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Dog Training Guide: Part II - Teaching the Dog

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Dog Training Guide: Part II - Teaching the Dog

Dog Training Guide: Part II - Teaching the Dog

Foundation Exercise – Name Response

 

  1. Get a nice mix of treats and hide them in a pocket, pouch or table top.

 

  1. Say the dog’s name. When he looks at you, C/T (click and treat).

 

  1. Repeat this all over the house, on leash, outside, on a walk, at the park, when you have guest over, while there are food or favorite toys visible etc. This is the most important behavior and the foundation of everything you will teach. It is also a good way to get your dog out of trouble, for example: your dog is getting a little too intense while playing with another dog – say his name and click when he looks – he will come happily for his reward and you’ve given him a needed break from play.

 

  1. Use the chart below to track your progress.

 

  1. Occasionally reward unsolicited eye contact from your dog by clicking and treating.

 

Check when your dog looks at you 8 out of the 10 times you say his name (without using a lure):

 

Look at me while…

Inside with no distractions

Outside in yard with no distractions

Inside with low level distraction

Outside with low level distraction

Inside with med level distraction

Outside with med level distraction

Inside with high level distraction

Outside with high level distraction

 

Example Distractions:

Low: Someone else in family is in the room

You have a toy in your hand

Med: An alarm, doorbell, or phone going off during request

Asking while you are in a different position (sitting or lying down, back is turned)

Asking in a different area (in basement or middle of street)

You have food or a toy visible in your hand

High: People or dogs or other animals are interacting

with your dog

Food or ball being thrown

You are in a busy place like the park or pet store

You have guests visiting

 

A Potential Life Saver – “Come”

 

Why teach your dog to come to you? This is the ultimate in safety cues! If your dog ever escapes the home you will want to have a solid foundation for this behavior to potentially save his life. It is also a great way to direct him onto something else. If he is about to check out what’s in the trash, call “Come!” (And give him his reward as you cover the trash can.)

 

Do these exercises after your dog has learned “Name Recognition”

 

Teaching the Basic Behavior, “Come”

 

  1. Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog. Put a treat on the floor for your dog to eat and walk to the other side of the room. Hold your hand out with a treat visible and say your dogs name if he is not looking at you. Once you get his attention (or if you already have it), say “come” in a normal/happy tone of voice. Click when your dog begins to come to you. Praise him the rest of the way and give him a treat when he gets to you. While you reward him, touch his collar (this is a good idea in case your dog ever decides to play the grab the treat and run game!). Practice this about 10 times and take a break. Alternatively you can play this with a second person and “Ping Pong” him back and forth.

 

  1. Begin the exercise in the same way as above, hold your hand out as if you have a treat in it, but it will be empty (we will fool him a bit!). Click him for beginning to come and treat him when he gets to you from your pouch or pocket. Repeat 10 times and take a break.

 

  1. Continue practicing using the empty-hand. This is now a “hand signal”! If you would like, you can also fade this so that the dog responds to the verbal cue alone.

 

Becoming an Expert at Coming

 

  1. Practice out of sight, outside and in more distracting environments as detailed on the worksheet.

 

  1. Decoy exercise: One person is the “handler” and will call the dog. The other person is a “teaser” and will try to tempt the dog with food or a toy. If the dog goes toward them while the handler is calling, the teaser should ignore the dog and turn away. When the dog finally comes to the handler, he gets rewards from both the handler and the teaser.

 

  1. Fetch-interrupt exercise: Toss a ball or piece of food. As the dog is chasing it call him. If he comes after getting the ball/treat he gets clicked and one small treat. If he comes before getting the ball/food he gets a click and jackpot. Sometimes you might need a little luring to get him started: toss the ball/food and then quickly put your treat to his nose, click and jackpot if he comes directly to you then fade the lure out.Alternatively if your dog will fall for it you can try faking him out by making the appropriate motions but not throwing anything. This is a great game to play with his meal of dry food – toss one piece of food, if he interrupts chasing it to come to you when you call, click and give him a whole handful of it.

 

  1. Hide and seek: When you are outside together and your dog is wandering around and seems to have forgotten you exist, hide behind a tree. When your dog comes looking for you C/T and make a big deal of him. Always work in a safe area.

