Basic Obedience: Lesson Two
In this lesson we will aim to get your dog to ‘come’ and ‘drop’. A lesson should take a maximum of 45 minutes.
‘Come’ is the most inviting command. You are never to call your dog to reprimand it, tie it up or do anything negative because dogs associate different commands with different actions. If you reprimand your dog after it comes to you, it will always think that this is an option and may not want to come back to be reprimanded. If you call your dog and reprimand it, use different words, but not the word ‘come’. ‘Here puppy’, ‘let’s go’, anything but the word ‘come’.
By now, your dog is heeling, sitting and staying. So the next stage is to return to your regular training area.
How to get your dog to come to you?
On the sidewalk where you train your dog, take it approximately 40 metres away and command your dog to “sit” and “stay”. Then walk backwards, facing the dog, about 3 to 4 metres until reaching the desired distance. Wait approximately 1 to 5 minutes and then bend down with open arms, calling it enthusiastically by saying “come, good boy, good boy, come”. When your dog reaches you, stand up and reward it by patting it, using a high pitched voice say “good boy, well done, aren’t you clever, good boy”. Repeat the process five times, every time increasing the distance from the dog, and maintaining this for a longer period of time.
After it has completed your five repetitions, break from this and practice the other command. If your dog runs off, instead of coming to you, do not chase it but wait for it to return.
If not, go and retrieve your dog, but do not reprimand it but put it in isolation for at least 12 hours. In some interesting cases, if a dog is defiant, I will not feed it either for the time that it is in isolation.
The next day take the dog out and start with heel and sit. Do that for one length of the course and then introduce the stay command.
Important tip: Achieve a successful stay for a minimum of three minutes and after that introduce the ‘come’ command.
If you make it fun for it to come to you, then your dog will respond accordingly and be responsive to the ‘come’ command. Make a big fuss over it and then quit the training for that day again.
I cannot emphasise more how important the command ‘come’ is and how important it is that your dog obeys this command all the time.
In advanced basic obedience we go into this a bit further, but remember enthusiasm and praise is what the dog needs.
By this stage your dog is heeling, sitting, staying and coming – maybe not all 100% of the time, but that’s fine.
Now is the time for introducing the word ‘drop’ to your dog. Dogs feel the most vulnerable in the ‘drop’ position as they cannot protect themselves or run away quickly if necessary. So we have to make them feel very comfortable in that position.
The way we do this is by using food as a reward for drop. This is very soothing for dogs and is as a massive reward. I prefer to use cheese for this exercise. However, as I mentioned earlier, any snack will do just as long as it is in small pieces to chew.
At the end of the training area, command your dog to sit and stay. If your dog is on your left hand side, using your right hand, with a piece of cheese placed firmly inside your palm, put it in front of your dog’s muzzle.
Slowly bring your hand down to the ground as the dog drops with you. Reward your dog with your voice when the dog’s chest hits the pavement, open your hand and let the dog eat the cheese.
Repeat this process four times, then break and start again and repeat another four times. Now is the time to take a break from this practice and focus on ‘come’.
Remember: For the best results, break up the training session into different segments to keep your dog interested in the training.
Now you can do heel, sit, drop and stay.
Importantly, most of what amounts to 45 minutes of training will be sufficient to achieve the basic obedience level within three lessons and within a one week period. The more you practice with the dog, the better your partnership will be. I recommend 20 to 40 minutes practice a day during quality time with a dog.
Important tip: Finish every training session with a play time. This tip means your dog has something to look forward to at the end of each session.
Be wary of comparing dogs of different breeds
Don’t compare with other dogs, especially of differing breeds. It’s more fun for some dogs and some simply learn more quickly than others. If you are interested in finding out how intelligent your dog is, there is a good book regarding the ‘thinking dog’ in the Reader’s Digest Book of Dogs. You should know what to expect from training your pet and you should know what your dog was bred to do. That way you can harness its natural abilities and make your lives easier.
For example, if your dog is ranked among the top 10 dog breeds, you can expect your dog to listen to your voice 97% of the time and follow commands 94% of the time. However, if your dog is ranked 60 on the list, you can only expect him to obey commands under 60% of the time. So in fact, this helps you to understand what to expect from your dog – understanding its skills and limitations is of invaluable help.
Road sense/boundary awareness
Road Sense means that your dog understands that it is not allowed to go on the road, except when you say “cross”. You want the dog to think that every time it goes on the road without the command, it will be burned. Your dog will quickly learn!
