Puppy/Beginner – Andrew Ansenberger
* First read the Basics sheet on positive motivation. Keep things happy and upbeat for both you and your dog. Emphasis is on a positive experience for both of you to develop as a team. Keep sessions short. Get passed multiple commands as soon as possible. Never tease. Get into rewarding and out of luring phases a soon as you can. Short training sessions, often. If you or your dog is having a bad day, skip training.
* Along with
food motivators, use toys and lots of praise.
* At home. No Distractions. No lead. Quiet and calm environment to introduce new training exercises. Train no more than one minute’s sessions, 1 to 5 sessions a day. Stay away from external stimulations whenever an exercise is being introduced and in the beginning stage. I sit on floor with the dog – less intimidation and better eye contact.
* Establish formal feeding routine. Helps in food motivational training.
* Introduce hand food rewarding with the “READY” command. Say “READY” every time a treat is given by you and taken gently by the dog.
* Work to establish eye to eye contact whenever “READY” and a reward is given. This establishes focus.
* Introduce “DOWN STAY” and “SIT STAY” with food luring. Always give a “READY” and a reward. Use verbal and hand signals. Right hand going down for “DOWN.” Left had going up for “SIT.” Left hand held in front of the dog’s face for stay. The “STAY”s will begin with only a moment of time to begin with. Always reward these mini-moments. Lots of praise and a reward. If you choose different hand signals, this is ok but once you decide on what signals you will use, be consistent and always use the same signals.
* As soon as possible, break off from LURING with food and transition to REWARDING with food. LURING is hand motion and signals while holding food in view. REWARDING with is presenting and giving the food after a successful exercise or a portion of an exercise occurs. In the early stages of transitioning away from LURING, REWARD every time.
* TEASING with food or not rewarding after food is offered is cruel and frustrating. In confuses the dog and creates lethargic behavior and lack of focus. If you offer a treat, even if you made a mistake and didn’t mean to reward, give the treat anyways.
* REWARD timing is everything. It makes the “good” behavior that you want. Your dog should always be in the proper position and focused on you as part of earning and getting the reward.
* MULTIPLE commands are also to be stopped as soon as possible. They also cause lack of focus and become habit forming. And never, never, never reward after a multiple command.
* COMMAND are usually given in two parts. The first is the preparatory command and usually is the dog’s name. The second is the actual command such as heel; sit; stay; wait; come; down; stand; over or jump; find it; take it; go out; etc. In the early stages of learning, you usually will use both a verbal command and a hand signal.
* REWARDING with food. Establish formal feeding times and routines. If the dog is slightly hungry he/she will be food motivated to work for food rewards. Introduce hand feeding to a new dog with the READY command. Work to get your dog to focus when the READY command is given and then rewarded.
* Introduce down-stay and sit-stay with the READY command and food luring. This helps to establish focus too. Sitting on the floor with your dog with no other environmental distractions establishes a bond that is not intimidating.
* When you have a solid “SIT STAY”, begin “RECALL”s from 3 to 6 feet away. Lots of praise and treats.
* Hand Signals: Most trainers use right hand and arm to signal recalls just as you were signaling someone to “come here.”; the left hand and arm moving down to up for sit; and the left hand open in front to the dog’s nose for stay.
* Rewards called cookies are made up from anything that takes good to the dog and is not harmful. Examples include: store-bought treats; Cheerios; hotdog or cold meats; etc. I usually cut up the treats to equal about a Cheerio in size. I also use dog food kibbles but they sometimes get stuck in their throats when the dog is trying to swallow and move at the same time.