 

Dog Training Tips:

 

  • Never call your dog for something he may feel is unpleasant. For example when leaving the park, call your dog, put his leash on and play for a bit longer before exiting.
  • Make coming to you always fabulous! Always treat, use the jackpot, and occasionally bring out a ball from your pocket and throw it or play a little chase as an additional reward.
  • If your dog does not respond when you call and you must get him, try these tricks: running backwards away from the dog, crouching down, clapping your hands, whistling, squeaking a toy, or showing him food. Do not run towards him as this is an invitation to play “catch me” and humans usually lose this game! Once he comes to you he must ALWAYS be rewarded, even if he didn’t come initially and stressed you out in the process!
  • C/T your dog for “checking in” when you haven’t cued it and he’s off lead.
  • Practice “Come” at least 5 times per day (forever!).
  • Work in a fenced area or use a “long line”- get a light clothesline rope and knot it every couple of feet. Let your dog drag this and practice in a park or field. Make sure it is long enough so that you will be able to step on it if he decides to “take off”. It is safest for your dog to attach the rope to a body harness instead of a neck collar.
  • Have two “Come” cues, one that means a great food treat is not necessarily involved (as in “Cum’ere and sit on the sofa with me”) and another that means “I have great stuff!”

 

Check when your dog Comes to you 8 out of the 10 times you request it (without using a lure):

 

Come while…

Inside with no distractions

Outside in yard with no distractions

Inside with low level distraction

Outside with low level distraction

Inside with med level distraction

Outside with med level distraction

Inside with high level distraction

Outside with high level distraction

 

Example Distractions:

Low: Someone else in family is in the room

You have a toy in your hand

Med: An alarm, doorbell, or phone going off during request

Asking while you are in a different position (sitting or lying down, back is turned)

Asking in a different area (in basement or middle of street)

You have food or a toy visible in your hand

High: People or dogs or other animals are interacting

with your dog

Food or ball being thrown

You are in a busy place like the park or pet store

You have guests visiting

 

A Potential Life Saver – “Drop It”

 

Why teach a dog to “drop it”? If you have a young puppy, you know the answer to this - it’s because they frequently have something valuable or dangerous in their mouths! The goal is that when you cue “drop it”, your dog will open her mouth releasing whatever was in there and allow you to retrieve the item. It is very important

to make sure your dog is making a good bargain with you for her prize (you give her a good treat) and that you stay calm and don’t chase her. If this is taught correctly, your dog will be happy to hear you say “drop it”. If your dog isn’t happy to hear “drop it” for all items yet, then it is best keep those items out of reach until you have practiced with them. This exercise is also important because it can prevent food guarding. If your dog knows that you do not "steal" she will not worry about you approaching favorite items.

 

Teaching “drop it”:

 

  1. Get together a few items your dog might like to chew on, your clicker and some good treats like cheese or turkey. (I’m sure you now have your dog’s attention!)

 

  1. Have a piece of food ready in your other hand as you encourage your dog to chew on one of the objects. Once she has her mouth on it, put a piece of food close to her nose and say “drop it”. Click when she opens her mouth and feed her the treat as you pick up the item with your other hand. Return the item to her.

 

  1. Try to get her to pick up the object again so you can continue practicing, but beware that once your dog knows there are treats involved she may want to keep her mouth free for eating! In this case, keep your treats handy throughout the day and whenever you see her randomly pick up an object or toy you can practice. Aim for at least 10 repetitions per day. Occasionally you will not be able to give her the object back (if she’s found a forbidden object), but that’s okay just be sure to give her an extra nice treat.

 

  1. Once you’ve completed about 10 repetitions, repeat the process in #2 exactly, but this time you will be sneaky and won’t actually have the treat in the hand that you put close to her nose (I call this “empty fingers”). She will most likely drop the object anyway and you can click and get the treat out of your pouch. Give her the equivalent of 3 treats the first time you use empty fingers and she drops the item.

 

  1. After a few days of practicing, try it with a tasty item. Get a carrot or hard chew. Hold it in your hand and offer the other side of the item to your dog to chew on – but don’t let go! Let her put her mouth on it and then cue “drop it”. Give her the equivalent of 3 treats the first time she does this and offer her the object again. If your dog won’t retake the item, just put it away and practice another time. Get 10 reps of this before going on to step 6.

 

  1. Now get your hard chew again and some really fresh yummy treats (meat or cheese). This time you will offer the object to your dog and let go and then right away cue “drop it”. When she does give her the equivalent of 10 of your extra yummy treats and THEN give her the item to keep (this should make a very good impression!). If she doesn’t release the item, try showing her your treat first and if that doesn’t work, just let her have it and try again later with a lower value food-related item. You will be able to build up to the highest value items once your dog realizes it is worth her while to listen.

