**I took Basic Obedience from ABC Obedience
in Houston, Texas and then went on to an Advanced Course given by Phillip
I worked for Michael Kemp and Bobbie Peebles (may he rest in peace) when I lived in Texas. Both were top conformation handlers at the time. This was my humble beginning of many years of working with dogs. I have trained, handled and finished many of my own dogs and dogs for others. I have also trained dogs for Canine Search and Rescue.**
When teaching anything ,it is best not to start until a puppy is 4-6 months old. (excluding crate training/house breaking and manners) When working a puppy under 6months old, never work more than 10-15min per session. A puppy's attention span is very short and after 15 minutes they get bored and want to play or rest instead of working. You run the risk of you and the puppy getting aggrivated with each other if things aren't going right. It will only set you back in the process. Remember to be consistent, make it fun and always end each session on a good note.
Lets start with commands. In any training
program the commands are the key. Choose commands that do not confuse. These
are the main commands I use.
"Heal" or "Lets Go" Heal in Obedience. Lets Go in Conformation
"Off" or "No Jump" if the dog is jumping. You don't want to use "Down" in this case since "Down" is the command to lay down.
"No Bite" when a puppy is bite playing.
"That's Enough" or "Alright" when a dog is barking way to much.
"Leave It" when a dog is going near something they ought not to or are about to eat something nasty.
"Drop It" when you weren't fast enough to tell them to leave it.
"Watch Me" to keep the dogs attention on me and not off looking for creatures.
Crate training is the easiest and fastest
way to house break a puppy or dog. It is not "mean" to keep a dog in a crate
when you are unable to monitor it's actions. In fact, it is, actually, safer.
Most dogs accept the crate as their own room. If you leave the crate door
open during the time the dog is not in it, they may still get in it for comfort
and security. The key to crate training is letting the dog out as soon as
you wake or get home. Do not let the dog sit in the kennel while you stir
about. Before leaving or going to bed, always let the dog outside to do his/her
business. When you see them go, make a big deal out of it. Tell them how
good they are for potting outside. Then bring them in and put them directly
in the crate. Do not get angry with them if they have an accident in the
crate. A puppy is physically unable to hold totally until they are about
6 months old. A good gage is an hour per month of age. (3 mon/3 hours) They
will learn to hold it until you wake or get home. Another house breaking
method if you have a small breed, is using a human play pen. Get some pee-pee
pads (*American Geri Service 1-800-373-4374 has good used, washable
ones 10pads for $15.00). Place the pad on the bottom and then a pillow or
blanket for them to lay on off to one side. This way, they can potty on the
matt, but still have something to lay on when soiled. Once the puppy gets
older, move them to a room that you can use a baby-gate on. Put the matt
off to one corner so, if they have to go, they have a place. Once you notice
the puppy going on the matt, for a few days, you can open the gate and let
them have run of the house. My dogs know to go to the pad if they can't wait
for me to let them out. Remember, an unneutered male may still hike in your
home, so it is best to have them neutered when they 4-6 months old, depending
on your vet.
When lead breaking, it isn't important which side your dog is walking on. Always start off with your dog on your left side, but don't worry if she crosses in front or back, as long as he/she is walking. I don't lead break with treats. I use lots of praise and patting. When teaching your dog to walk on lead, don't face your dog. With a short pull, release on the lead, say your dog's name and then heal. "Toby heal." Don't drag your dog, he/she will only resist more. When your dog takes a couple steps on his/her own, praise like crazy, talking and reassuring the whole time. This will help build his/her confidence and trust in you. For a stubborn puppy, lead break in the grass so he/she won't skin his/her pads. Even without dragging, the short pull release, on a dog that is fighting it, can cause pad burns if done on concrete. Remember not to face or make eye contact when walking. You can glance at him/her at any time, but try not to let him/her see you are doing it. Eye to eye contact can be intimidating or challenging. Stop every once in awhile and just let him/her look around. Some dogswill walk around, others will just stand there. While you're standing there, you can love on him/her and show him/her he/she is ok and that you are not trying to kill him/her. I squat down and see if he/she will jump on my legs. Any voluntary movement on his/her part, with the lead on, is positive. Once your dog is walking on lead for a week or more, then you start teaching the correct position on your left side. When teaching any commands that require movement of some sort on your dog's part, always say your dog's name first, before the command. When telling your dog to stay, requiring no movement, do not use his/her name.
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