DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Secret to Teaching Your Puppy Basic Obedience Commands

The following is a dog training discussion written several years ago. I updated it with an example I use every day to reinforce basic commands:
Recently I wrote an answer to a question on yahoo answers about common obedience commands. Interestingly, dumb questions can raise issues that impact all dog lovers. 
The yahoo questioner wrote: "But we went to puppy training class so he remembers SOME commands." My response: "Why doesn't he respond to ALL the commands taught in the training class?" 
Point Of A Puppy Training Class
The point of a training class is to familiarize you (the trainer) and your dog (the trainee) with the most common obedience commands. After the class is over, the dog will NOT retain the commands automatically. That's up to you! 
Puppy Learning (Your dog) and Puppy Training (You)  
Let's take a look at this issue from the standpoint of the way a dog learns. Do you show a puppy how to sit 10 times and then expected him to know the verbal command and the hand signal? And then you stopped his lessons? 
Puppy learning (your dog) and puppy training (you) are ongoing processes. For example, I was gone for a week on vacation. When I returned, Alvin (6 months at the time) wasn't responding to common obedience commands. No one had bothered to reinforce: "Sit," "Down," "Stay," and "Come" while I was gone. He hadn't forgotten them; he just wasn't used to doing them. 
The Puppy Training Secret 
Okay, it's not really a secret, but I got your attention. It's common sense. I had to jog Alvin's memory - every day. I remembered the professional dog trainer mantra from the "It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD" - incorporate the commands into daily living and make the dog work for his rewards. 
How exactly are you supposed to incorporate basic commands into daily living?Here’s an example: Before they get their dinner meal, the Boyz (Alvin and his brother Simon) must sit and stay before I release them with an “OK.” I’ll admit that sometimes Alvin refuses to sit, but both dogs don’t eat until he decides to comply. It only takes a few seconds. 
How Do You Learn How to Teach Your Pup the Basic Commands? 
Easy - you can search the internet for how to teach the basic commands. And you can find demos on youtube. For the most part, teaching the basic commands is easy. But getting the dog to retain the information requires a training process. 
The entire training process is the subject of videos and dvds developed by professional dog trainers who understand how to train dogs AND how to train you to train your dog. It’s a rare dog trainer who can do both. I discovered the best dog training dvd by trial and error. Here’s what I found.

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