You can train your dog by using just two short words:
The puppy has now learned to HEEL and to SIT. Furthermore he is interested in retrieving. We will continue with these lessons until the youngster is eight or nine months of age when real work begins.
- HEEL -
With the puppy leashed and on the left side, walk at the regular pace, from time to time repeating the word HEEL slowly.
Accompany the command by a little slap on your left leg and
occasionally by stooping down as you pet and say to him, "That's fine, that's good," etc. Pay no attention if he pulls but walk straight ahead. He'll have to follow if you do not stop.
Should his resistance prove too strong, or if he attempts to break away, or run in front of you or too far to the left, it may be advisable to
practice the lesson near a wall. He will then be between you and the wall, and will be compelled to follow at your left side. If he grows excited, quiet him down with a
soft-spoken, HEEL! After a little while he will find it best to obey.
Much subsequent correction can be prevented if this lesson is executed correctly in the beginning, and surprising progress can be noted if it is
practiced daily for about ten minutes whenever the dog is taken out.
Avoid such varied commands as "Here," "Come along," etc. The single word HEEL is the command the little pupil must always hear; it means to come, to follow at the left side whenever it is desired. With that word he must be made familiar from the start.
If the dog is able, and many puppies are, especially those of the larger breeds, to begin right with the entire heeling lesson as described in the next chapter, no harm will be done, nevertheless he ought not to be worked over too great a distance.
Overwork has a tendency to make the pupil lethargic, perhaps even shy, whereas a sensible amount of directed effort will imbue him with a real love of obedience and of work with no possible fear of it. When the puppy has learned to HEEL correctly, he can go on to the next exercise, SIT.
- SIT -
After having been brought to your left side in standing position, the puppy hears the command SIT! Now holding the leash in the right hand as close to the collar as possible, lift up on it. At the same time place the left hand on the lower portion of the dog's back and press him down into a sitting position.
In other words, the right hand lifts the forepart of the dog up for
the purpose of support, while the other hand pushes the hind parts to the floor or ground, thus bringing him to the proper sitting position. Surprised at this sudden movement on your part, the majority of dogs attempt to break away. At this point it is of the utmost importance that the owner or trainer should not change his position.
Repeat the command several times and before long the dog will grasp it and obey. Of course, we cannot expect the puppy to work as well as the grown dog: we should be satisfied, for the moment, to have him sit even though he does it slowly.
Practice this lesson daily for about ten minutes in connection with
HEELING. Use it during the day at any opportunity which presents itself, when feeding, for example, when going out for a walk, etc. Later when real training begins we shall see its advantages.
Absolutely essential is a friendly attitude toward the puppy at all times. Talk to him, play with him, and as you play - and this is important - have handy a stick or a ball which he should be
encouraged to retrieve. Throw the ball out and in a friendly manner urge him to pick it up and bring it back to you.
Every puppy enjoys running after a ball, after anything in fact that rolls along the ground. Don't expect him to retrieve correctly in the truest sense of the word; but if we start retrieving as play we can accomplish a great deal toward rendering the more advanced retrieving lesson easier for the puppy to grasp when the time comes.
So often have I found that the good retriever is more readily trained that sometimes I build my entire training schedule on this foundation.
About the Author:
Jane Simpson is a freelance writer and regularly writes on matters related to pets. She writes frequently for
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