To start, take your dog and show it the barrier and place your leg in front of the dog, i.e. between the dog and the road (the kerb).
Check the dog three times and on each occasion say the word, “NO” with a harsh sounding voice.
Next, turn it around to face the footpath side of the kerb, but praise your dog in an exaggerated manner. Proceed by walking your dog alongside the kerb for a small distance, about 2 metres down the footpath.
Turn facing your dog, then by walking backwards on the kerb if your dog shows some resistance, then immediately reward it.
If it continues walking toward the kerb check it by pulling on the lead downward saying the word “NO” strongly.
Do not encourage your dog in any way other than pulling using only a minor amount of force. You should be able to feel a considerable amount of resistance from the dog, indicating it’s unwillingness to step from the kerb.
Remember: Keep practising this until the dog is resisting 100% of the time.
It takes around two weeks for dogs to break a habit, so if you can keep your dog off the road and keep practising this exercise, it will learn quickly.
The road will become neutral, only for the time it takes to cross. Give the dog a couple of minutes to relax, and then repeat.
How to get the dog to cross the road:
Walk the dog in the heel position then have it sit by the kerb with your hand closest to it pointing (using your index finger) and by giving the dog a command cross, just walk on to road. Cross as fast as you can. On successfully reaching the other side reward your dog. Repeat until you are confident that your dog is both resisting the kerb and crossing it.
Road Safety Awareness Tests
Continue these tests until you are confident that your dog will obey at the road side and on the roadway, should the occasion arise.
If you need to cross with your dog for any reason, please cross from a driveway to another driveway because right now the dog is associating this with a step down off the kerb, so make it as fast as you can without letting the dog know he is on the road.
The benefit of this type of training is:
- Baiting (poisoning)- it prevents your dog from being baited.
- Voice control – it gives you improved verbal control over your dog.
Take your dog, to the backyard (or any other convenient location).
Get a piece of cheese or anything else that it will eat consistently.
At this point, you will need to think of a word, any word, which can be used as a command, to allow the dog to eat. This should be a word that nobody else could think of accidentally, in order to try and bait your dog. It can be any language and does not even have to be a proper word, or, even have to be associated with food at all.
Begin by associating this word, with the dog eating some of the cheese.
Hold the cheese in your open hand in front of the dog and say, the “WORD”. Allow the dog to take the cheese. Repeat 2 or 3 times in order for the dog to associate the word with the act of eating the cheese.
On completion, start offering it the cheese without saying the “WORD”. If it tries to eat the cheese, reprimand with the word, “NO”, ensuring that the cheese is easily accessible, and that the dog does not take it. Use the check chain if required.
The food must be presented as openly as possible as if someone throws some food over the fence, it will be readily accessible by the dog, and so this is the way the dog must be trained.
When the dog demonstrates that it will not take the cheese, take the temptation away from it. Place it behind your back, and then re-present it, with an open hand, using the “WORD”.
Allow your dog to eat it. Continue this exercise several times.
When your dog has displayed an aptitude for the exercise, start mixing up different words, making the dog listen for the exact command as food refusal is a powerful tool.
All members of the family should practice this exercise with the dog as it teaches your dog that your voice is what feeds it. Then it will be more inclined to listen to this voice command.
That concludes our basic obedience course. The more you practice with your dog the more obedient it will become.
Remember, the more consistent you are with your commands and with your rewards, the quicker your dog will catch on and will start enjoying these lessons/training sessions.
As every dog is different, experience shows that a bit of patience goes a long way in the training of dogs.
If you find yourself frustrated in the lesson, it’s important to stop training and try again later. Never push yourself to the point that you get mad at the dog so that it picks up on it. In that case, the dog wins!
Do not be afraid to exert your authority over your dog with your voice. Another thing to remember is that if you did not teach your dog a key word then you cannot expect it to follow through with the command to maintain a good level of basic obedience.
I recommend that dog-owners invest in a minimum of two lessons a week, of about 45 minute’s duration, each practicing all the commands.
This concludes the second lesson.
I hope you find this information useful. These training techniques are used by all the trainers in the Academy. Its worth is proven – over 6,000 dogs have been successfully trained using this method.
Finally, before you start training your dog, you should determine its breed if you don’t know already. It’s easy these days to find out more about its characteristics and traits simply by using the internet. It will give you better insight about your dog and help you both through the training process. This simple, but important, step will make it easier for you to understand your dog.
In our next book we will go into advanced basic obedience, focussing on more off- lead work and outside long-distance control, boundary awareness control and lots more.
