I love it when I hear or learn something from another part of my life and can apply it to dog training.
At the gym, a trainer recently stated, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”
A quote by fellow trainer Jim Watkins holds true as well. He said that dogs can be challenging at times, but with persistence, they can be taught to do anything. Dogs are used throughout the world to find things with their incredible sniffers. They also entertain, serve, support, and love. They are creatures of habit and will give you a 100% when asked.
Dogs can find bed bugs, explosives, cancer, and drugs. They can open doors, ring bells, and assist the disabled. They can jump through rings, count, balance balls, sit up, and play dead. They can also calm the stressed, reduce our blood pressure, and give unconditional love. If dogs can be trained do to all of these amazing things, your fur baby can be taught to have manners, come when called, and go for a walk without pulling on their leash.
I have heard all of the excuses for why a dog is not trained. He’s stubborn, he has selective hearing, he prefers to play. He’s distracted or has ADHD. He’s an alpha, always does that, won’t listen, is dominant, scared, nervous and was abused. People say, “I try but he just doesn’t listen to me.” As Yoda would say, “Do. Or Do Not. There is no try.”
Teach your dog to wait. This is an easy command to start with. Does your dog shove his way out of the crate when you open it, or is he the first one out of the door when going for walks? Teach him to wait. While he is in the crate, unlock it but keep the door closed and say “Wait.” Open it one inch, and then shut it with a “Wait.” Yes, he will run his face into the cage, but he will learn.
I don’t want to hear anyone complain that this is harsh, how do you think your dog is shoving the door open to begin with? By running his head into it. This takes less than one minute, and the dog learns to wait. Your goal should be for the dog to wait with the door wide open. Treat him for doing it right, then tell him “Free,” which is his release command.
When going through doors, tell your dog to “Sit.” Reach for the door, but if he gets up, repeat the command “Sit.” Use treats if your dog is food motivated. If he refuses to sit, push his butt down. Open the door a few inches, and if your dog gets up say “Sit” again. Your goal is for you to be able to open the door, do a little dance, walk through the door and then back again while your dog maintains a “Sit.”
It might take some persistence, but it is a routine learned very quickly by the dog. Do this all the time and, before you know it, your dog will be sitting at every door you go through. The vet tech will be impressed the next time you visit.
Want to impress the staff at the Veterinarian Office even more? Teach your dog Place.
The Place command means “get on it and sit.” You can teach Place on a cot, bed, or anything raised off of the floor a few inches. Don’t start with a rug; dogs have a difficult time learning Place on something that’s flush to the floor. They don’t see very well, so a thick dog bed or a dog cot are the best to start.
Put a leash on your dog. Then, with the leash in one hand and a treat in the other tell your dog “Place,” and then lure him/her onto the target and say “Sit.” Do this over and over until the dog starts placing on his own.
Once the dog knows “Place,” next is duration. Teach the dog to stay on Place until released. Keep the leash on your dog. If they get off the target, just say “nope, place” and use the leash to steer the dog back on Place. Give the dog a treat while on Place with a variable reward schedule.
Once your dog is doing well, start Placing on different things. Use your imagination – park bench, tree stump, chair, rock, scales at the vet. Get it? The more you tell your dog to Place on, the better he will understand the command.
The key to training is patience and persistence. Do, or Do Not. There is no Try.
Please contact Adams K-9 for more information about training, or for our upcoming schedule of classes and events. Love your dog, love your dog’s behavior.