 

  1. Practice the “drop it” with real-life objects around that she enjoys but are not allowed such as: tissues, pens (begin with an empty one), wrappers, shoes, etc. Then practice this outside!

 

Dog Training Tips:

  • If your dog already enjoys grabbing objects and having a game of chase, you should begin by teaching her that you will not chase her. Just ignore her and then she will probably drop the item on her own once she is bored of it. You can also try distracting her by ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door.
  • If your dog will not drop a dangerous item, even for a yummy treat (or if you don’t have one at the moment – shame on you!) place your fingers on the lips of her upper jaw where her canines are and push in and pull up. This will open her mouth so you can retrieve the item. Make sure you give her a big reward (even if you’re frustrated) for allowing this invasive treatment and keep that item out of reach in the future until you are ready to teach her to drop it.
  • It’s okay to show her a treat (bribe her) if she has a forbidden item that is higher in value than what she has been training with. Be careful not to make a habit of this!
  • Practice “drop it” during tug and fetch games.

 

“Leave It”

 

Why teach your dog to “Leave It”? The goal is to have your dog take his attention away from an object of interest when you cue “leave it”. This is important when the item of interest is unsafe, such dropped medication and is also a useful self-control exercise.

 

Do this exercise after “Name Recognition”

 

  1. Have treats hidden in both of your fists. Let him sniff one of your fists. Click and treat (C/T) when he eventually looks away from your fist and feed the treat with your other hand. Repeat until he no longer tries to get the treat from your fist when you present it.

 

  1. Open your hand containing the treat and show him the treat. Close it if he tries to get the treat. Repeat until he decides to ignore the treat while your hand is open and then C/T by feeding a treat with your other hand. Repeat the exercise until every time you present your open “decoy” hand with a treat in it he ignores it right away. At this point, add the cue "leave it" (say this just once for each repetition of the exercise) as you show him the decoy treat. Repeat.

 

  1. Set the treat on the floor and say "leave it". Cover the treat with your hand if he tries to get it. C/T when he looks away from the treat. Repeat the exercise until he doesn't try to get the treat from the floor once you say "leave it". Repeat.

 

  1. Set the treat on the floor, say "leave it" and stand up. Cover it with your foot if he tries for it. C/T for ignoring the treat. Repeat.

 

  1. Walk him past the treat on leash, say "leave it" when he sees the treat and keep him from getting it with the leash. C/T when he ignores the decoy treat on the floor. Repeat

 

  1. Next have fun and increase the length of time that he leaves it or stack treats on his paws or toss them around.

 

  1. Teach him that “leave it” also applies to objects such as toys and living things. By beginning with something very easy and building up to the more difficult.

 

  1. Use the chart on the back to keep track of your progress.

 

Check when successful at “leaving it” for 8 out of 10 requests:

 

Will leave…

Low value object in your hand

High value object in your hand

Low and high value object, on the floor

Low and high value object on floor with you 10 feet away

Walk by object, on leash inside or outside

Thrown or dropped object inside or outside

Live subject inside or outside

Object/subject for 1 minute or more

 

Example objects:

Low value: Cheerio

High value: cheese cube or piece of rawhide

 

Sit

 

Why teach your dog to sit? He will learn that in order to get good-stuff-for-dogs he had better put his fanny on the ground and this is a good default behavior. It is very simple to teach; it helps establish human leadership and is a great substitute for jumping up and lots of other problems.

 

Teaching the Basic Behavior, Sit:

 

  1. Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog. Wait for him to sit. When his bum hits the floor click and treat (C/T). Feed the treat while he is sitting and then toss another treat to get him up again. Continue to practice until your dog is sitting again right away after you feed his treat.

 

  1. Now say “sit” just as he begins to do so and C/T. From now on you will only reward sits that you have cued.

 

Becoming an Expert at Sitting:

 

  1. Practice for 5 minutes, twice per day by asking him to “sit” in increasingly distracting situations. Use the chart provided to track your progress.

 

  1. Practice “Go Crazy and Sit”: Run around with your dog while squeaking a toy and then ask him to sit. C/T success.

 

  1. “Say Please”: Ask your dog to sit whenever you give him something he likes such as access to outside, his food bowl, or petting.

