Training Your Dog for Good Behavior

Can a stranger walk up to your dog and look at its teeth? All dogs at Westminster can, while most pet dogs cannot.

By | Posted: Tue Apr 10 00:00:00 PDT 2001

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In your new training program, you need to decide on some simple dog show behaviors. The most important are "Stand for examination," "Let me touch you all over" and "Show me your teeth." To prepare for the training, get some small treats that won't bother your dog's diet. If your dog has any special dietary problems, consult with your veterinarian about a good treat or use your dog's regular food.

Stand for exam: Start your training session by asking your dog to sit. Now say the word "Stand" in a normal tone. You will notice this has absolutely no meaning for your dog - yet. Next, place a treat about a foot in front of the dog's front paws. Guess what? Your dog stood up to get the treat. Yeah! Now repeat the process, and this time, as you put the treat on the ground, say "Good" (or click your clicker) just before your dog grabs the treat. Do this about 10 times. Soon your dog will start to anticipate that when you move your arm downward, there will be a treat on the floor. Guess what? You just taught your dog a hand signal for "Stand."

Now try it without a treat. Ask the dog to sit, then touch the ground about a foot in front of the dog's paws. This time, wait until the dog is fully standing, say "Good" (or click the clicker) and get a treat from the bowl. Once you have taught basic behavior, it's time to add bells and whistles. Teaching a dog to stand doesn't help unless you also teach the dog to remain standing.

Start with the dog sitting. Say "Stand'' and touch the ground. As the dog stands, pull your hand back slowly into your lap. If the dog remains standing, say "Good" (or click the clicker) and then offer a treat. Over several repetitions, wait a little longer each time before you say "Good." If the dog doesn't remain standing or investigates your hand, say "Uh-uh" in a normal tone and ignore the dog for a few seconds. Try it again.

After several training sessions, you should be able to get your dog to stand by saying "Stand" or by touching your finger to the ground. It is reasonable to expect the dog to hold the position for about 15 to 30 seconds. By withholding the "Good," you extend the behavior's duration.

Now that we have "Stand," it is fairly simple to add other behaviors. Have a friend play the part of a stranger. Ask the dog to stand, and have the friend bend over and touch the dog gently on the shoulder or back. If the dog pulls away or squirms, say "Uh-uh" and try it again. If the dog allows the touch, say "Good" and give a treat. Gradually expand on the length of time the dog is required to stand and the amount of touching the friend can administer.

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janet   bethlehem, PA

3/23/2011 4:48:06 AM

very important information, thank you

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janet   bethlehem, PA

4/29/2010 4:05:59 AM

good article thank you

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