We’ve all seen it. Dogs working with professionals. The dog is sitting right next to his human eagerly waiting for the next move. How do they do that? And what can they do with that kind of connection?
The Puppy Places‘ 5-Minute Puppy Training Series focuses on teaching you, the busy human, how to quickly and effectively train your puppy to be the best friend you’ve always wanted!
In this Episode
In this episode, we’re continuing to working with professional Paws with a Cause trainer Connie Bowne. Paws with a Cause is a service dog training organization that focuses on the needs of the wheelchair assistance community as well as hearing dogs and children with autism. This is an absolutely fantastic organization and I highly encourage you to get involved with them if you’ve got some room in your heart and in your home. Check out the website for more information.
What we’re working on today
Now obviously, you may or may not be working on training your own service dog, but the fundamentals of how to get fantastic results like Paws with a Cause does, is useful for everyone to learn.
Today we’re going to learn the most basic of obedience commands, Sit. Sit is used constantly throughout your dog’s life. It’s a natural resting, but not fully relaxed state for your dog, and all we’re doing is teaching him to go into that state when we ask him to. This will allow you to put you dog into a Sit when you are having a conversation with a neighbor, or when you need to keep him in one spot while you make dinner. Anytime you want your dog to stay in one spot, but be ready to go do something else soon; Sit, is the command you want to use.
Step 1 – Sit with a Young Puppy
So let’s check out the first video. Here we’re working with Ava, a young 9 week old yellow Labrador puppy. This is a perfect age to start this training; you get your connection started right away. But again, you can use this same method with an older dog who you’re trying to connect with.
Piece of cake right? This simple foundation will reward you and your dog over and over again for years to come. Remember, puppies of this age have a VERY short attention span. So get a few quick successes then end the training session and have some fun! Do this a 3-4 times a day and your puppy will be staring at you like you’re the most interesting person in the world in no time!
Step 2 – Sit with a 7 month Old
This time we’re finishing our training with a little bit older dog. Here we’re working with Monty, a 7 month old Yellow Lab. Monty is a few months older than 9 week old Ava from the first video. He’s got a good start into his training to be a Paws with a Cause service dog.
As you see in the video, Monty will hold a much longer Sit than little Ava. That’s what you’re shooting for at this age or at this stage in his training if you’re dealing with an older dog. Keep working the techniques you learned in the first video; and when you’ve got a solid Sit, start increasing the 3 D’s (Duration, Distance and Distraction).
The 3 D’s of Dog Training:
- Duration – ask for longer and longer time in the behavior. In this case, work on getting your dog to hold the eye contact for longer and longer. Get him to hold for 10 seconds, reward. Get him to hold for 12 seconds, reward, etc.
- Distance – next increase your distance from your dog. Move a couple steps away. Does he maintain eye contact? Great! Step back to him and reward. If he breaks eye contact, step back and start over. Gradually increase the distance. Be careful about also increasing duration at the same time. Make sure that when going to your Distance goal you don’t go past his Duration ability.
- Distraction – The Big Kahuna. Want your dog to maintain eye contact, and thus engaged with you on your daily walk? Well, what you’re really asking him to do is to maintain eye contact with you despite the sights, the smells and the sounds of that great big distracting world out there! So, when you’re within your Duration and Distance boundaries (remember, these both increase as you get better and better), introduce a low value Distraction (don’t go straight for the cat or tennis ball), maybe drop a quarter on the floor. You’re dog will most likely glance at the quarter as it bounces, but then look back at you. Mark it with a Yes! and reward him! That’s what you’re going for! He of course is going to look at it, but then he comes back to you. If he goes for the quarter, or keeps staring at it, give him an Uh-Uh, pick up the quarter and start again.
As you get solid with your Sit, and really any of the training you’ll be doing with your dog, you’ll use the 3 D’s to help solidify that training.
So, now your dog is Sitting like a champ, At your home, and on your daily walks. What now? Well make sure you sign up on our website, subscribe to our Youtube Channel, Follow Us on Pinterest, and Like us on Facebook. Because we’ll be bringing you more training tips in the days to come!
Tools Used in this Session
- Basic Nylon Leash
- Training Lead (not used, but highly recommended for Distance training)
- Martingale Collar
- High Value Training Treats