Obedience Training Lessons

First Lessons

When to begin formal obedience training, however, depends upon the dog’s temperament, personality and behaviour. Upbringing, such as being tied outside all day with no supervision or control, plays a major role in the dog’s interaction with people. If the dog is six or eight months old and jumpy, and he's pulling on the leash like crazy, don’t wait until he’s a year old. Get him straightened out.

The duration of training depends on three main factors:  the trainer’s skill and persistence, the dog’s nature, and the attitude and actions of family members. 

Trainers attach a fifteen-foot longe to the dog’s choke collar, preferably constructed of large, rectangular rings. Gripping the longe and ignoring the dog’s howling, pulling or lunging, the trainer walks non-stop to all boundaries of the training area, pausing at each.

The dog, for its own comfortt, learns attentiveness to the trainer’s actions. After three days, temptations such as other dogs and open gates are introduced into the area.  When the dog bolts, the trainer turns sharply and runs in the opposite direction, dragging the dog away from the “traps”.  The exercises are discontinued only when the dog views each temptation as a cue to watch the trainer’s actions. This lays the foundation for dependability and control during distractions and prepares the dog for lesson one, “heel”.


The proper “heel” position places the dog on the trainer’s left side with its head parallel to the trainer’s body.  The leash is held loosely in the right hand. With a single command, “heel”, the trainer walks, correcting the dog for pulling, lagging and other infractions.  He never repeats the command. Multiple commands condition the dog to ignore the first few and not to take them seriously.  Sharp, downward tugs with both hands on leash force the dog back to proper position.  Quick left turns, pitching the trainer into the uncooperative dog, do wonders to catch its attention. Soon the animal learns it is advantageous to watch its trainer’s every move, especially during temptations when corrections are particularly forceful.


When the dog heels perfectly, he is ready to “sit”. The trainer brings the dog to heel, stops and commands “sit” only once.  He pulls up on the leash with his right hand and exerts downward pressure on the dog’s loin with his left, forcing it into position. When on the fifth or sixth day the dog sits without being placed, it is ready for the “automatic-sit” lesson.  This follows logically because, by now, the dog should automatically sit, without the command, after stopping at heel.  Corrections for failure to sit without being told are justified.

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