Have your dog sit.
Step 2: Teach your dog to ‘touch”. When the dog is sitting, hold a treat over the ear opposite the leg you want to lift. ie. While facing the dog hold a treat over his right ear to pick up his left paw. That takes the weight of the leg you want and makes it easier for the dog to offer you his paw. If he does not readily pick up his paw, tickle the hair behind the “knee” until he does. Don’t grab at his leg…many dogs don’t like having their feet touched, so be sure he picks the paw up on his own and then just let it rest on your hand with your palm up and your fingers pointing towards the floor. When the dog consistently touchs your palm add any command you want like, “say hello”, or “touch”, or “gimmie five”.
When the dog is consistently putting his paw in your hand on command, leave your palm flat and open and start to raise your hand a little so he has to reach up to touch your palm. Then turn your hand so your fingers are upward as in ‘High five”. When he consistenly reaches to touch your palm add any command you want to use.
Hold your hand high enough for the dog to have to stretch, but not so high that he’ll jump or break the sit. Gradually add distance between your hand and his paw until you’re just standing in front and he picks up his paw and waves. Add the verbal command wave or what ever word you want to use.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO “SIT”
â€œSitâ€ means â€œput your tail on the floor until youâ€™re released or given something else to do.â€
Use a food lure directly in front of your dogâ€™s nose and slowly move upwards over his head. If he sits, say good and give him the food.
Donâ€™t add the command until the behavior is consistent (until the dog sits every time you hold up the food)â€¦he doesnâ€™t know what the word means anyway.
When the behavior is consistent, add the word AS THE DOG IS PERFORMING THE BEHAVIOR so he can link the two in his mind. This helps keep you from having to repeat commands. Then add the command before the behavior. Donâ€™t forget the positive word marker every time! See: “The Stuff You Gotta Know”
When you add the command before the behavior you can also add the release words â€œlets goâ€ to indicate that the dog can get up. See “Release Words” Keep sits very short at first so the dog learns to listen for the release and then gradually add time. If he gets up DO NOT REPEAT THE COMMAND. Use the negative word marker, lure with food or reposition and then say â€œgoodâ€.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO “DOWN”
Down means â€œlay in placeâ€ until I release you or give you something else to do. The â€œplaceâ€ can be the floor, or a specific blanket, or a dog bed or in a spot at your feet.
Down is used to keep the dog quiet and under control in a relaxed position while you do other things.
To teach your dog the down command, start with the dog in the â€œsitâ€ position. Use a food lure directly in front of the dogâ€™s nose, no further than Â½ inch away, and slowly move the treat down between the dogâ€™s front paws. Do not move your hand forward away from the dog. Remember to go straight down SLOWLY between his front paws. You wonâ€™t need to add the command â€œdownâ€ until the dog is consistently and quickly following the treat into the down position every time. You can let the dog lick and nibble at the treat every time his head follows it down a little at first until he figures out that he has to keep his tail down and then put his head down at the same time. As soon as his chest is on the surface, say good and give him the treat.
If he gets up at the point, its o.k. Donâ€™t scold or correct him, just start the exercise again.
If he does not get up, release him (see release words) and give him another reward.
When the dog downs consistently and quickly, go ahead and add the word just as his chest hits the surface so he can associate the word with the action. Palm the treat in your hand for just a second, give the release word, and reward. Do not say â€œstayâ€. Stay is used to indicate that youâ€™re going to add distance or duration and is confusing to the dog and unnecessary.
If he gets up before you release him, simply return him to position until he learns he has to wait for the release word before he can get up.
Don’t “Cage” your Puppy
Not long ago, I saw a comic strip of a smug looking dog telling a crestfallen looking cat that the reason people don’t keep cats on leashes is because they want cats to run away. It’s a favorite cartoon of mine except that in the edited version in my mind, the dog (complete with its superior expression) is in a crate. Curiously, while most people would never allow an unsupervised, un-diapered infant to crawl around outside of a play pen, many pet parents still just can’t spin the concept of crating – which is the canine equivalent – to the point where it works for them. Therefore, I encourage them to explore Den-training.
Simply put, den training is based on the theory that dogs are “den” or “denning” animals. All that means is that dogs are actually instinctively programmed to like small, dark, cave-like places or dens that they can use as safe havens. Den training means that the dog learns to accept being confined in a den whenever the doggie parent says so. By the way, denning doesn’t have to mean using a crate. A barrier, or baby gate in the doorway of a bathroom or other small room also works well. Now, if the denning instinct is never actually called upon when a dog is young, it may disappear and trying to teach some dogs that using a den is a good idea can be a challenge. Most dogs however, when properly trained actually love their dens and return to them frequently and willingly on their own.
