Fox Terrier About Town

Adventures of a Vivaceous Pup in Fancy London

Archive for Puppy School

Recall

Start by practising recall in the house, say ‘dog’s name’ and ‘come’ in a loving, enthusiastic voice, and bend down to his level if necessary. When he comes to you give him lots of praise and cuddles and a food treat. When he is coming towards you remember to encourage him all the way.

A whistle can also be a great recall aid for some dogs. You can use the whistle in the park when your dog has gone past your boundary i.e. gone too far away. First you will need to teach your dog that the whistle means the same as come. Try not to over use the whistle in the park, as this will reduce the effectiveness, as your dog will start to block it out and not listen.

Keep yourself exciting so your dog wants to come to you. When they get to you take hold of his collar gently and give lots of praise and a treat, and let him go off to play again. This makes sure your dog doesn’t learn that when he comes to you that his walk is over. When there are 2 or more people walking in the park call him from one person to the next as a game.

You must always encourage your dog as he is coming towards you, if he slows down or stops to sniff, just keep patting your legs and calling. It may help to start walking in the opposite direction so he follows you. Remember if you have to keep going up to him to get him he will learn he doesn’t need to come as you will always be there and come to him.

Scale his recall 1-10, 10 being the best recall i.e. he comes when called first time, very fast when there is lots of distractions. 10 should get his favourite food reward e.g. chicken and big cuddles, scaling downwards to 1 i.e. he takes ages to come back, this means he only gets a small amount of attention and praise. Your dog will soon associate the quicker he comes the better the reward.

Remember if your dog gets attention all the time for free at home then you have nothing to barter with when you are in the park. Your attention will have no value!

Heel

‘Heel’ or ‘close’ means walk by my side with a loose lead, your dog’s head should be in line with your legs.

• Choose which side you would like him to walk on and make sure he always is on that side.
• Only walk forward when the lead is loose. Praise your dog and say ‘heel’ only
when he walking in the correct position with a loose lead.
• Try to keep your dog focused on you, and encourage him while he is walking, tell him what a clever boy he is when he is walking with a loose lead.
• When your dog pulls and the lead is tight stop walking and encourage him to come back to your side when he is back in the correct position walk on.
• If he keeps walking in front you can get him back to your side by using a sharp short check to pull him back to your side.

Remember if your dog is pulling and you follow him this only reinforces that behaviour.

Down and Stay

This is a very important command as it is the basis of your emergency and distance control training as well as teaching your dog to relax when necessary. To begin with practice ‘down’ position, this will then progress into down/stay and distance control. With training, your dog should lie down on the command ‘down’ and remain in that position until you come and release him.

Teaching ‘down’
• Have your dog in the sit position.
• Move your hand (and treat) down between his front paws.
• When he goes down, give him lots of praise and delay the reward for 5-10 seconds and then say ‘ok’. If the front of the body only bends down to the treat, move the treat slowly still on the floor towards him.
• You can then teach him to stay by gradually increasing the time until you give the reward, and then start increasing the distance, only one step at a time.

Remember if he goes to move say the No-Reward-Mark ‘AH-AH’ and put him back into position and start again. This exercise takes a little patience, but as soon as he understands the rest will come very quickly.

Sit and Stay

Dashwood now sits whenever he wants food or just anything where he proves first that he is Good. The next motion would be to wag his tail whilst sitting.

Dashwood now sits whenever he wants food or just anything where he proves first that he is Good. The next motion would be to wag his tail whilst sitting.

The first thing we learned in Puppy Class was to Sit and Stay.

This is what you do:

Hold a treat slightly above your puppy’s head, move your hand up and back slightly, this should automatically make him put his bottom on the floor. Praise and give the treat straight away. Repeat this a few times until he learns sitting gets the treat, and starts to sit automatically. Then say the word ‘sit’ just before you hold the treat out, he will then associate the word with his action. Next practices ‘stay’ in the sit position.

Once he has learnt sit you should ask your dog to sit before he gets any of his rewards e.g. attention, dinner, before putting their lead on or taking it off e.t.c. This will help to always have him in control.

Also you should get your dog to sit at every kerb before you cross the road. He shouldn’t move until you give him the release command ‘ok’.

Puppy Training Is Fun

Training should always be enjoyable. Try to integrate training into your everyday life and play with your dog during and at the end of sessions, as this will ensure he looks forward to his training. Try to train in 2-3 minute sessions, 4-6 times a day.
Always finish a training session on a positive note, with something your dog can do well.

BASIS OF TRAINING
Initially, you will need to lure your dog into various positions using a food reward. Once the dog is going into the desired position willingly and regularly you can then start saying the word before the hand signal.

NAME: Say ‘dog’s name’ to gain his attention.
CUE WORD AND HAND SIGNAL: Give calm instruction e.g. ‘sit’, then hand signal straightaway.
ACTION: Dog goes into the required position.
REWARD: Say ‘Good’ give the food treat/praise/ play.

REMEMBER when you are not using food rewards use your release command ‘ok’ to let your dog know that he has finished that particular exercise.

ONE SECOND RULE: Once your dog is in the correct position, and you are ready to release him, he must be rewarded within one second for him to learn the correct association of word and action.

Regularly put your dog on his lead in the house when you are training, to ensure success as you have more control of him. This will also reduce his excitement when he sees the lead, as it will no longer be the signal for a walk.

THE 3 D’s: Every time you teach your dog something new, this needs to first be done where there are NO distractions e.g. indoors.

When he can perform the behaviour perfectly you can then start added the 3 D’s ONE AT A TIME AND GRADUALLY.

Duration – The time your dog remains in that position, e.g. start with 3 seconds then gradually increase the time to 1 minute.
Distance – Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog when he is in that position.
Distraction – When he can do it perfectly indoors practice on the street, then in the park with minimal people and dogs around increasing to a busy park.

Remember if your dog moves out of position when training, just put him back into the position and start again. It might be worth going back a few steps and taking it a little slower.

Puppy School Oh So Posh

Heel Puppy, Heel! Good Puppy!

Heel Puppy, Heel! Good Puppy!

One of the things that I pre-booked before Dashwood came home was puppy school. This is very common in London. Apparently not so much in other parts, but it is one of the best things a little puppy can get. And you, as the owner, if you have never brought up a puppy, is the best schooling too.

This is what you get in Puppy School:

* teaching your puppy how to come, sit, lay down, heel, and obey basic commands;
* learning about puppy hygene: how to clean those ears, and the eye gunky stuff;
* introducing your puppy to other dog breeds, different from him and so needed to be explored;
* teaching your puppy basic manners towards other puppies, humans and children;

The couse is just six Saturdays, but it is worth doing. This is the site that will locate your nearest puppy class.

Dashwood and I went to Dog Hollow, off the King’s Road, SW3 and we had hilarious episodes there. Above all, the ladies running the puppy classes are extraordinarily dedicated and knowledgeable and made our learning a delightful and worthy process.