Remember, it’s better to have voice control than lead control by using your voice as a means or tool to train your dog.
The better you communicate with your dog the better your life and the life of your dog will be. Your dog will test you continuously, but if you reward and reprimand as outlined in this book, then your dog will know what to expect and will obey consistently.
Then you will never look back!
The Intelligence of Dogs
In this appendix you will find our methodology and a list of the dogs rated on intelligence along with a hyperlink to that breed. Follow the link to the webpage which will teach you more about the breed that you own.
The information below is just a guideline of what to expect from the dog house training. For instance, if your dog is ranked in the top 10 you can expect it to obey you a minimum of 95% of the time, but if he doesn’t obey you at least 95% of the time, then you know the dog is choosing to ignore you.
But if you train a dog that is ranked 70 on the list you can only expect to listen to the first command on average of 25% of the time.
I use this as a guideline to train dogs. For instance it covers how many repetitions are necessary before a dog understands the command and how long it would take me to train that dog.
By using my method and following it accurately, you can expect to achieve the same result with all the breeds in the same span of time as we are using. We use natural environments or simulate natural environments to achieve successful outcomes.
The author used “understanding of new commands” and “obey first command” as his standards of intelligence. He surveyed dog trainers and compiled this list of dog intelligence. While this method of ordering dog intelligence is acceptable for training and working with dogs, it does not apply to the genetic intelligence which can be measured by ingenuity and understanding of common situations The drawback of this rating scale, by the author’s own admission, is that it is heavily weighted towards obedience (e.g. working or guard dogs) rather than understanding or creativity (e.g. hunting dogs), so some breeds may appear lower on the list due to their stubborn or independent nature, but this nature does not make them unintelligent or impossible to train. The book includes other sections on hunting and other intelligence types, as well a general IQ for dogs that owners can perform on their dogs; that test is better weighted for ingenuity and independent problem solving, but rankings were provided only for working intelligence, and are listed below.
- Understanding of New Commands: Fewer than 5 repetitions.
- Obey First Command: 95% of the time or better.
- Border Collie
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Labrador Retriever
- Australian Cattle Dog
Excellent Working Dogs
- Understanding of New Commands: 5 to 15 repetitions.
- Obey First Command: 85% of the time or better.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Miniature Schnauzer
- English Springer Spaniel
- Belgian Shepherd Tervuren
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Flat-Coated Retriever
English Cocker Spaniel
- Cocker Spaniel
- Belgian Malinois
Bernese Mountain Dog
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Above Average Working Dogs
- Understanding of New Commands: 15 to 25 repetitions.
- Obey First Command: 70% of the time or better
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Puli, Yorkshire Terrier
- Giant Schnauzer
- Airedale Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
- Border Terrier, Briard
- Welsh Springer Spaniel
- Manchester Terrier
- Field Spaniel, Newfoundland
American Staffordshire Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
- Norwegian Elkhound
Silky Terrier, Miniature Pinscher
Pharaoh Hound, Clumber Spaniel
- Norwich Terrier
Average Working/Obedience Intelligence
- Understanding of New Commands: 25 to 40 repetitions.
- Obey First Command: 50% of the time or better.
- Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Fox Terrier (Smooth)
- Curly Coated Retriever
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
German Wirehaired Pointer
Black and Tan Coonhound
American Water Spaniel
- Siberian Husky
English Toy Spaniel
- Tibetan Spaniel
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
- West Highland White Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Alaskan Malamute, Whippet
Chinese Shar Pei, Wire Fox Terrier
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Ibizan Hound
- Boston Terrier
Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence
- Obey First Command: 30% of the time or better.
- Skye Terrier
- Norfolk Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Brussels Griffon
- Italian Greyhound
- Chinese Crested
- Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Tibetan Terrier, Japanese Chin
- Old English Sheepdog
- Great Pyrenees
- Scottish Terrier, Saint Bernard
- Bull Terrier
- Lhasa Apso
The purpose of my book is to provide you with proven techniques that, if followed correctly, will set the foundation for a healthy, productive and fun relationship with your dog.
I am delighted to share my experience and expertise with you by revealing good techniques to enable you to get the best out of your dog, whether it’s a family dog or a working dog. I established the Canine Training Academy of New South Wales, Australia in 1996, (based in Sydney). My Academy has trained over 6,000 dogs in basic obedience, personal protection and scent detection.
I hope you and your dog enjoy it!
Copyright © 2010 ctatu.com All rights reserved.