 

  1. If you are having trouble, don’t get frustrated, just back up a step, succeed at that, take a break and then try again later (maybe with better treats).

 

Check when your dog Sits 8 out of the 10 times you request it. (without using a lure).

 

Sit while…

Inside with no distractions

Outside in yard with no distractions

Inside with low level distraction

Outside with low level distraction

Inside with med level distraction

Outside with med level distraction

Inside with high level distraction

Outside with high level distraction

 

Example Distractions:

  • Low:

o Someone else in family is in the room

o You have a toy in your hand

  • Med:

o An alarm, doorbell, or phone going off during request

o Asking while you are in a different position (sitting or lying down, back is turned)

o Asking in a different area (in basement or middle of street)

o Food in your hand

  • High:

o People or dogs or other animals nearby.

o Food on a table nearby.

o You are in a place like Petco or the Vet’s office.

o You have guests visiting.

 

Accepting Handling

 

This exercise will teach your dog to remain still and wait for a reward when you need to handle him for grooming or medical reasons and also to accept accidental inappropriate handling. It is an extremely important behavior for your dog to learn to keep him calm and to prevent aggression.

 

Dog Training Tips:

 

  • Do not use your clicker to close too his head! -It’s okay to use a word such as “yes” or “good” and then deliver your treat, if clicking is awkward. The i-click can be used by pressing it with your foot.
  • Once your dog has learned the following exercises with you, practice with other people.
  • Easy cheese or peanut butter spread on the floor or refrigerator door is a simple way to keep your wiggly dog still for handling when you have not trained him yet to be still.
  • If your dog already dislikes being handled, you can teach him to accept it by following this method and going very slowly. Have a professional (or at least – someone else) do any needed manipulations such as grooming until he has learned to be comfortable. Muzzles do not hurt the dog and can be helpful in keeping people safe while we teach him that it’s okay to be handled.
  • All dogs need to practice handling exercises for one or two minutes several times a week to remain comfortable with the process (forever!).
  • For all of the exercises, follow these steps:
  • Begin with very brief, non-invasive touches. If he stays still and calm and does not try to wiggle away, C/T. If he wiggles, continue touching him, but do not resist his movement. Think of your hands as “sticky” - they will stay stuck to the dog but move with him until he is still and then you will C/T and release him.
  • Do not proceed to the next step until your dog enjoys the current one.
  • Only work these exercises for a couple of minutes at a time.

 

Teaching your dog to accept handling of different body areas:

 

  1. Collar: Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog.
  • Touch your dog’s collar under his chin and immediately release him while you click and treat (C/T). Repeat 10 times or until your dog is happy about this exercise.
  •  Hold onto his collar under his chin for 2 seconds. Repeat until he is happy with this exercise and then up the time gradually to 10 seconds.
  •  Hold his collar under his chin and tug on it a bit. C/T if he accepts this without resisting. If he wiggles, gently stay “stuck” to him until he calms and then release and C/T. Repeat this until he’s comfortable and then try it from the top-side of his collar. Increase the intensity and duration slowly as you practice.

 

  1. Paws: Many dogs are very sensitive about their paws. It is important to proceed slowly with this exercise so that your dog is enjoying it and to continue handling his paws throughout his lifetime. Do not trim your dogs nails unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing as it is easy to make a mistake and cause pain. In all of these exercises, if he does not try to pull away, C/T, if he wiggles, “stick” to him and C/T and release when he stops resisting. Each step in this exercise should take several days to complete with dozens of repetitions. Complete each step before proceeding the next one. Practice with all 4 paws.
  •  Pick up his paw and immediately C/T. Repeat 5 times and then progress to holding his paw for 1 second.
  •  Hold the paw for 10 seconds with no resistance from your dog.
  •  Hold the paw and move it around.
  •  Massage the paw.
  •  Pretend to trim the nails.

 

  1. Ears:
  •  Reach around the side of your dog’s head and touch his ear. C/T. Repeat 10 times.
  •  Once your dog is comfortable with this, practice holding the ear for 1 second. If he wiggles, stay “stuck” to the ear, but move with him. If he stays still, C/T and release. Continue to practice this way until you can hold each ear for 10 seconds.
  •  Practice manipulating the ear and pretending to clean it. Remember to go slowly enough so that your dog enjoys this practice. It should take several days of practice before your dog will remain still for the “cleaning”. If your dog is already sensitive about his ears, it may take longer.

