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Countdown to a Crackerjack Canine Companion
Deadline #1 
BEFORE You Get Your Puppy -- Puppy Education and Owner Education! by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Without a doubt the most pressing developmental deadline is BEFORE you get your puppy. The most important considerations are your puppy's education and YOUR education! By the time you bring your new puppy home, say by eight weeks of age, it should already be accustomed to the indoor domestic environment (especially noises) and well socialized with people. Similarly, housetraining, chew toy training and tutoring in basic manners should be well underway. If not, your prospective puppy's social and mental development will already be severely retarded and sadly, you will be playing catch-up for the rest of its life.

Make certain your prospective pup has been raised indoors in close contact with its original family, who have taken the time to begin your puppy's education. Your puppy needs to be prepared for the clamor of everyday domestic living - the noise of the vacuum cleaner, the shouting of sports programs on the television, children crying and adults arguing. Exposure to such stimuli before the pup's eyes and ears have fully opened (when its blurred vision and muffled hearing are still developing), allows the puppy to gradually become accustomed to sights and sounds that might otherwise frighten it when older. There is not much point in choosing a puppy that has been reared in a secluded kennel, where it rarely interacts with people and has become accustomed to soiling its living area and yapping a lot. If you want a companion dog to share your home, obviously it should be raised in a home, and not a cage.

The day you get your puppy, the clock is running. And time flies. Your puppy's critical period of socialization will begin to wane by three months and its most impressionable learning period starts to close by five months. Not surprisingly, most behavior and temperament problems are created during this time. There is so much to teach and nearly everything needs to be taught within just 12 weeks, when you puppy is between two and five months of age. It is vital that you know WHAT to teach and HOW to teach it. Going to puppy classes, reading behavior and training books and watching puppy videos is the quickest way to find out. But you need to do this BEFORE you get your puppy.

Deadline #2. 
The Very First Day! - Household Petiquette

Misbehavior is the single most prevalent 'terminal illness' in pet dogs. And sadly, many pet dogs all but sign their death warrants during their very first few days at home. If your pup is EVER unsupervised indoors, as sure as eggs is eggs it will predictably chew household articles and soil your house. Whereas these teeny accidents do little damage in themselves, they set the precedent for your puppy's toys and toilet for months to come.

Every house soiling and chewing 'mistake' is a potential disaster, since it heralds numerous future mistakes from a dog with a larger bladder and more destructive jaws. Most owners begin to notice their puppy's destructiveness by the time it is 4 to 5 months old. Characteristically, the pup is relegated outdoors. As a product of boredom and lack of supervision, the puppy begins to destroy everything and anything, as occupational therapy to pass the time of day. Moreover, natural inquisitiveness prompts the lonely pup to dig, to escape and to bark. Once the neighbors complain, the dog is usually further confined to a garage or basement - usually only a temporary stop until it is surrendered to the local animal shelter to play the lotto of life. Less than 25% of surrendered dogs are adopted and about half of them are returned as soon as the new owners discover their adopted adolescent's annoying problems.

The above summarizes the sad fate of many dogs. Especially sad, because all these simple problems could so easily be prevented. Indeed, the more you confine your puppy to its Doggy Den and Puppy Playroom during its first few weeks at home, the more freedom it will enjoy as an adult dog for the rest of its life.

ALWAYS confine your pup to its Puppy Playroom whenever it is necessary to leave the pup at home alone, or whenever you are at home but can not devote time to the housetraining procedures described below. A protected kitchen or bathroom makes a fine playroom. Be sure to remove all carpets and household articles within reach. Or, you may wish to purchase a portable exercise pen. The Puppy Playroom must contain i) a comfortable bed in one corner, ii) a suitable doggy toilet in another corner, iii) a bowl of fresh water and iv) a number of hollow chew toys stuffed with a couple of pieces of kibble.

For a doggy toilet, I suggest that you lay down a sheet of old linoleum, cover it with a disposable plastic sheet, lots of newspaper and with the eventual toilet substrate on top. For example, for rural and suburban pups, who will eventually be taught to relieve themselves on grass, scatter some soil or lay down a couple of rolls of turf. For urban pups, who will eventually be taught to eliminate at curbside, lay down a couple of concrete paving slabs. Your puppy will soon develop a very strong natural preference for eliminating on similar outdoor substrates whenever it can.

