there will be no need for your dog to climb on the furniture. Choose a brand with a removable outer cover, so this can be washed easily, while, as a precaution, the contents should be fire-retardant. Your dog can be trained to stay or sleep here while you are talking to visitors in the room or, indeed, sitting there on your own.

A dog will not be deprived if it cannot use a chair. As creatures of habit, you will find that they soon do not even attempt to climb on furniture, but voluntarily retire to their bed. Try to place this in a quiet corner of the room away from the door, especially if you have young children. The puppy can then be left alone to sleep with relatively little disturbance.

Never forget that small puppies can grow into large dogs, as shown by this Pyrenean Mountain dog. There is little space left to sit down here, while the dribbling habits of some dogs will not improve your sofa’s condition. You may prefer to discourage your dog from sleeping on the furniture, even while it is a puppy.

If the dog fear, he may respond aggressively. At first you may well have to put the puppy on its leash and keep it close to you if it is not to be an annoyance when visitors call. Obviously the puppy will be curious and should be allowed to meet your guests. However, it should not be allowed to continue making a nuisance of itself
hairs are shed over the chair covers, and there is an increased risk of flea infestations.

These troublesome parasites, which now thrive throughout the year in centrally-heated homes provided that the humidity level is not too low, can bite people as well as dogs and cats. The crevices at the sides of chairs provide

Bean bags of various types are now used widely for dogs. They are ideal for large breeds, or individuals which have a back ailment of any kind and may find it painful to curl up in a basket.

Dogs large and small will frequent the bedroom if they have an opportunity, but this should be discouraged. You may otherwise find yourself being badly bitten by fleas.

Dog Biting

When you first allow your dog off the leash outside you should be confident that all the basic commands, especially the command ‘stay’ have been mastered by your pet. It is also important to choose a quiet locality for this purpose. Try to avoid an area where there are many other dogs being exercised, since they will inevitably prove a distraction. You may want to take your dog out earlier than normal if it is difficult to find a quiet spot. You must also choose an area where there is little traffic, with no busy roads nearby. If you do opt for a place in the countryside however, be certain that no farm livestock is in the vicinity either, as sheep especially may prove an irresistible subject of curiosity for dogs which have not encountered them before, and this can escalate to sheep-worrying.

It is usually a good idea to walk with your dog in the usual fashion at first, working through the basic commands. Then repeat the ‘stay’ command, having slipped off the leash. Call the dog to you, and encourage it to walk with you for a distance before repeating the process. It is likely that at some stage the dog will run off some distance away.

The one thing never to do if your dog starts to stray from you is to chase off after it. Otherwise, it will think that you are playing a game, and will continue running, leaving you outpaced. Instead, stand still and call the dog back to you. Alternatively, you can call it to ‘stay’, but in the excitement of the moment and in strange surroundings, the dog may not comply. Again, wait a few moments before walking towards the dog, assuming it does stay, so as not to cause it to bound off.

A dependable means of retaining your dog’s attention when it is first let off the leash is to take along a ball or flying disc. You can then encourage the dog to return to you without difficulty, by making a game which will entail the dog bringing the toy back. Do not be tempted to throw the toy too far ahead as this will be counter-productive. Always praise your pet when it returns to you on command.

You can also introduce a whistle to the training process at this stage. This can be especially useful if you are walking through an area with plenty of ground cover where you could lose sight of the dog. Special high frequency dog whistles are available for this purpose, which although virtually inaudible to the human ear, can be heard by dogs with their more sensitive hearing a good distance away.

It is a good idea to familiarize a dog to the sound of the whistle while it is still close to you. Establish a routine by calling the dog’s name, and then giving a set number of blows on the whistle. Then even if you and the dog lose visual contact, the dog should hear the sound and return to you.

A dog which is being exercised off the leash will cover considerably more ground than if it is walking with you. In this early stage, once the dog is running free, you will probably find that it is more settled at home. This is because young dogs, from six months old, tend to need more exercise than other individuals. Nevertheless, aim to give the dog a good run every day, rather than undertaking a marathon at the weekend, for example. Excessive exercise can be damaging, especially for the giant breeds, particularly while they are still immature. In moderation, however, plenty of regular exercise will help to decrease the dog’s destructive instincts around the home, as well as being essential for the smooth working of its cardiovascular system.

The dog will soon come to anticipate its walk eagerly, and rapidly settle into the routine of having a run before returning to you. There may be odd days, however, when a problem arises. The dog might pick up and follow a scent, before you are aware of this, and disappear into the distance. Continue the walk as normal, pausing for a time at the spot and call the dog back to you, rather than trying to pursue it. The dog should return within a few minutes, but if not, search in the direction where you last saw your pet. Repeated calling and whistling should entice the dog to return before long.

There is then little point in scolding the dog, and in fact this may well be counterproductive, because there is then less incentive for the dog to return in a similar situation if you become angry with it. The same applies if the dog returns with a dirty coat. This typically occurs just after you have given your dog a bath. Washing the coat removes the natural scent, which is important to the dog’s status. As a result, it will seek an alternative pungent odor when roaming free out on a walk, and horse droppings and cow pats may prove irresistible. You should try to prevent this situation arising, possibly by exercising the dog on the leash for a day or so if it has shown a tendency to behave in this fashion in the past. Clearly, should this occur, you will have little option but to wash the dog again.

If you take the same walk every day, try to vary the routine, introducing and reinforcing training procedures, since this could be vital at other times. As stressed earlier, it is particularly important to persuade the dog to stay without any hesitation on its part. If you are on holiday with your dog, for example, you may encounter a canal or a similar stretch of water unexpectedly, and it will be important to ensure that your dog does not plunge into its depths, as this could be dangerous. Some breeds show a much greater desire to enter water than others, with retrievers tending to be especially keen. Aside from the fact that it may be difficult for the dog to get out of the water or escape from a strong current, the water itself might also be polluted, with equally serious consequences. Be as cautious with a dog as you would with a child.

Similarly, if you are on the beach, you should discourage your dog from drinking the water, or plunging straight into an area where the swell may be dangerous. People have died in such circumstances where a dog has leapt into the sea, encountered difficulties and then its owner has been swept away while trying to rescue their pet.

Before exercising your dog on the beach, you should check that this is permitted. In some areas, notably close to towns, dogs are banned from beaches. Always take a bowl and a bottle of clean drinking water for your pet so that it will not be tempted to drink salt water. Some dogs become very excited when they are first taken on the beach, so it may be advisable to keep your dog on its leash at first.

Again, when you do let it run free, try to choose a quiet spot away from people as much as possible. There is nothing more likely to cause ill-feeling than a large dog rushing through, demolishing a child’s sandcastle or trailing sand through a picnic!

Another lesson which will need to be taught in these surroundings concerns pebbles. Some dogs appear to find them irresistible, although they show no interest in garden stones at home. Apart from the possibility of injuring their teeth quite badly by trying to gnaw them, there is also the distinct likelihood that some will be swallowed, causing an intestinal blockage. If your dog tries to pick up pebbles, you must command it to drop them before any harm results. It is much easier to prevent this situation developing by being firm from the outset, rather than trying to remedy it later. Playing with pebbles is unlikely to prove a novelty which will simply wear off. You can develop the sit and stay routine with the dog off the leash, walking a considerable distance away before calling the dog to you. Always give plenty of praise when the dog sprints towards you.