You will need training treats to reward your dog for successfully performing a command. You may use some of your dog’s kibble as a treat when training in an environment with few distractions. For training in more distracting circumstances you will want to use a higher value treat such as rollover, unseasoned meat or other soft morsels.
A treat bag that will allow you to train without holding treats in your hand is an indispensable training tool. It should either attach to a belt or clip to your waistband or pants pocket. A six foot leash will also be needed as well as a martingale or slip-proof collar. In the beginning, train your dog on-leash to prevent him from wandering away from you during your training session. This will also improve his ability to listen to you while he is on leash.
Train your dog to sit
Hold a treat between your thumb and forefinger with your palm facing upward. Hold the treat near your dog’s nose and lift your hand in an upward motion. This should cause the dog’s nose to go up and his rear to go down. When his bottom touches the floor and he is sitting, immediately say “yes!” and give him the treat. Once he has performed the sit command a few times with a treat in your hand, try giving the hand signal with no treat in your hand. If he is successful, say “yes!” and give him a treat from your treat bag. When he will sit reliably when given the hand signal cue, you may then add the verbal command “Sit”.
Train your dog to lay down
Hold the treat in the same way you did for training sit, only this time your palm should face downward. Hold the treat near your dog’s nose and lure him to the floor. Hold the treat near the floor and wait fro him to follow it into the down position. Avoid repetitious hand motions, be patient. Once his elbows are on the ground, say “yes!” and release the treat to him. After a few repetitions try the hand signal without the treat. If he understands the hand signal, you may then add the verbal cue “Down”.
Train your dog to come
Call your dog’s name in a cheerful happy tone while he is on leash. When he turns to look at you, say “yes!” give him a treat. Take a step back and repeat this action. Once he is able to come to you from six feet away, add the word “Come” after you call his name. When your dog is responding to the command reliably on-leash, you may attempt to train him off-leash in a secure, low distraction environment.
Hope this info helps
Till next week
Dr Ruan Bester
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