It used to be the case that dog training courses didn’t begin until a dog was 6 months of age. Twelve months, as believed by some trainers, was soon enough. Most people now believe that the first few months of a puppies life are the most valuable and important time to start training.
• Puppies are always learning new things.
• Puppies are learning each and every day.
• They will learn whether we formally train them or not.
• Puppies learn quickly since they have no prior experience in any situation.
• Because puppies are so open-minded, they can be molded into wonderful, obedient pets.
One: Opportunity Training – This type of training introduces the puppy to training without him realizing it.
Two: Attention Training – When introducing a brand new command, I wait until the puppy is doing that command before I give it. I introduce the command “Watch” as the puppy is awaiting his reward. Because the dog has a very short attention span, you must praise him immediately.
Three: The Sit – Kneel on the ground and get the puppy’s attention by allowing him to sniff the treat in your hand. Place your hand above the puppy’s head. Because it is easier to look up at the treat while sitting, it will naturally go into the sitting position. Only when the pup sits can you use the sit command and give praise. Repeat this about 9 or 10 times.
Four: The Down – This begins in much the same way as the sit. However, this time your open hand is used to cup over the treats. The puppy will use different methods to try and get the food. He can smell the food but he cannot see it. He will attempt to move your hand out of the way using his nose. Then, he will realize it is much easier to simply lay down. Reward him and give the command “down” as soon as he lays down, while his is still in the down position.
Five: The Recall – The recall or “come” command is crucial for the behavior and safety of the dog. This command can be taught at the same time as down, sit, and stay. Have someone kneel on the ground and hold the dog. Kneel or sit a short distance from the puppy. Get the dog to look at you by placing both hands in front of you. Immediately give the “come” command. After your have the dog’s attention, ask the helper to release him. Speaking the command, “come” with lots of excitement and praise as the dog runs toward you. Give him a tidbit in reward and praise upon his arrival. Do not try to make the puppy sit or lay at the same time. Until he understands the one exercise, repeat it again and again.
Remember that even young puppies can be taught quite a bit. The little ones can learn quite quickly when good technique and a great attitude are present. Keep in mind that the idea behind training is to build confidence and a bond between owner and dog. Training exercises should be done in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. This will encourage the puppy to want to learn.
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