In this article I am going to share with you basic commands to teach your dog. Make sure to be patient with the learning process and repeat the commands as often as necessary.
1. Choose a "release command". This is a special word that tells the dog when he can stop doing something. This command will take the place of a "stay" command. When a command is given, the "stay" is implied- the dog must stay in position until he is "released."
The standard release commands are "free" or "release", but you can choose any word you like, other than "OK", "letís go", or "come". It must be a word that isnít commonly heard in normal conversation. Some examples include: taco, chaos, zombies, cuckoo, libre, skidoosh, at ease, etc. (People living in multiple dog households will need a different release command for each individual dog).
2. Teach your dog to "sit" at your side. Make sure you ask your dog to sit ONLY ONCE (the command is "sit", not "sit, sit, sit") and then give him a moment to comply- patience is important when you are teaching a new behavior, so even if your dog knows.
To get beside your dog, hold some yummy, yummy treat in front of his nose, and then gently touch or tap his rear, where the tail meets the rump. The dog should automatically drop into a sit- mark the instant his rear hits the ground with "YES!", then deliver the reward. Be sure that you are saying "yes" when the rear hits the ground, and NOT when you feed the treat! The behavior being marked is the "sit," not the taking of the treat.
3. Shake. Put your dog into a sit position in front of you. Raise their paw up and say "shake" and give them a small treat. Let them put their paw back on the ground before you pick it up again. Do this 20 times in a row, 4 sessions a day. Soon they will start offering you some sort of shake. Praise anything towards the behavior you want. We can tighten the shake up as we go. Praise Praise Praise!!!!!
4. High-five. By now, your dog should have a pretty good grasp of the "shake" command, so you can begin to turn it into a "high-five" command. Your hand held horizontally, palm up, should trigger the dog swipe at it with their paw for "shake". You will gradually begin to shift your hand out to the side, eventually getting it up to a vertical, high-five position. Once your dog is swiping at your vertical hand, you can start to add the "high-five" command.
5. Wait. "Wait" is a command that simply means, "stop moving forward and await further instruction". Dogs understand boundaries, so you will practice this command at any clear thresholds (doorways, stairs, etc), as well as getting in and out of the car.
As you approach a threshold, you will stop moving forward, while simultaneously tugging backwards on the leash and saying "wait". If the dog keeps trying to go forward, you will keep tugging him gently back on the leash behind the threshold. Remember to loosen the leash as soon as he gets back behind that threshold, even if you have to keep tugging him back multiple times- it needs to be his decision to stay behind the threshold, and if the leash is tight, that means you are holding him. As soon as he relaxes for just one second, release him as usual and proceed across the threshold.
Now you are ready to start to teach these commands to your dog, then tell us how was the experience. For more information and tips about dog training, please visit our website www.atlantadogtrainer.com