Kong products are the Cadillac of chew toys. Hollow sterilized long bones are a very close second choice. Stuff them with just one or two tasty treats, which can only be removed with great difficulty. Freeze dried liver is the Lamborghini of dog treats. Then stuff the chew toys with plenty of kibble or MilkBones (from your puppy's daily dietary ration). Your puppy will soon develop a very strong chew toy habit, since you have limited its choices to a single acceptable type of toy, which you have given it a good reason to chew.

ALWAYS confine your puppy to its Doggy Den whenever you are at home, but can not devote 110% of your attention to monitor your puppy's behavior Portable dog crates are ideal. The Doggy Den must contain a comfortable bed plus several chew toys stuffed with the dog's food. During its first few weeks at home, it is a marvelous training ploy to ONLY serve your puppy's food stuffed in chew toys. You may serve your dog's dinner in a dog bowl, once it has become an extreme Kongaholic and has not had a single chewing mishap for at least three months.

At least every hour, release your puppy from its crate, quickly put it on leash and hurry it to its toilet area. Stand still and give the pup just three minutes to produce. When it does, lavishly praise and offer THREE Freeze-dried liver treats for a good job well done. If your puppy eliminates, your empty puppy may now be allowed supervised exploration of the house for a while before returning to its den. If your puppy does not eliminate within the allotted time span, simply pop it back in its crate and try again in half an hour.

REMEMBER, aside from chew toy training, closely confining your puppy to its crate for short periods temporarily inhibits elimination, so that your pup will need to relieve itself immediately when you release it each hour, so that you may be there to direct it to the appropriate area AND ALSO BE THERE TO REWARD IT HANDSOMELY.

From the outset, you may reward your puppy for using its outdoor toilet area in your private fenced yard, but you must wait until your puppy has completed its puppy shots before taking it to eliminate on public property. Until your pup has developed sufficient immunity (between 3 and 4 months), it must not walk or sniff where other dogs have been.

Deadline #3. 
Three Months - Socialization & Basic Manners

The optimal time to socialize your puppy is BEFORE it is three months old. Unfortunately, your pup needs to be confined indoors until then. This relatively short period of social isolation at such a crucial developmental time could all but ruin your puppy's temperament. Whereas dog-dog socialization may be put on temporary hold until your pup is old enough to go to puppy school and the dog park, we simply can not delay socialization with people. On the contrary, during the first month, while your pup is grounded at home, socializing with people becomes the Prime Puppy Directive. Without a doubt, raising and training a pup to be people-friendly is by far the single most important aspect of pet dog husbandry.

Capitalize on the time your pup is confined indoors by inviting people to your home. As a rule of thumb, your pup needs to socialize with at least 100 people before it is 3 months old. This is actually much easier than it sounds. Invite a different group of eight men each Sunday to watch sports on the television. (Generally, men are pretty easy to attract and train if you offer pizza and beer.) Each Monday invite a different group of eight women to watch Ally McBeal and Dateline. Catch up on all your outstanding social obligations by inviting family, friends and neighbors to weekly Puppy Parties. On another night of the week invite some neighborhood children. Above all, don't keep this puppy a secret. And of course, the great thing about socializing a young puppy is that it also does wonders for your own social life!

Show all your guests how to hand feed the puppy's dinner kibble to lure/reward train it to come, sit and lie down. Ask your puppy to come. Praise profusely as it approaches and offer a piece of kibble when it arrives. Back-up and then, do it again. Repeat the recall sequence over and over. Then say "Puppy Sit" and slowly move a piece of kibble from in front of the puppy's nose to between its eyes. As the puppy raises its nose to sniff the kibble, it will lower its rear end and sit. If the puppy jumps up, you are holding the food lure too high and so, repeat the procedure with the food closer to the pup's muzzle. When your puppy sits, say "Good Dog" and offer the kibble. Now say "Puppy Down" and lower a piece of kibble from just in front of the puppy's nose to between its forepaws. As the puppy lowers its head to follow the food, it will usually lie down. Don't worry if your puppy stands instead, just keep the kibble hidden under the palm of your hand until it lies down. As soon as it does so, Say "Good Dog" and offer the food. Help each guest practice these maneuvers until each one can get the puppy to come, sit and lie down three times in succession for a single piece of kibble.