So, lets get to why we should den train. A key concept in understanding and influencing dogs is that dogs are “in the moment” creatures. Basically, if we want to teach a dog that we do or don’t want him to do something, the easiest way is to catch him in the act of whatever it is. Then we can reward him if we want the behavior, or correct, or redirect him if we don’t want the behavior. As a general rule, dogs (and a great many other living creatures for that matter) tend to increase rewarded behaviors, and decrease unrewarded or corrected ones. So, in order to get Fido trained, we have to react to each and every thing he does until he learns what’s okay and what’s not. Remember, we can should also act to prevent him from doing things we don’t want.
That means that the dog should be either confined or supervised constantly until he learns the rules. By teaching the dog to den on cue, we actually control almost all of the dogs behaviors so that we can reward the ones we want and prevent the ones we don’t want. For example, a denned dog can’t chew up the leg to your coffee table while you’re out. He can’t chew it up because he can’t get to it of course, but if he attempts to chew it up while you’re watching him you can correct him or redirect the chewing to an appropriate object.
Another advantage to den training is that it often helps with potty training. Dogs are programmed not to soil their dens and confining them and letting them out on a schedule can help prevent accidents.
Also useful for getting a dog on the right track is the idea of setting them up to be successful. We want our canine buddy to get stuff right as often as possible and using a den really helps with that. If you head out for a bit and when you get home your house is in shambles, your reaction to Fido may not be very warm and loving. However, if you head out for an hour and leave your dog in his den, when you get home, he’ll be happy to see you, and rather than spending time cleaning up a mess and greeting him with anger, you’ll be able to let your dog out immediately and spend quality, positive bonding time with him. Denning also keeps Fido from injuring himself by preventing him from eating things that may be harmful, or from becoming trapped behind wall units or entangled in electrical wiring etc.
So change the way you look at the concept of confining your dog! You may find it’s just the ticket for ensuring a safe, happy, well adjusted buddy!
Coming soon…the steps to den training.
Dogs repeat behaviors based upon the consequences of the behavior.
If a dog does something and the consequences are pleasant the dog will consider the behavior rewarded and repeat it. DOGS USUALLY REPEAT REWARDED BEHAVIORS.
Rewards can be food treats or life rewards. Life rewards are things that occur on a day-to-day basis that your dog is willing to work for, like dinner, attention, praise, walks, games, car rides etc.
If a dog does something and the consequences are not pleasant the dog will most likely not repeat the behavior. DOGS USUALLY DROP BEHAVIORS THAT ARE NOT REWARDED.
The fastest way to train a dog is to consistently reward the behaviors you want and to consistently correct (or not reward) the behaviors you don’t want.
Remember, dogs also develop “self-rewarded” behaviors which have pleasant consequences or rewards that don’t necessarily come from you. Relieving his bladder on the carpet makes the dog feel better and is therefore rewarding for him and may be repeated if you’re not vigilant. Chewing up your remote control may be lots of fun for your dog and therefore could be perceived as rewarding for him and repeated – especially if you’re not around to be either more rewarding or to make chewing the remote unpleasant.
Corrections (or aversives) can be time outs, squirts from a water bottle, loud unpleasant sounds, ignoring the dog or leash corrections among other things.
Dogs Aren’t Born Knowing What We Want.
If the dog does something you want, let him know he got it right by saying good and rewarding him. The word “good” is called a “positive word marker”.
If he does something you don’t want say “uh-uh” or “no” and re-direct the behavior or correct the behavior and then say good when he’s right. The sound “uh-uh” or the word “no” are called “negative word markers”.
When you give your dog a command like “sit”, “down”, or “stay” be sure he remains in the position until you give him his “release word”. The release word tells the dog it’s all right to stop doing what you’ve asked for. Avoid common words for release words like “o.k” that the may mistake for a release.
Reasons Dogs Don’t Do What We Want Them To Do.
He Didn’t Hear
Dogs have excellent hearing. Generally, if a dog doesn’t do what we want it’s not because he didn’t hear us. However, be sure to speak clearly when communicating with the dog.
He Wasn’t Paying Attention
Be sure the dog is focused on you before you ask for something. Get his attention by saying his name first.
He Physically Can’T Do What We Want
If the dog is on the patio and the door is closed he cannot come when called.
Yorkshire Terriers cannot pull drowning victims to shore. They’re physically too small.
He Doesn’t Understand What We Want
Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Teach the dog what you want by showing him, and then repeating the steps until he can remember them. Use one word commands. “Sit down” is a very confusing command for a dog.
He Just Doesn’t Want to do What We Want
THIS IS THE BIGGIE!!!!
Teach the dog that it is in his best interests to do what we want by using rewards and corrections consistently.