There are 6 basic commands: Heel, Come, Sit, Stand, Stay, and Down.
With a new dog, it does not matter where you actually begin. The main thing is to practice any old time daily and never to be in a hurry to move onto the next lesson. You don’t have to set the pace for learning, your dog does this. Dog training sessions must last only two to five minutes; this is about the length of your dog’s attention span. If you push your dog longer than that, he will eventually stop paying attention.
This is EXCITING stuff. So, you may need to reiterate this for at least ten times to remind yourself.
Stop every training session with an almost perfect performance. This could be one two-second sit, or even three little “heeling” steps beside you. Tell your dog how “great” it was. Stress to him how pleased you are he got it right. Don’t begin a training session right away after the dog has eaten his meal because he’ll be tired and those food rewards won’t be as tempting. Still, you can practice at any time during the course of the day, even if it is the 3 second “stay.” Your dog will appreciate the attention.
Motivation for a dog to do something lies first in his desire to please his owner. Dog treats run a close second. Biscuits do not make good training rewards because they take too long for the dog to munch on. Little bits of American cheese are the perfect food reward. A slice of a frankfurter will liven up the interest of any dog that’s not paying attention. Dog rewards come in three types: treats, pats and verbal praise. To grade your dog’s qualification for a reward, give him a treat the equivalent of an “A,” a pat on the back: “B,” and verbal praise can be associated with a: “C.” Be very careful not to go overboard or you’ll run dry of compensation and your dog will give up.
Verbal praise has a range from overjoyed to a calm ‘good dog’ as Bart grows up and becomes more experienced. Don’t make the cheese or frankfurters redundant when practicing and as each word command is fully learned, slowly decline on the treats and replace it with a simple “good dog” or just a huge smile. What you say to your dog and how you say it can show how quickly he learns. All conversation is apparent by the dog as meaningless noise. In the middle of some long-winded talk, call out your dog’s name emphatically and watch him take notice.
When using the phrase training commands, remember that lesson. Your dog’s name gives you his attention; one word phrases that tells him what to do. It is “Bart, SIT”. Never, “Bart, Sit. Sit. Sit. “Bart, you’re not paying attention to me – I told you to Sit, now Sit Bart. SIT, Bart!” This is what is called nagging, and your dog will completely tune you out. Bart is not being disobedient or stubborn he’s confused from your constant jabbing at the lips! Make sure that you don’t sound like a drill sergeant! Just smile, speak in a clear tone and let Bart do the barking not you!
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