When a puppy dog approaches promptly and happily, it is a surefire sign the dog is people-friendly. Sitting and lying down on request, advertises voluntary doggy compliance and respect for the person issuing instructions. If your puppy is regularly hand fed dinner by guests in this manner, it will soon learn to enjoy the company of people and to approach happily and sit automatically when greeting them. And of course, as an added bonus, you have successfully trained your family and friends to train your dog for you!

Deadline #4. 
Four and a Half Months - Puppy School

As soon as your puppy is three months old, there is considerable urgency to play catch-up VIS A VIS socialization and confidence building with other dogs. At the very latest, be certain your pup starts puppy training classes before it is eighteen weeks old. Four and a half months marks a critical juncture in you doggy's development, accurately pinpointing the time it turns from puppy to adolescent - sometimes, virtually overnight. And you certainly want your pup enrolled in class well before it collides with adolescence! I simply can not over emphasize the importance of placing yourself under the guidance and tutelage of a professional pet dog trainer, while you are negotiating your dog's precarious and hair-raising transition from puppyhood to adolescence.

Most puppies can safely start classes at three months of age. Puppy classrooms are fairly safe places, since only vaccinated puppies are present and the floors are regularly sterilized. Luckily, the breeds which sometimes have immunity problems (Rotties and Dobes) are slow-developers and it is fine to delay starting class until they are four months old. Also, I would advise to delay taking any pups to dog parks, or for walks in public places (where other dogs have been), until they are at least four months old. (You can always practice leash walking around your house and yard, before embarrassing yourself in public.)

Puppy classes allow your pup to develop canine social savvy playing with other puppies in a non-threatening and controlled setting. Most puppy classes are family oriented and so your pup will have additional opportunities to socialize with all sorts of people - men, women and children. And then there is the training game. It will literally blow your mind how much your pup learns in just its very first lesson. Shy and fearful pups will gain confidence in leaps and bounds and bullies will learn to tone it down and be gentle. All dogs will learn to come and sit and lie down when requested; to listen to their owners and to ignore distractions. But really, you are attending puppy class so that YOU can learn! And there's still a lot to learn. You'll learn how to control your puppy's biting behavior, which by now will be approaching its peak. You'll discover numerous useful tips for resolving behavior problems. And you'll learn how to control the hyper-turbo, Warp Factor rambunctiousness and rumbustiousness which are part and parcel of adolescence. Above all though, puppy classes are an absolute blast! You will never forget your pup's first night in class. Puppy classes are an adventure... for you and your dog.

Hopefully you will have checked out a variety of classes before you got your puppy and have a pretty good idea what you are looking for, but here are a few tips:

Avoid Classes: which advocate the use of any metal collar, or any means of physical punishment, which frightens or harms any pup. PLEASE remember, the 'push-pull, leash-jerk, grab & shake, alpha-rollover and domination' techniques, are now considered arduous, time-consuming, relatively ineffective, potentially dangerous and in many cases downright adversarial and unpleasant. Such hopelessly out-of-date methods are now, thank goodness, by and large a thing of the past. Just imagine yourself in your puppy's paws. REMEMBER, this is your puppy, and its education, and its safety and sanity are in your hands. And so. you be the judge. There are so many better ways. Search until you find them!

Look For Classes: where the pups are given ample opportunity to play together off-leash, where pups are frequently trained and settled-down during the play session, where puppies learn at lightning speed, using toys and treats and fun and games. And above all, where your puppy has a good time! To find a list of puppy training classes in your area, call:

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers 
1-(800) PET DOGS

Deadline #5. 
Five Months - The Great Outdoors

It's time to get your dog out and about. Be certain to take a little bag of kibble with you. Give a couple of pieces of kibble to each stranger who wants to meet your dog and ask the stranger to offer the kibble only after your dog sits to say hello. Try to take your dog everywhere - errands around town, car trips to visit friends, picnics in the park and especially to explore the neighborhood. It's time for lots of walks, more walks, and even more walks.

