Published at Thursday, 23 May 2019. Dog Training. By Sennet Baron.
And, against the odds, a car is heading down the street on a collision course with Buster's path. The jerk on Sarah's hand jostles her back from mind-wandering to the scene unfolding. Fortunately she collects her thoughts quick enough to yell, ”BUSTER…HEEL! BUSTER COME!” ”Good Lord”, Sarah thinks out loud, ”whodda thought the hours Buster and I spent on obedience lessons would end up saving his life?” But that's just what happened. Sarah's voice control over her dog was the only impetus Buster needed to drop any thought of catching that squirrel, and simply do what he's done so many times before – obey his owner's simple commands. And that's just one of many possible scenarios where a simple obedience command could save your dog's life. He could slip out of his collar or bolt out an unattended open door. Enough said. Point made I hope.
DOWN command can be taught just after SIT is mastered. It is important to use only the word DOWN. Your dog does not understand variations such as Lay Down. You must be consistent in training your dog that DOWN only refers to laying down. If you want to teach your dog to get down off of your chair, train OFF as your command. To teach your dog to lay down, first command him to SIT. Using a treat, draw your dog into a laying down position by dragging the treat between his legs and moving it forward. When the desired position is reached, praise, and treat. As you train your dog each new command, be sure to combine each command so patterns do not develop and the action of each different command is rewarded when achieved. (SIT DOWN STAY), (SIT STAY COME), (SIT STAY DOWN)
Sincere appreciation is key. All too often, we get so caught up and focused on teaching our dogs that, just when we need to relax and enjoy the moment of success, we end up giving praise that is hollow, rehearsed, and frankly, not very praise-like at all. Keep in mind that the words are not important; it's your demeanor that counts. Praise doesn't need to have a certain tonal quality or pitch nearly as much as it needs to convey that you are sincerely pleased and happy at that moment. In other words, your dog should feel truly appreciated for a job well done – regardless of whether the success was a long sought-after quantum leap, or one of the many baby steps to success along the way.
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