January = National Train Your Dog Month!

One of the biggest reasons animals are surrendered to shelters are for behavioral issues.  Most of these behaviors can be solved by basic training.  Basic training for your pet is important for both of you and can help you bond.  It all frustrates us when our pets do naughty things; let us help them not. Let’s face it, we all get bored.  Dogs need direction as well as something to do.  Training helps make their minds work and exercise both their physical and mental needs.  Let’s help them by training them to be the best they can be.  The first basic command is to teach them how to sit.  When you are training your pet make sure you use strong key words and that everyone in the family is consistent.  If there is inconsistency, your dog will get confused.  If you are teaching your pet to sit, use the word sit.  Don’t complicate things by sometimes saying sit and sometimes saying down.  Especially since down is an entirely different command.  Basic commands are sit, down, stay, place, come, drop it and leave it.  Once you nail these, you will have a more manageable pet and a super behaved one that will make all the neighbors jealous.

Let’s start with sit.

If your dog is food motivated, you’ll find training is easier and your pet will stay more focused.

Step 1

Show your dog a small, bite-sized treat, holding it just a little in front of his eyes, slightly over his head.

Step 2

Say ‘sit’ as you bring your hand above your dog’s eyes, about two inches above his head. When your dog looks up at the treat, he should naturally sit. Putting your hand in the right place is important. If your hand is too high, your dog will jump up; if it’s too low, he won’t sit.

Step 3

When your dog sits, give him the treat and tell him what a good dog he is.  Praise him without petting him. If you pet him at the same time as you praise him, he’ll probably get up, when you really want him to sit.  If your dog doesn’t respond on his own, say “Sit” again and physically place him into a sit position.  Keep your hands still and count to five before giving him the treat.

Step 4

Practice making your dog sit five times in a row for five days.  Some dogs catch on to this idea so quickly that they sit in front of their owner whenever they want a treat.

Step 5

Practice sitting without the treat.  Keep the treat in one hand while using your other hand to signal the pet to sit, when you pet sits verbally praise him and then give him the treat.

It is important to not move onto another command until the first one is mastered.  This can confuse your pup and make him do a routine of commands at the same time rather than understand what each command means.

Basic training can be fun and an awesome interaction with your dog.  It can also save your pet’s life.  Imagine if your dog has mastered “come”.  If he happens to run off chasing something and you command him to “come”, and he comes right back to you leaving the distraction behind.  Remember consistency and praise are the keys to training.

Please visit our Facebook page or our hospital for more training tips and information.  We are here to help you with all your training needs and answer any questions you have.  Happy Training!!

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