This month we will be talking about obedience commands and why they are the foundation for performance in the field. Basic obedience commands; WHOA (Pointers)/SIT (flushers/retrievers), NO, HERE or COME, HEEL, KENNEL and DOWN are the tools that give us the ability to become the “pack leader”. It starts immediately when you bring that young pup into your home and life.
There are four things you must keep in mind in teaching your pup basic obedience commands:
Be patient, patient, patient
You are going to establish a set of rules for your pup. Decide where he eats and sleeps, which areas of your home are off limits, if the pup will be allowed on furniture or not, etc. All family members must be on board with the rules as consistency is a must. Consistency applies not only to the administration of the rules but to the commands used to enforce those rules. Simple one word commands, as shown above, should be used. All family members must use the same commands. Different words for the same command will confuse your pup.
Next, you must make sure the pup performs the command once it is given. You may have to “walk the pup” through the command. Never be forceful, scare, or hurt your puppy to get a response. Use a lure of a treat or a toy to help you out. If you give the pup a command and he ignores it and you “blow it off”, guess what happens? He thinks he’s in charge, not you! So, you must persist in teaching your pup to respond to your commands.
Lastly, you must be patient with your pup. Just like us humans, some dogs learn faster than others. So patience, and plenty of it, is important in teaching our pups a command. Use plenty of praise when pup responds correctly even if somewhat sloppy in the beginning. Be “short and sweet” on correction. This will build confidence in your pup, which will pay huge dividends in future, more advanced training.
There are plenty of books and videos on teaching obedience as well as more advanced training. Do your research and pick a couple with which you relate well. Once you choose “your bible” be consistent, insistent and persistent in applying the methods to your pup. Don’t rush things. Make sure puppy understands one command thoroughly before proceeding to the next. PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE my friend.
CJ & Shawnee