 

  1. Mouth:
  •  Gently touch your dog’s mouth and C/T. Repeat 10 times.
  •  Touch the side of his mouth and pull up a lip to expose a tooth. C/T and release only when he is not resisting.
  •  Proceed slowly through the following steps: lifting the lip to expose more and more teeth, on both sides of the mouth and then opening the mouth.
  •  Touch a tooth with a toothbrush and then work up to brushing his teeth for 1-10 seconds.

 

  1. Tail: Many dogs are sensitive about having their tails handled.
  •  Begin by briefly touching your dog’s tail. Repeat 10 times with clicks and treats. Once he’s comfortable, proceed to being able to hold his tail for up to 10 seconds.
  •  Progress slowly through the following steps: pulling the tail up, brushing, pulling gently on it.

 

  1. Touching by children:
  •  Prepare your dog with the strange sorts of touches that children may give him (always supervise and keep everyone safe when dogs and kids are together!) Practice by C/Ting him for accepting odd touches from you such as ear tugs, tail tugs, head pats and hugs. As with all exercises proceed slowly.

 

  1. Lifting: In an emergency you may have to lift up even a large dog. Practice doing this by first putting your arms around him using clicks and treats for the briefest of touches and then proceed to being able to lift him off of the ground while he remains calm. For dogs that require professional grooming, practice picking him up and putting him on a table and practicing other handling exercises

 

  1. Brushing: Get your dog’s brush and lightly touch him with it and C/T. Repeat until he is comfortable with a normal level of brushing and remains still.

 

 

Leash Manners

 

Imagine your dog walking happily by your side, stopping when you stop, turning when you turn and continuing with you past other dogs and people. He doesn’t pull on the leash and he only goes potty and sniffs when you give permission. It is the most challenging thing you will probably teach him to do, but it is fun too! Read on to begin make this vision a reality.

 

A head collar (such as a Gentle Leader or Halti) or front-attachment harness (such as an Easy Walk) can help to discourage your dog from pulling, but he will need training to learn to walk beside you without pulling at all.

 

A front-attachment harness is a safe and easy to use no-pull device that is great for all dogs. Choose a head collar for dogs with aggressive tendencies or for those that need the maximum amount of control such as a small owner with giant-breed dog. The front-attachment harness and head collar should only be used with leashes that are a maximum of 6 feet long. If the leash is too long, it is possible that he could get going fast enough to hurt himself if he were to hit the end of the leash abruptly.

 

A simple way to help your dog learn to walk without pulling on the leash is to stop moving forward when he pulls and to reward him with treats when he walks by your side.

 

If your dog is not very interested in food treats, then you can a tug a toy or toss a ball for him whenever feeding a treat or giving a reward is mentioned. The steps below will go into more detail in order to help you to teach him how to have excellent leash manners.

 

Step 1: “Walking with my person is delicious!”

 

Start by attaching your dog to a rope, or leash that is 10-20 feet long (but not retractable), while he is wearing a standard harness. Get some pea-sized pieces of fresh meat or cheese to use to reward your dog and go to a familiar outdoor area like your backyard.

 

Decide whether you prefer your dog to walk on your left or right. Whichever side you choose (left is traditional), you will feed him his treat reward right by your thigh on that side. He will soon begin to seek out that side since that is where yummy treats come from!

 

Walk briskly and randomly around your yard. Whenever your dog happens to choose to walk beside you, reward him click and feed your treat next to your thigh on your preferred side. If he continues walking next to you, C/T every step you take together. Don’t worry, as he gets better at this you will not need to reward him as often.

 

Practice until your dog is is staying beside you more often than not as you walk.

 

Step 2: “It’s worth my while to watch where my person is going and go along too!”

 

Begin walking about your yard. Wait for a moment when your dog is walking off on his own, or is lagging behind to sniff or go potty. Say “let’s go” in an up beat voice, slap your thigh the first few times to make sure that he notices you and turn and walk away from your dog.

 

If he catches up with you before the leash gets tight C/T by feeding a few treats to him next to your preferred side and then C/T every couple of steps if he continues to stay with you as you walk.

 

If he catches up to you after the leash gets tight do not give him a reward but instead say “let’s go” again while you still have his attention and C/T after he takes a couple of steps with you. C/T for every couple of steps you take together if he chooses to continue walking by your side.

