BIG SKY DOG TRAINING

Develop an optimal relationship with your dog


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Teaching A Puppy or Dog To Stay

Often, teaching a dog to stay in one spot is critical to his safety and might be used in combination with other commands. They are undoubtedly several ways to accomplish a stay. This is just one of the methods that has been successful for many of the dogs and puppies I have worked with.

Pre-work –

Your puppy should have started attention and focus on you.

Your puppy should know how to sit. – However if the dog stands during the stay command, it is okay.

Let’s start with 2 people. One person will hold the dog on a leash with the puppy at their side, this person is called “the Tree.” They do not talk, move or interact with the puppy. The second person is called “the Trainer.” This person is going to walk up to the puppy and ask them to sit (facing the puppy). They can use a treat or toy and hold it at their chin to keep the puppy focused on them. The other hand will be straight out with the palm facing the dog, in a stop sign fashion. The trainer will ask the puppy to stay. They can use the puppy’s name just this one time, i.e., “Spot, stay.”

The “Tree” person is still standing facing the trainer and has taken the slack out of the leash, but not holding the leash too tight, just enough so there is no loose leash. Again, they say and do nothing but hold the puppy in one place.

The trainer then walks backward away from the puppy for a few steps, and repeats the word “stay” to the puppy without using the puppy’s name. The use of the word “Stay” is teaching the dog the English word and the hand signal is teaching the dog a non-verbal signal. After the trainer walks back a couple of steps, they then walk directly back to the puppy. If the puppy stands up when you walk back, just re-ask the puppy to sit. Mark the good behavior with a verbal “Yes” then reward the puppy with the treat, if used.

Note: Do not say the puppy’s name while you are asking the puppy to perform a stay. By using the name during a stationary exercise the puppy might think you are going to ask another command or exercise.

As you work on this exercise, continue to lengthen the distance you move away from the puppy, however always remember, you must go back to the puppy. DO NOT call a puppy or dog from a STAY. Stay means, stay they until I come back and get you. If you want to work on recall, use the word “Wait” instead of “Stay” and do not do the exercised during the same training session. By doing them at the same time, the puppy will get confused!

When you are ready to move to a one person Stay, put your thumb through the handle of the 6 foot leash and hold your hand in a stop sign position. Take the treat or reward in the other hand and hold at your chin. Ask you puppy to sit and then Stay. Take one step back and one step forward, mark the behavior, then treat/reward. Then repeat the exercise moving further and further back. Eventually you can use a long line and move the exercise outside, which holds more distractions.

Remember, if the puppy is failing, back up a step or two and/or lower the distractions.

5 Types of Rewards; treats, touch, loose leash, play, voice.

 

Call or e-mail if you have any questions, good luck

Montana C. Hayes

847-997-4707

montana@bigskydogtraining.com

 

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Dogs and owners need a bit of training every day

Spending 10 minutes a day or 10 minutes every other day on training helps your dog’s mind stay stimulated. He/she can keep up on their skills and even learn something new. Try something your dog knows how to do and make it more complicated. You can build on a training exercise by adding distractions, like moving the training exercise outside, or to a new venue. Add length of time or distance. Think about taking another class, even though your dog might be doing well; just like people enjoy going to a class, meeting new people and learning something new, you dog will like meeting new dogs and puppies and learning new things.


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Basic Training Guidelines

  • Rewards are given for everything “good or right” that your dog does. Even if your dog makes an effort in the correct direction, reward him.
  • Get your dog’s attention. Call his or her name prior to giving any training command.
  • When giving commands correctly, you should be clear and use a short command once.
  • Releasing your dog from a command is just as important as giving the command. An example might be to say “OK”.
  • When training your dog, initially use hallways, doorways and quiet rooms with minimal distractions.
  • Always hold your leash with both hands during training, dog on your left. Do not wrap your leash around your hand or wrist.
  • Any training exercise should be initially established by an adult to reduce confusion on the dog’s part, and then have your children try.
  • Dogs, like any other animal, can be trained in any language. While you are in the United States start with English, just in case your dog runs away, you have a dog sitter, or you might have to give him away. This will make your dog more universally trained. Dogs can be bi-lingual. If you want to use another language, use it for special commands, not routine commands.


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Reward Alternative Behaviors

If you’re attempting to eliminate an undesirable behavior, remember to reward your dog for engaging in some other behavior that is appropriate. For example, if you’re attempting to eliminate jumping up on your guests, reward your dog for sitting, which is both incompatible with jumping and is a more desirable greeting. Other examples are chewing on a Nylabone rather than the table leg (or you) or being quiet rather than barking. This concept is extremely important for all dogs, but especially puppies under five months of age when their lifetime personalities and habits are being formed.


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Quickly Correct Problem Behavior

A cardinal rule in correcting problem behavior is: Don’t correct after the fact! In almost all cases, your dog will not associate a correction with behavior that was engaged in five minutes or five hours ago. The so-called “guilty look” is really a response to your tone of voice, your body language, and your dogs’ recognition of similarities between the current situation a previous correction (poop on carpet + owner entering room + owner raising eyebrows + owner approaching dog = punishment). “Repeat performances” are typically a result of not addressing more basic issues such as properly managing the dogs living environment, providing adequate exercise, teaching and rewarding correct behaviors and consistently correcting inappropriate behaviors at the instant they occur.

A special note for puppies: Don’t allow the puppy to do something now, at his or her present size, that you may not want him/her to do when fully grown.


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When & How to Reward Your Dog

When rewarding your dog, it is important for you to provide a combination of rewards. Remember you have five rewards to offer: touch, voice, play, treats, and loose leash.

  • Toys and treats are a great way to lure your dog for the “puppy come” game.
  • If you use treats as a reward, you don’t have to give them each time.
  • You can always use your dogs’ food as treat rewards.
  • If you use treats as a reward, remember to cut down on the quantity of food you feed.
  • Using multiple rewards provides your dog with a clear understanding that he “got it right.”
  • Remember to train for short periods of time (5-10 minutes), multiple times per day.


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Practice Socialization Weekly

Socialization is important for a happy, well-behaved dog. I suggest making a habit out of the following tips:

  • Take your dog to 1-3 new places each week and meet 2-5 new people.
  • Remember to use dogs greeting manners. Invite one friend over who will help you teach greeting manners.
  • Be sure to give visiting guests treats to give your dog when he exhibits appropriate/good behavior. Tell them about the multiple rewards you can offer the dog.
  • Be sure to keep up on your dogs social skills with you meet new people.
  • Keep up K-9 social skills (meeting other dogs). Remember always ask permission of the other dogs’ owner prior to introducing the dogs. Remember to greet with a loose leash.
  • If you have or are planning to have children, or grandchildren, now is the time to socialize with small children.
  • Reminder: rewards are given this week for everything “good” or “right” that your dog does. Bad behavior should be ignored if it is not dangerous.