Before you can start dog training, you need to accustom your pup to a collar and leash. Most pups will strain against the leash and it takes patience to get your pup to walk with you without biting the leash and trying to get out of the collar. Place the collar on your pup and leave it on, before you try the leash. If you do things in small steps, it does not frighten the pup and it is more responsive when you show patience and give a reward when it is doing the right thing.
Once your pup is walking happily on the leash, this is the time to make it realize that it needs to walk beside you. Any dog allowed to pull you along, becomes the leader. As in all training, the dog has to be the follower.
Teaching your pup to sit is quite simple. Say the word ‘sit’ and push firmly on its hindquarters, forcing the pup to sit. Then reward your pup with a treat, praise and affection. When you go to feed your pup, put it on the leash and give the command to sit and when it does, give the food. This is a good way to reinforce this lesson and for the pup to learn to wait until you give the command to eat.
The next lesson teaches your pup to stay. Again with your pup on a leash and in the sit or down position, drop the leash and move away from your pup saying ‘stay’ and you can hold your hand palm outward at the same time. Reward with a treat when your pup stays.
Each new lesson leads to another and the pup becomes used to the tone of your voice when giving commands and looks forward to your praise and affection. Make sure you use the same words, so that you do not confuse your pup. It is not the word, but the manner in which you say them that your pup responds to.
Once the most important lessons have been learn’t and your pup is responding off leash and without a treat being given, you can start teaching your pup to heel. Take the leash in your right hand, but keeping your pup at your left side and have the leash draped across your body. The leash should be slack and no tension on the collar. Give the command to ‘heel’ and move forward slowly, correcting with your right hand when necessary and patting your pup with your left hand, when your pup stays at your side.
This exercise takes a little time to be mastered and as soon as your pup is walking at your side, make sure you have no tension on its lead. The pup will learn that on a slack lead and walking at your side, earns it the praise and affection of its master. The tension on the lead is only for a fraction of time, to teach the pup that it has moved forward.
Once your pup has learn’t all of these lessons off the leash and can do them all for you at any time on your command, then make sure your family can give the same instruction with the same results. Should you want your pup to go on to advanced training, the basic skills of command have been learn’t and the bond between you and your pup have been forged, so that the harder lessons actually become easier.
One of the last lessons to teach your pup at home is to fetch. Fetching is a fun game for all the family and gives the pup valuable exercise. Do not overdo it and exhaust your pup, or it will not want to play. If it has a favorite toy, you can use this to start the game, or use a squeaky ball. Patience is needed to start, but once learn’t your pup can learn to fetch your slippers, the paper or anything else, without destroying them.
Only teach one lesson at a time, so that you do not confuse your pup. Once every lesson is learn’t, try the same thing without the leash and then without the reward. Your praise and affection should be the only thing your pup wants.