 

If he does not come towards you after you’ve said “let’s go” and the leash has gotten tight, stop walking while continuing to apply gentle leash pressure. Praise him and release the pressure once he begins to come towards you. When he gets to you, do not give him a reward but instead say “let’s go” again while you still have his attention. C/T after he takes a couple of steps with you and for every couple of steps, if he continues to stay with you as you walk.

 

Continue to practice this Step until he is staying by your side most of the time while you walk in your backyard and if he veers off away from your side, saying “let’s go”, gets him coming back to you.

 

Step 3: “I know when it’s time to smell (or to pee on) the roses”

 

Your dog needs time sniff and to go potty while on the leash, but it will help him to learn better manners if you decide when that will be. As you are practicing your leash walking with your dog, about every 5 minutes, at a time when you would usually C/T, instead say something like “go sniff” and let him sniff around or go potty while he is on the leash. This is a privilege or reward, so if he pulls on the leash during this free time say “lets go” and walk in the opposite direction, thereby ending the free time.

 

When you are ready to end the free-time, say “let’s go” and begin walking.

 

Step 4: “Sometimes I really need to pay attention to where my person is going!”

 

Continue practicing leash walking in your yard as in steps 1 through 3 but by using a shorter leash. Eventually reduce the leash length to 6 feet.

 

Practice walking extra fast or slow, stopping or changing directions. C/T him if he is able stay by your side during these challenges.

 

Begin to C/T him less frequently for walking by your side but be sure to continue to C/T him when it was challenging for him because you changed directions or there was a distraction.

 

Taking it to the Street:

 

On your neighborhood walks you will apply the same techniques as you did in your yard, but now there will be additional distractions and challenges such as friendly strangers, squirrels and other dogs. Consider using a front-attachment harness or head collar for extra control and bringing fresh meat or cheese for use as treats.

 

Say “let’s go” and walk in the opposite direction when he forgets about you or pulls, and reward him with treats when he walks beside you. Be sure to reward him with extra treats when it was extra difficult for him to pay attention to you. Don’t forget sniff breaks!

 

Red Light Green Light Exercise:

 

Outfit your dog in a standard harness attached to a 6 foot leash. Hold your dog’s leash and toss a ball or treat 20 feet away from you and your leashed dog.

 

If he pulls toward the object, say “let’s go” and turn and walk in the opposite direction. If he walks beside you while you walk towards it allow him to continue towards the object until he reaches it and can take it as his reward.

 

Use a longer leash or a less desirable object if you need to make this easier for him at first.

 

Leash Manners Troubleshooting:

 

If your dog is crossing in front of you stomp or shuffle your feet a bit to make your presence known.

 

If he is lagging behind a great deal, he may probably be frightened or not feeling well, so use lots of encouragement instead of pulling him along. If he is lagging to sniff or to potty, simply keep walking but be sure to apply only gentle pressure on the leash.

 

Don’t forget to use lots of rewards when he does walk with you.

 

Heel:

 

Teaching him to heel is useful for short periods when you need him very close to you and paying attention. It can be very helpful when walking him past distractions like other animals.

 

Begin practicing in your home. Place a treat in your fist and let him sniff it. Say “heel” and take a couple of steps leading him along with the treat in your fist near your thigh. C/T when he is following your fist with his nose.

 

Now, practice having your dog follow your empty fist. C/T for every couple of steps that he follows the fist.

 

Continue practicing “heel” and increasing your standards each session. Your closed fist will remain as a “hand signal” for heel.

 

Try this outside and in more distracting circumstances.

 

Use the chart below to track your leash manners progress:

 

Check when successful about 80% of the time without a lure:

 

Walk nicely (no pulling or lagging) beside you while…

 

Walking in your yard with a long leash

Walking in your yard with a 6’ leash

In neighborhood during quiet period, for 5 minute walk

In neighborhood at a busier time for 5 minute walk

In neighborhood, busy and 20 minute walk

In the park

In Petco

 

 

Lie Down

 

Why teach your dog to lie down? Down is useful to help keep the dog in one place and to calm him. It is a good substitute for barking.

 

Teaching the Basic Behavior, Down

 

  1. Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog. Wait for him to lie down. Click and feed him the treat while he is lying down. Toss another treat to get him up.

 

  1. “Take it on the road”: Practice this in all sorts of locations and distraction levels. Don’t forget to expect a bit less from your dog in a new or exciting situation.

 

  1. Continue to practice until your dog is lying again right away after he retrieves the second treat.
  2. Now say “down” just as he begins to do so and C/T. From now on you will only reward downs that you have cued.

