Obedience training is probably the best thing you can do with and for your dog. Training eliminates confusion, making life simple when your dog knows whats right and wrong. So many dogs are eager for rewards and praise that once he/she knows what's expected of him that you'll soon have a relaxed, happy and confident companion whom you trust. So long as you are consistent with your commands and being the leader.
The sad part is that so many dogs are untrained in good manners that many of them end up in shelters or euthanized because they cannot be trusted either at home alone or with people, sometimes even family members especially children and the elderly.
We all know a multitude of dog commands, come, sit, stay, bark, etc. Come is probably the hardest to train but is well worth the effort if your dog gets out of your yard or likes to go for a run/hunt without you. Sit is handy but in my opinion, not all that useful unless you use it in combination with stay like sit-stay. Off on the other hand is what you use to get your dog from jumping up on you. Your dog should never jump up on anybody. Bark or speak is to teach your dog when it is okay to bark and when it is not. The quiet command doesn't usually work so well when you already have a dog with a barking habit. Bark is complicated and not what I'm here to discuss today. Down is for lay down on the ground and is very good in combination with stay like down-stay. Heel so your dog will walk by your side or behind you with you in the lead. My veterinarian has also added settle to the essentials of puppy training. Settle is very useful when you have a very active puppy and you want them to settle down. I heard this phrase far too often as a child.
There are two that could save your dog's life; leave it and watch me.
Leave it is a very, very good idea if you accidentally drop your medication(s) on the the floor and your dog is one who'll eat every crumb and morsel he or she can find. It's also good for preventing dogs from eating human food especially foods that are toxic to dogs like chocolate, onions, raisins and grapes while you are in the room.
Watch me or watch is to keep your dogs attention in the park if there is a distraction like a cat or a squirrel across a busy street nearby, to keep your dog from running into traffic.
Have I got my dog trained on all these commands? I wish. She came with sit already trained but she has come up with her own loop-hole. She likes to put her paws up and beg for play while in sit. Stay no matter how hard I've tried only works for about 3-5 seconds. I think it has something to do with her part beagle mentality. I know one golden retriever who does stay very well, her owner can put her in stay for several minutes. I also tend you use down for off; it's an old habit from when I was a kid. I don't believe they had dog 4H when I was a kid either. Neither 4H clubs I was in did dogs. Therefore, I can only point you in the right direction.
There are a couple of different methods for teaching Leave It. Here is the procedure I think hold the most promise. Okay, I'm lazy. Here's the link http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/leave-it.html
Watch or Watch Me- http://www.dogguide.net/watch-me-command.php
Keep in mind that training takes time and repetition. Master one command before starting on the next one. Have everybody in the family involved and keep the commands consistent. Don't substitute come for heel or visa-versa; always use the same word/command. Keep training sessions short and fun. Some dogs are more food motivated while others are play motivated. With puppies over 3-4 months of age, it may take some heavy play time to get it so they aren't so distracted and more willing to listen. 4 to 8 months is that teenager stage where, like most teenagers (even human teenagers), they are unwilling to listen and are likely to challenge your authority and your patience.
For those of you who'd like a class with an instructor, contact Pet Pros @ 345-8635. Their next course comes in April.
My wonderful brother read my blog and suggested everybody should read this as well... http://dogblog.dogster.com/2010/01/18/black-lab-comes-home-with-deadly-snake-wra...