"Every dog deserves the freedom of an education"
Welcome, and congratulations on deciding to have a well behaved canine companion.
In this class you will learn to teach your dog to walk on a leash politely and sit when you stop, to sit, stay, lie down, come and stand when told.
Please bring a small baggie of treats, such as tiny pieces of hot dogs or cheese. Make sure it is a treat that your dog likes, and one that will slide down quickly. Nothing that the dog will have to stop and chew. Treats are a great motivator.
Dress comfortably and safely. Comfortable, non slip shoes are a must. No sandals or thongs please. Dress in layers so you can stay warm or cool depending on the weather.
We will progress quickly. Be sure to practice at home. 5 to 20 minutes twice a day if you can. If you become tired or angry at your dog be sure to stop training at that moment. Take a break, put the dog up. Training should be fun, positive, and successful. Try to remain positive about training. If you get frustrated that your dog is not progressing as you think he should, don’t give up. Stick with it, I promise you, it does get better!
It is important to be consistent with your commands. Teach others involved with your dog the words you are using, and encourage them not to change them. If you use the word “sit” and someone else says “sit down”, your dog will be quite confused! The commands I teach in class are commonly used ones. If you wish to use a different word, please do. Just remember to use it every time.
When giving a command the dog’s name is included in movement exercises i.e.; heeling, come. Use a release word with your dog when you are finished with an exercise or finished training for the day. “OK” is the word I will teach. Some people prefer “free” or “at ease”. You may use any word you wish.
Work on getting your dog’s attention. Practice the “Name Game”. While he is sitting next to you, talk gently to him, scratch his chin, stroke his head. Praise his quietly for looking at you - “Good watch me”
Never call your dog to you to punish him. No if, ands, or buts, NEVER. It’s not rocket science. If you call your dog to you and then punish him, next time you call him he won’t come.
Praise lavishly and sincerely. Praise uses a higher pitched voice, corrections use a lower, growl pitch. Men have trouble praising, as they cannot get their voices high enough, and women have trouble disciplining, they cannot get their voices low enough. Use your voice to stop bad behavior - growl, “ah ah”, and then praise as soon as the bad behavior stops – “good dog”. As you progress try to voice correct your dog as he is thinking of making a mistake, not after he does.
Equipment - A leather lead is easier on your hands than nylon. No chain leads please. NEVER leave training (choke or pinch) collars on when you are not training. Use a buckle collar with ID for around the house. If no tag, write phone # directly on collar. Make sure collar fits, not to tight.
Spay & Neuter - There is no reason to keep an intact dog if you don’t want to breed. Take a trip to the local animal shelter. There is row after row of dogs needing homes. If you do decide to breed - Do your homework! Check eyes, hips, temperament and background. Spay & Neuter has many health benefits. If you would like more information, please let me know, I have several articles to share.
Vaccinations - Stay current on all vaccinations. Use your veterinarian's recommendations. Parvo is bad in the AV, our weather helps spread it. Bleach does kill the parvo virus. If you think you have walked in a area that might be infected with parvo, spray the bottoms of your shoes with bleach.
Although we do not live in a rabies “hot zone”, there are still cases of rabies occasionally. We have bats in the Antelope Valley and they can carry rabies.
If you ever think about getting a wolf hybrid, there is no guaranteed rabies vaccination for them.
The Name Game
To teach the dog it’s name and have it respond consistently.
An enclosed area with no or limited distractions, the dog, and the dog’s favorite treats. This game can be played with just you and your dog or any number of persons.
How to play:
Each person takes a handful of treats and then kneels, sits, or stands about 10 feet apart. The first person says the dog’s name and as soon as the dog looks at you say, “GOOD DOG” and immediately offer the treat.
As soon as the dog has eaten the treat, the second person calls out the dog’s name. Remember - say the dog’s name only once!
As soon as the dog looks in your direction say, “GOOD DOG” and offer the treat for the dog to come and get.
Repeat about ten times per lesson. You may do several lessons each day.
As the dog becomes good at the game increase the distance and time in which you say its name. When the dog really understands the game, add distractions (one at a time) and use different locations. Also delay your praise making the dog move toward you to earn the treat.
Remember - lots of verbal praise and have fun.
To get the dog to respond to it’s name by looking and moving in your direction.
Remember - the dog’s name only means “Look at me, I want your attention”.
Start slow and easy keeping the lessons short so neither you nor the dog become bored.
Make sure collar is on correctly.
Use your release word at the end of an exercise.
