Basic Command Training
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Training Basic Command Tips

Ever see a dog that snaps at you when you get near his food or growls when he's in your chair and you try to move him?  These dogs don't respect you as 'leader of their pack'.  YOU must be the Alpha Dog in their eyes.

Dogs are pack animals that have a distinct pecking order.  The leader of the pack (alpha dog) eats first, then the next alpha dog gets his fill and so on.  Your dog should never eat before you ~ and I believe the dog should see you eating.  When they are sitting there watching, they aren't begging & they usually aren't hungry, they are watching and learning that YOU are the leader.   [If you start feeding them while you are eating, the learn that they might be in the same pecking order as you and may even start to challenge you.  ] After everyone eats, even the children, THEN you can feed the dog.  AND as the dog is a pup, I will take away the food occasionally for a few minutes.  I want them to know that I am the leader and I can take their food if I wish.  

I believe in Rewarding Good Behavior - it fosters a good relationship between you and your dog.

All dogs need to learn the basic commands: COME, SIT, DOWN, STAY, NO

Ever had that dog that you gave a command to over and over again to FINALLY have him obey it?   I've seen dogs have to be told to SIT - 3 times before they actually sit.  Think about how you are training and cueing your dog, give your command once and expect it to be followed... don't reward behavior that you don't want to reproduce.

Following these methods - I've taught several dogs to SIT & DOWN in just one lesson.  It is surprising to me what dogs will do for liver treats.  Many don't like the liver the first time (I can't blame them), but the large percentage of the ones I've worked with develop a true love for it.  I can start cooking it and my dogs will start sitting, downing, speaking, heeling while I'm in the kitchen.  It's comical.   Young Puppies will learn easily but require slightly more training and reinforcement. 

I started making my own liver treats when I started attending obedience classes with Blackfoot.  I haven't found any bought treat that any of my dogs like as much as the liver treats - plus the bought treats aren't that good for dogs.  

bulletCOME - There are many ways to teach the commands COME.  I put the dog on a long lead and sit on the ground with my liver treats in a fanny pack.  As the dog plays around me and wanders off, every once in a while I will call him by saying "name_of_dog COME"  (only once) and tug gently on the lead until he comes.  When he comes to me, I praise him and give him a liver treat and let him go play some more; repeating the process several times.  I do this adding distractions making sure that each time I only give the command once and expect him to come to me, always praising and treating when he comes.  If he doesn't come on call, I will very gently guide him to me - NEVER drag him, try to make him think it is his idea.
bulletSIT - There are equally as many ways to teach the command SIT.  I take a liver treat, show it to the dog, give the command "name_of_dog SIT" ( only once) and move the treat down & over the dog's head.  The object is to get the dog to watch the treat and to have to raise his head to follow your hand.  In doing this most dogs will sit.  As soon as he sits, praise him, and give him the liver treat.  Then release him from the sit with a enthusiastic " OK".  I repeat this several times and give the treats less often as soon as possible.  Soon I give replace the treat with a simple "Good Boy" or "Good Girl" and a pet or a rub in their favorite spot
bulletDOWN - Once you have the dog sitting, it is fairly easy to teach the dog to lie down.  Put the dog in a SIT, take a liver treat in front of their nose and lower your hand to the floor and then move your hand towards your feet as you say, "name_of_dog DOWN"( only once).  Their nose and body should follow the treat to the floor and the dog will usually extend out his legs as your hand moves along the floor.  Praise the dog, give him the treat and repeat the entire process several times.  Release the dog each time by saying something like  "OK"

Occasionally you will have to put a litter pressure on the dog's shoulders to get him to lie down, but NEVER exert a lot of force - you want to make the entire process "his idea".

bulletNO - This should mean "stop whatever you are doing".  Commands should always be spoken with quiet forcefulness.  You don't want to be seen by your dog as a screaming lunatic, but you do want your commands obeyed.  This is a harder command to teach and frankly - every dog learns this in a difference manner by a different approach.  This is a harder command for me to explain to anyone to teach - since each dog is different and have to be dealt with in a different way.  A loud "AINNNNNNT" whenever they start doing something they shouldn't is a good start.  They associate that type of sound with something that isn't good.
bullet To teach a dog not to jump up on you: (work wonderful with puppies - but be careful not to push too hard) ~ As they jump up and are in mid air - raise your knee to block them, say "No Jump" and push them slightly backwards by pushing your knee forward.  Puppies will actually flip over on their backs when you do this so you MUST BE CAREFUL NOT to push too hard or too fast.  My father used to step lightly on an older dogs toes while they had their paws on him; but I was never too successfully in teaching a dog not to jump in this manner.

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