Teaching your dog commands
In training a dog, praise is your main tool. When your dog obeys say, “Good dog,”and pet it gently. Praise quietly; exuberant petting will make the dog want to play. Never strike a dog for not obeying a command; that will make it fear you and dread the training sessions. Just say, “No.” in a firm, low voice and then show the dog what you wantit to do by repeating the exercise. Begin with 10-minute sessions; later extend them to 20 minutes.
Keep the dog to your left. Use a 6 foot nylon or leather lead and a chain or nylon slip-ring collar. Hold the end of the lead in your right hand and the middle of the lead with your left; let your left hand hang by your side.
To teach a dog to sit, press down on the dogs rump and pull upon the lead while saying, “Sit.” Praise the dog immediately when it sits. Always give the command for an action in the same word and tone of voice.
To teach your dog to heel (to walk next to your left leg with its nose slightly in front of your knee), stand with the dog sitting beside your left leg and say, “Spot, heel.” in a firm voice. Step forward, left foot first, and walk briskly. If the dog lags behind or forges ahead, jerk the lead sharply and say, “Heel!” If your dog continues to forge ahead, begin circling; turn sharply and make figure eights. This will keep the dog at heel until it learns from your praise where you want it to walk.
Next teach the dog to stay. Have it sit beside your left leg. Say, “Stay,” and bring your left hand, palm facing the dog, from about a foot in front of the dog to within an inch of its nose. Holding the leash loosely, step away on your right foot; then turn to face the dog. If it follows you, return to the original position and repeat the procedure. When the dog stays for a minute or so, walk back and praise it.
The come command is an extension of the sit exercise: walk away from the sitting dog, turn and face it, then say, “Spot, come!” and tug on the leash. Praise the dog when it runs to you. Gradually increase your distance from the dog; finally, when the dogs response is prompt, practice with the dog off its lead. Obedience training classes are held in many localities. Consult the Yellow Pages or inquire of our veterinarian.