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Command training

A well-behaved dog is one that has been well-trained. You can achieve just about any desired behavior by following the techniques used for command training.

What treats to use

For command training, use a lifestage-appropriate treat, such as a kibble of your puppy's current food or a treat formulated for puppies. Only 10 percent of your pet's daily caloric intake should come from treats. A good way to do this is to break down the kibble or treats into smaller pieces because your puppy is responding to the giving of a treat and not the treat's size.

Sit on command

Getting your puppy in the habit of sitting before getting what he wants will help remind him that you are in control.

Step One

Have a treat available. With your puppy in a standing position, hold the food in front of his nose. Avoid holding the food too high or he will stand up instead of sit.

Step Two

In a steady, slow motion, move the food over your puppy's head. Your puppy's nose will point up and the rear end will ease down to the floor, taking him into the sit position.

Step Three

Say "Sit" as your puppy's rear end touches the floor, and give the food. Say "good dog" as your puppy takes the food from your hand.

Step Four

Before long, you'll notice your puppy will go into the sit position when you sweep your hand in an upward movement, even without food. Gradually phase the food out, but continue to say "good dog" when your puppy sits.

This command will come in handy when you need to quickly subdue your puppy.

Lie down on command

Step One

Ask your puppy to sit using a few puppy food kibbles or a tasty puppy treat.

Step Two

As soon as your puppy sits, move the food from in front of your puppy's nose to the floor next to his front paws.

Step Three

Say "down" as your puppy's front end touches the floor, and give the food. Say "good dog" as your puppy takes the food from your hand.

Step Four

Gradually phase the food out, but continue to say "good dog" when your puppy lies down. In no time at all, you'll find that just a downward sweep of your hand will have your puppy sliding into the down position.

This command ends with your puppy sitting quietly in front of you. It should be practiced with many different people so your puppy learns that the proper way to approach a person is to run up to them and then sit.

Come when called

Step One

Stand about 3 feet away from your puppy. Say your puppy's name so he turns and makes eye contact with you.

Step Two

Extend your hand, holding a few puppy food kibbles or a tasty puppy treat toward your puppy. Wave your hand with the food toward you and say "come" as your puppy runs to you.

Step Three

Have your dog sit in front of you. Give the food to your puppy and say "good dog."

Step Four

Take a few steps back. Show your puppy a second treat or kibble, say his name, and repeat Step Three.

Step Five

Gradually repeat the exercise from farther and farther away. Once your puppy is doing well, begin calling him when he is looking away from you.

This command can be vital in keeping your dog safe by quickly stopping a potentially dangerous situation, like running into the street.

Stay on command

Step One

Pick a time when your puppy is calm. Ask him to sit.

Step Two

As soon as your puppy sits, lean toward him slightly, make solid eye contact, extend your hand with the palm facing toward him, and say "stay" in a firm tone. Do not move away.

Step Three

Wait only one to two seconds, say "good dog," step toward your puppy, give a few puppy food kibbles or a puppy treat then give a release command, such as "OK."

Step Four

Practice frequently, increasing the time your puppy has to stay by one second every 2 to 3 days.

Step Five

Once your puppy will stay for 15 seconds, you can begin working on distance stays. After saying "stay," step backward, wait for a few seconds and then release your puppy. Very gradually continue to increase time and distance.

This command can result in hours of fun play sessions with your pet.

Fetch

Step One

Choose an interesting toy for your puppy to fetch. Toss the toy a short distance from your puppy.

Step Two

When your puppy picks it up and looks at you, take several quick steps away from him, wave your hand toward you and say "fetch" in a upbeat tone

Step Three

When your puppy reaches you, move your hand, holding a few puppy food kibbles or a puppy treat toward his mouth. Say the words, "drop it." The toy will fall out when your puppy opens his mouth to take the food. Give the treat as you pick up the toy.

Step Four

Next, turn the cue words into a command. Say "drop it" as you begin to swing your hand down toward your puppy, instead of waiting until your puppy opens his mouth.

Step Five

Once your puppy learns the command, you'll phase out the food. Alternate between food rewards and praise so your puppy doesn't know which reward he will get each time for dropping the toy.


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