 

Problem Solving:

 

  • “My dog won’t go down!”: Try teaching this in the bathroom since there’s not much else for him to do there, he will probably lay down faster.
  • “He goes down but pops right back up!” Make sure you deliver your treat in the down position as often as possible.

 

Becoming an Expert at Downing

 

  • Use the chart provided to keep track of your progress.

 

Check when your dog Downs 8 out of the 10 times you request it (without using a lure).

 

Down while…

Inside with no distractions

Outside in yard with no distractions

Inside with low level distraction

Outside with low level distraction

Inside with med level distraction

Outside with med level distraction

Inside with high level distraction

Outside with high level distraction

 

Example Distractions (see “sit” distractions above):

 

Stay

 

Why teach stay? This is an excellent self control exercise as well as having many practical uses, such as: keeping your dog from bolting out of the door, jumping on people, and just keeping him still while you wait for your vet appointment.

 

Do this exercise after teaching “Sit” and “Down”

 

Teaching the Basic Behavior, Stay:

 

  1. Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog. Cue your dog into a sit and instead of C/Ting right away, wait 2 seconds.

 

  1. Proceed in this manner until you can wait 10 seconds before C/Ting. Begin to use the cue “sit stay” (which really only means “long sit”). When you say “stay”, use a hand signal that is your flat hand about a foot from your dog’s face.

 

  1. If your dog gets up, this means you are proceeding too quickly. Say “oops” and try again with a shorter stay time goal and build up slowly again.
  2. Take one half step away from your dog and C/T for staying. Proceed until you can take 2 steps in ANY direction from your dog. Always return to your dog before C/Ting.

 

  1. Take several steps away until you can go out of sight. And work until you can have him stay for 2 minutes while you are in sight. (If you are very ambitious you can work on combining the 2 situations)

 

  1. Try all of this from “Down”.

 

Dog Training Tips:

 

  • Vary the difficulty of each stay repetition. If the game always gets more difficult your dog may decide not to play.
  • Reward your dog where he was when you asked him to stay. If you have him “come” after staying his stay will be weakened by his anticipation of the release.
  • Practice stay regularly before giving the food bowl, before he greets someone and before going out of a door.
  • Use the check list provided to keep track of your progress. If you are having trouble, don’t get frustrated, just back up a step, succeed at that, take a break and then try again later (maybe with better treats).

 

Check when successful for 30 sec. in 8 out of 10 requests. Then begin list again with 10 minute sits. Finally, work on a 30 minute stay inside without much going on.

 

Sit or down stay while… 10 sec 30 sec 2 min

Inside with nothing much going on

Outside in yard without much going on

Inside with low level distraction

Outside with low level distraction

Inside with med level distraction

Outside with med level distraction

Inside with high level distraction

Outside with high level distraction

In a store such as Petco while busy

When you have guests over

 

Example Distractions (see “sit” distractions above):

 

“Go” Where I Point

 

Why teach “Go”? This cue can be used to tell your dog to get in his crate, in the car or off of the couch – very handy!

 

Do this exercise after your dog has learned “Name Recognition”, “Down” and “Stay”

 

 

Teaching the Basic Behavior, Go:

 

  1. Find a quiet place to practice and get your clicker, treats and dog. Put a towel on the floor. Put a treat in your hand and use it to lure him to the towel as you say “go”. C/T when all four feet are on the towel. Practice this about 10 times.

 

  1. Begin the exercise in the same way as above, hold your hand out as if you have a treat in it, but it will be empty (we will fool him a bit!). Repeat 10 times

 

  1. Continue practicing using the empty-hand. Gradually turn this into an index-finger pointing hand-signal.

 

  1. Practice cueing go and pointing to the towel without walking all of the way to it with him.

 

  1. Practice on other surfaces such as: up and off of the couch, in and out of the car, in and out of his crate.

 

 

Bonus – Settle (Teach your dog to go to a mat and lie on it until released):

 

  1. Put a mat on the floor.

 

  1. Cue “Go” and C/T when he has all 4 feet on the mat. While he is still on the mat, cue “Down Stay”. Go to him and C/T.

 

  1. Cue “Settle” and then repeat #2.

 

  1. Cue “Settle” and wait for him to go to the mat and lie down before C/Ting (do not use any other cues)

 

  1. Increase the difficulty of this by: varying distance, distraction and duration.

 

 by Professional Dog Trainer, Jess Rollins

source: Pet Expertise


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