How Do I Start Training A New Dog?
When I start training a puppy or new adult dog there are only 2 exercises that I teach this dog.
These 2 exercises are the foundation for all other dog training:
1. I want the dog to look at me when I call its name (name attention focus)
2. I want the dog to come to me when it's called (the recall).
These are the 2 hardest exercises for a dog to consistently offer the handler particularly when the dog is distracted.
Picture this......your dog is off-lead, running in the park and you want him to come back to you.
How do you train the dog to instantly and correctly respond to your voice commands?
The answer is to start teaching Name Attention and the Recall from the first day of ownership.
If trained correctly, these 2 exercises also develop an incredibly close bond between you and your dog.
These exercises are taught at home where there are NO DISTRACTIONS in the near area.
I want the dog to completely concentrate on me and what I'm doing.
If there are other family dogs or young children playing nearby, then the dog will not be 100% concentrating on me.
So, for commencement obedience training:
Rule No:1 - no distractions
Rule No:2 - high levels of repetition with total consistency in the method of training
When the dog demonstrates that he can give me 100% focused attention for reasonable periods of time & the dog proves to me that he will always come when called, then I introduce modest levels of distraction.
Distraction training is critical to the success of the dog's behaviour in the real world.
Make no mistake, just because a dog will look and come to you in your backyard, don't think for a second that this behaviour will be repeated in the real world. We all have backyard champions, but this counts for nothing if the dog can't repeat the behaviours we want out in the street.
My objective is to train this dog to ignore the distractions of the real world, paying attention to me when I call his name, then immediately coming to me when called.
To achieve this, the dog will need significant amounts of training with a wide variety of distractions before I can confidently say that he will always give me the behaviours I want.
Remember: the real world is the biggest distraction for your dog. If your training is incomplete, expect the worst.
But don't blame your dog........it's you that has made the mistake !!
A dog that willingly offers focused attention and comes when called is a dog that respects its owner.
This is what commencement dog training should embrace, building respect for the owner through constructive training.