Remember: this is FUN !
a) Hold food at dog’s nose and slowly bring it back over head towards tail. Say, “sit”. Give treat as soon as the rear end in on the ground. Quietly praise, “Good Dog”
b) Dog is on your left. Right hand on back of collar. Say “sit”, left hand strokes down back and over tail and tucks forward behind knees. Quiet praise. Use release word.
a) Hold food at dog’s nose and slowly lower it to the ground. For the first few times, rewards the dog lowering it’s head to the ground. Then repeat and don’t release the food until the dog also lowers it’s hind end to the ground. Give treat and quietly praise, “Good dog”.
b) Dog is on your left. Kneel down, left hand reaches over dog, hand behind dog’s left foreleg, right hand behind right foreleg. Say “down”, lift forelegs up and lower to ground. Remember - don’t pull the dog’s legs out from under him, lift up first.
a) Hold food at the dog’s nose and slowly pull it straight and away from the dog, causing him to stand. Say “stand”, and give treat. Quietly praise.
b) Dog on your left. Right hand holds collar at throat. Say “stand”, move right hand forward, left hand in front of his thigh. Quiet praise.
Lead with your left foot.
Say “heel”, and step out. Use your voice to encourage and praise. If the dog is pulling on the leash simply turn and walk in the opposite direction. Be patient. Praise the dog when he is near you. Occasionally offer a treat.
Make sure collar is on correctly.
Use a release word.
Have FUN !
Review and continue to practice skills from week one.
The Name Game
Sit Stay ( practice in a sit & down position)
Hold leash directly above dog’s head and maintain slight tension. Signal with your left hand, palm open as you say “stay”. Do not use the dog’s name. Return your left hand to your side, stand erect and pivot directly in front of your dog. Stand toe to toe. Pivot back into position, release leash tension, and quietly praise. Release your dog with your release word. Slowly increase the distance between you and your dog.
Step out with your left foot. Encourage the dog to “heel” with you. When the dog begins to forge or pull on the leash, change direction and continue walking. Praise the dog when he is with you. Offer a treat now and then. Don’t worry, be happy!
Sit and check dog’s ears, feet, and teeth.
* Check collars
* Don’t worry, be happy!!
Continue to review and practice skills from week one and two.
The Name Game
Practice sit and down stays. Remember not to use the dog’s name. Just the command “stay”. Leave with your right foot. When giving the hand signal do not make contact with your dog.
Heel with automatic sit.
Say the dog’s name and “heel” and step out on your left foot. Step briskly. Use your voice to encourage and praise. If your dog does not walk in heel position, give a pop correction on the collar. Prepare to stop, gather leash in right hand, stop your movement, and sit your dog.
Sit and check ears, teeth and feet.
* Check collars!
* Having Fun? !
Continue practicing Sit, Down, Stand and The Name Game.
Practice sit and down stays. Strive to be at the end of the leash. Remember not to use the dog’s name. Just the command “stay”. Leave with your right foot. When giving the hand signal, do not make contact with your dog.
Heel with automatic sit. Practice right and left turns. Remember to leave on your left foot when heeling. Always strive for a loose leash, which enables you to make a correction. Praise your dog for coming with you. Always use your voice to encourage.
Recall. Use the dog’s name and the command “come”. Praise, praise, praise when your dog reaches you. Using food makes this even more positive.
Check ears, teeth, and feet.
Practice the Recall.
I know you are having fun!
Continue to practice sit, down and stand. Ask the dog to stay in the position for just a moment. You are reinforcing simply the command, not the stay command.
Practice heeling with an automatic sit. Continue working on right and left turns and do figure 8’s around trees or chairs or people. Talk to your dog - Praise
Practice stays. See if you can get your dog to sit stay or down stay for 3 minutes.
If that is to long, strive for 1 minute. Then praise.
Practice recall from a sit stay. Use the dog’s name and the word “come” (“Rover Come”) Using food makes this more positive. Make sure the dog sits in front of you before rewarding. Then Praise, Praise, Praise!
Practice “leave it”
Check ears, teeth and feet.
The Name Game
Remember, this is fun!
Praise, praise, praise
· Continue sit & down stays. If possible add distractions. Strive for 3 minutes.
· Continue to reinforce the sit, down and stand commands without a stay.
· Practice the recall. Make sure your dog sits in front of you before you release and praise.
· Heel with automatic sit. Keep it happy, lots of praise. Remember to practice turning right, left and about turn.
· Keep checking teeth, ears and feet.
· Don’t forget to practice “leave it”, and The Name Game
· Practice the “Finish”. Remember to choose the one you like and practice it.
Continue sit, down and stand commands. Your dog should fully understand these commands by now.
Work sit and down stays. Strive to be at the end of the leash. Do not use the dog’s name, just the “stay” command. Leave on your right foot. When you return to your dog, remember to count to five in your head before you release your dog with the “OK” command.
Heel with automatic sit. Remember to use the dog’s name and the command “heel”. Step out on your left foot. Practice turns and about turns. Lots of praise, really use your voice!
Continue to work on the recall. Praise, praise, praise that dog when he reaches you. If you are having trouble with your dog coming quickly, try using food as a reward.
Graduation next week
You better be there !!
Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of mine.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements, and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, my friend, when I am very old, suffering in my health and sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather, see that my trusting life is taken gently, and I shall leave knowing with the last breath I draw, that my fate was always safest in your hands.
~ Beth Norman