"This damn door!!" That's what you probably would have heard me say over and over again last year when I tried for a WEEK to hang a new door myself. I spent hours trying to get the job done with no luck. I watched with a mixture of amazement and disbelief as my friend, a Carpenter, installed the door in 20 minuets. "How did you do that so fast?" I asked. "It was simple," he said. "I know exactly what to do."
Adding a dog to your life can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It can also be one of the most frustrating. Attempting to train your dog with books and videos alone can be challenging at best. The snap and release used to teach Heel becomes a pull. The Down becomes an embarrassing public wrestling match. That Damn Dog !! Sound familiar? Don't worry.... You're in the majority.
Over the next few months I'm going to teach you how to have more fun with your dog and train more effectively. I invite you to ask questions. I'll post the most popular questions and attempt to answer the rest. But let's start somewhere today.
Make a Wish List. It's the commands you want to teach your dog. I suggest you start at the beginning. Come, Sit, Stay, Heel, Down, Off, and Leave it. Continue with a list of other commands you'd like to accomplish. Obedience first. The rest will come later. To answer the most commonly asked question, No, your dog is not too old to be trained.
Training your dog is actually a simple process. Please don't confuse simple with easy. There is a huge difference. Pick a command you can teach. Put the leash on the dog. Give the command and make the dog perform the task at the same time. Only say the command once and make the dog do it. Never give the dog a command when you cannot enforce it. Consistency is the key. Simple right? Great! Let's give it a try.
Today we're going to train Jake, a 2 year old yellow lab, to sit on command. Pick the side you want the dog on. Jake will be on the left. We'll put Jake in Sit and give the Command at the same time. Do this by pulling straight up on the leash with your right hand and putting pressure on the dog's rump above the tail with your left. Switch hands for the right side. Please do not hang the dog while pulling up. Then praise the dog in a calm but loving fashion. The first time you praise Jake, he will probably stand back up. Put Jake back in a Sit immediately, wait a minute and praise him calmly again. For the next few weeks, never, I repeat, never give Jake a command that you can not enforce. Ex: Do not tell Jake to sit when he's on the other side of the room.
Start training with your dog today. 15 minutes a few times a week will do wonders for the dog's behavior and your sanity. Enjoy a nice long walk, train together, and remember to have fun. I look forward to answering your questions and helping you accomplish your wish list.