Obedience Training Lessons (Page 2)

Sit-Stay

Sit-StayThe next exercise, “sit-stay”, is crucial and must be thoroughly absorbed so the dog can be trusted to sit and stay in exact position and location even when the owner isn’t watching.  With the dog in the automatic-sit position, the trainer raises his right hand so that the tension encourages the animal to remain sitting.  The left hand, palm spread, is placed a few inches from the dog’s face in conjunction with the order “stay”.

As before, corrections are immediate and temptations such as stepping away or jumping up and down are increased until the dog is reliable and stays sitting for at least three minutes.  Perfection is mandatory before continuing subsequent lessons.

Down

DownSince the “down” is the dog’s most subordinate position, and often the most difficult to teach, the trainer must prove his superiority by getting the dog down on the first attempt.  It cannot be pulled down because it could brace itself and resist, thus becoming the victor of the exercise.  From the sit position, one command “down” is given while the dog is placed as comfortably as possible. On the fifth day, the trainer faces the dog, commands “down” without placing it and corrects misbehaviour with sharp jerks on the lead.

Once down is learned thoroughly, the “down-stay” is easily taught because stay is already understood.  As with other lessons, immediate corrections reinforce the learning until the dog holds at least five minutes.

Come

ComeWell executed down-stays are as big a step toward complete control of a dog as is the next lesson, the “recall”, which teaches a dog to come on one command. The trainer faces the sitting dog, gives a command to “come” and reels in the leash, hand over hand, until the animal is directly in front of him.  He commands the dog to “sit”.

Once the dog comes reliably the trainer teaches it the “finish” part of the exercise, in which the animal travels counterclockwise around him and sits in he heel position at his left side. The dog sits directly in front of the trainer and is told to heel while the trainer walks backwards, passing the leash behind his back and into the correct heel grip. His actions guide the dog around behind him to a sitting position his left.  A perfect finish constitutes no movement from the trainer. Once perfectly obedient on-leash, the dog is ready to make the transition to off-leash work.

The first step is the sixteen-inch throw chain, made of steel links joined at the ends.  A ring through the middle increases compactness.  Thrown at the dog when it bolts from an on-leash heel, it surprises the animal, sending it back to the trainer for protection. Next, a long light line is attached to its collar in place of the leash.  the dog is allowed off heel, then commanded to come.  The throw chain corrects any misbehaviour as long as the dog doesn’t spot the trainer throwing it or picking it up. The throw chain must never miss or the dog will realize it can avoid correction. A slingshot is often used in place of the throw chain if the dog is large or stubborn

Reinforcement

Once proper obedience training is completed it must be used often and consistently or it will be lost. Practicing ten minutes per day during the week keeps dogs mentally fit to perform well in the worst of circumstances.

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