For a Well-Behaved Dog, Teach These Cues
There are all kinds of cues and tricks you can teach your dog, for instance…
One dog owner has a German Shepherd/Lab Mix, who is a very nice dog, but is not obedient to the basic, essential dog cues such as sit, stay etc. Yet he was able to teach the dog how to open the refrigerator door and bring him a cold soda, this is a very clever trick, but it’s not going to help when he gives a necessary cue such as sit, or is trying to keep the dog out of danger.
It seems to me that it is more important, and safer for your dog to teach him/her obedience cues first, and then have fun teaching tricks, which he will probably learn quicker after learning the basics.
Tips for teaching cues…
- Choose short or one word cues; longer cues complicate the issue and confuse your pup.
- Use the same cues consistently, again changing it up will only be confusing.
- Be patient, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and neither was a well-trained dog.
- Use the praise and reward system…your dog will not only love a yummy treat, but he will love positive attention from you. Have your treats readily available so you can reward Fido the minute he has complied.
- Avoid repeating a cues that has already been given. Repeating a cue tells your dog that obedience can wait, it doesn’t have to happen immediately. Once a dog has started to get the idea of what you want, say the cue once, then wait for the dog to respond.
- Make sure your pup has mastered one cue before tackling a different one.
- Don’t overdo your training sessions, they should last only a few short minutes, no longer than 10, then they can be repeated throughout the day.
Foundational cues every dog should know:
- Probably the best cue to begin with is name recognition. This is fairly easy to teach your dog. Simply say her name, and when she looks at you, reward her with praise and a treat…you can bet she will begin to watch you very carefully and definitely when you say her name.
- Teaching your dog to sit can be very helpful for controlling your pup when she wants to jump up on company, or calm her down when she is becoming excited. Place a treat in your hand and close it, holding the closed hand near your dog’s nose, so she can get a good whiff of it, then begin to slowly raise your hand up…your dog will naturally follow your hand, and as she does, her butt will lower to the floor…once it is all the way down, and she is sitting, give her the treat with praise and affection.
- Stay and come are 2 cues to teach that work well together.
- Begin with the cue to come, an extremely helpful cue for bringing your dog back to your side and avoid dangerous situations or for other reasons you may want her near. Teach this cue by bending down to her level, slap your leg or make happy sounds and as the dogs start heading your direction say “come”. Don’t say “come” if the dog is not heading in your direction. You can clip a leash on the dog to prevent them running away. Once she reaches you, it’s time for treats and praise. When she gets the idea, you can remove the leash and practice without it.
- Stay is the cue to help you keep your dog in one place, such as waiting at a corner for a traffic light to change, waiting for you to be ready or any other number of situations. Begin by having your dog “sit”, as you take a few steps backward, hold your hand up, palm facing her. Once she has “stayed” be quick to offer praise and a treat. Over time, increase the number of steps you move backward.
- A more challenging cue to teach is down, and is another good behavior, much like “sit” that can help you control your pup when she begins engaging in some unwanted behavior. Hold a yummy treat, in your closed hand, close to her nose and allow her to begin sniffing it. Once she does, and she will, begin moving your hand down to the floor, then along side her body to help heer get the idea to lie down. Once she is down, say “down”, give her praise and her treat.
There are several other basic cues to teach your dog that will help him understand the behaviors you are looking for, such as leave it, heal, off, drop it, and bed or crate. Once your pup has these behaviors learned, you can use some of them to help teach your dog new tricks, such as getting a cold soda from the fridge.
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