Welcome to Puppy Training Week Four – The Dog Training Lady
I hope all is going well. How did things go with training the “Stand” and, “Leave It” Command?
Now that we are on Puppy Training Week Four, and only two more sessions after this, I would just like to review the commands we have up to this point.
We have completed; “The Puppy Name Game”, and “Come” command, in Week One.
Week Two, we completed the commands for “Sit” and, “Stay”. Last week, we reviewed “Stand” and, the all-important “Leave It”. I would really like to hear from anyone that had any issue with “Leave It”. Maybe someone came up will some new uses for it, or stories where it came in handy. I always love to hear story from students.
So let’s keep moving forward to this weeks training.
This week I would like to go over the “Down” command and, start with a “Focus” command.
Focus – “Watch Me” Command
Watch Me Command
Training your puppy to focus on you is important, and you will need this focus on you especially when we begin loose leash walking next week (spoiler alert).
I have previously discussed “Watch Me” in a post some time ago.
This training can be done any time you have a few extra moments.
Be sure to have your yummy treats handy.
Hold the pea size treat between your thumb and forefinger, and bring the treat towards your nose, as you do this say “Watch Me”. What you are looking for is eye contact. That’s all we want with this, once eye contact is made, treat, and praise.
You can do this during a commercial. Just be sure you’re as focused as you are asking your pet to be. You can do this practice while you are sitting on the floor, sitting in a chair or even standing. Call your puppy over, and request them to sit in front of you. Hold the treat; bring it towards your nose, say watch me, once you get eye contact treat and praise. This is a pretty easy one, but it is important that you can get your puppy to learn to focus on you when requested.
This can come in handy when you need to distract him or her on a walk, and someone or something else is coming down the road. This command can be used to get him to focus on you and not on the other object. It will take time to get there, but the more often you practice this the better.
Keep the sessions short; a puppy can quickly get bored. It will be helpful to mix it up with other things they have learned. You are practicing the sit command with this, and then asking for a focus (“watch me”). You can also do this with the next command we will work on, which is “Down”.
Puppy Down Command
Dogs and puppies express themselves with body language. These consist of yawns, diverting their eyes, and also licking the nose- as well as the, “down” position. Lying down communicates to other pets that he or she is not a threat to them. So keep this in mind when your puppy is in the down position, they understand this communication as that of “not being a threat”, so it is possible for your puppy to be uncomfortable with this at first. As usual have patient when training this command.
A good tip to remember when he or she is in the down position is to stroke their back as part of the reward. This will help with your puppy’s comfort level, and help him understand that everything is okay and he or she can relax.
A pet in a “down” position is a relaxing signal, and this is a good way to get the to calm down when they are a little too excited. Resting helps your puppy to relax himself. This command also serves to teach your puppy a little self-control.
Training the Down Command
Request your puppy to sit, and hold a treat between your thumb and forefinger. Keep your three other fingers straight out and your hand should be facing down towards the floor. Once your puppy has learned the command using treats, you should only need the hand signal, and that is your flat hand facing down.
Place the treat at your puppy’s nose and, slowly lower the treat down towards the floor and slightly away from his body. The action you will be making with the treat is an “L” shape. Create the “L” with the treat, first down, and then out, just as if you were writing in the air the letter “L”.
This should cause your pup to go down, and his paws should move forward to get into a lying position. The moment his elbows hit the ground say the word down, treat and praise, remember to stroke his back to help him feel comfortable.
If you are finding that your puppy is not cooperating, try a different surface. If you are on a floor try moving to a carpeted area, or have a mat that you can use to practice this command.
Keep the session short, and always end on a positive note. You will be able to tell when your puppy is getting bored. You need to be aware of your puppy’s “BORED” sign, this way you can always end training with success.
By ending all your training sessions on a successful note, will make your puppy feel good, and that he or she is doing the right thing. After all, our puppies just want to please us, you will see that when you pet and praise them, their tails are wagging, and they are as happy as your are when training is successful.
As I mention last week, if you have others in the house that are also training the puppy, they should be working on last weeks training – “stand” and “leave-it” for reinforcement.
Training is not difficult, keep it to short sessions, and when you have had a particularly good session, take some time to have a play session with your puppy. This will also start to teach them that play is a treat for good behavior. We are using food treats right now to get them to learn the commands. Eventually the treats will not be used all the time. As you continue with training and your puppy becomes a “teenager” most trainers will only have you giving them treat for the perfect commands behavior.
Have patients, keep up the good work, and you will have a happy and obedient puppy before you know it.
Until Next Time
Suzanne Dean, ABCDT
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