Just a few words of caution though: PULLING ON LEASH! SLOW RECALLS AND NO RECALLS! Yes! Five months is when you begin to realize that the canine weight-pulling record is in excess of 10,000 pounds and that YOUR dog has begun to ignore you. Puppyhood is over. But here's a few tips to help.

Before you even think of going anywhere, try this simple and effective exercise. Put your dog's dinner kibble in a bag and today your dog will dine on its walk. Hold a single piece of kibble in your hand, stand still and wait for your dog to sit. Ignore everything else your dog does, it will sit eventually. When it does, say "Good Dog", offer the kibble, take just one giant step forwards, stand still and wait for your dog to sit again. Repeat this over and over until your dig sits immediately each time you stop. Now take two giant steps before your stop. Then try three steps and stop, and then five, eight, ten, twenty and so on. By now you will have discovered that your dog walks calmly and attentively by your side and sits immediately and automatically each time you stop. And you have trained all this in just one session and the only words you have said are "Good Dog!"

Try to take a few time-outs on each walk. Maybe sit down, relax and read the latest issue of DOG FANCY and give your dog ample opportunity to settle down and watch the world go by. You'll find that taking along a stuffed Kong will help your dog settle down quickly and calmly. Remember, the great outdoors can be a scary place and there may still be the occasional surprise which frightens your dog. The best approach is to prevent these problems and so, never take your dog's sound temperament for granted. Instead, offer your dog a piece of kibble every time a big truck, noisy motorcycle, or kid on a skate board whizzes by and your dog doesn't overreact.

Try not to get into the habit of letting your dog off-leash to run around and play with other dogs without interruption, otherwise you will soon have a dog who refuses to come when called. Instead, take your dog's dinner to the park and throughout its play session, call your dog every minute or so and have it sit for a couple of pieces of kibble. Your dog will soon get the idea and its enthusiastic recalls will be the talk of the town.

Deadline #6. 

Continue walking your dog at least once a day and take it to a dog park several times a week. Try to find different walks and different dog parks, so your dog continues to meet a wide variety of DIFFERENT dogs and people. If your dog only meets the same people, or the same dogs over and over, it will progressively de-socialize. Eventually your dog will become intolerant of strangers, only accepting its small inner circle of friends. You have successfully socialized your puppy to be dog-friendly and people-friendly and if you want it to remain that way, it is essential it meets UNFAMILIAR people and dogs each day. Also, while we're at it, don't forget to maintain your own improved social life by hosting a puppy dog party at least once a week - just to make sure your friends still work hard at training your dog for you.

Now its time to get ready to enjoy life with your good natured, well mannered canine companion. Give your dog a special bone - Good Dog! and give yourself a pat on the back -Good owner!

For Further Information:

Oakland CA: James & Kenneth Publishers, 1991

Oakland CA: James & Kenneth Publishers, 1987

Veterinarian and animal behaviorist, Dr. Ian Dunbar


OTHER TIPS, Tricks & Ideas


Potty Training


Keep an eye on your puppy. While potty training, it is ideal to keep your puppy where you can watch it at all times. This will allow you to look for early signs that it needs to go and help to prevent accidents.

Some of the signs to look for include whining, circling, sniffing, barking, or any sudden behavior change. When you see any of these signs, immediately lead the dog outside. For the first days at home take puppy out when they wake up after they eat or drink and at least every few hours always being alert of signs.


Interrupt accidents. If you catch your puppy in the act of urinating or defecating indoors, make a sudden noise such as a clap, and say the word "no." Then, quickly lead the dog outside.

You want to startle but not to scare the dog. The intent here is to get their immediate attention and know that you disapprove marking or pooping indoors. You also want to be consistent, using the same word and/or noise each time.
You may not get the same result if the dog is defecating, because most puppies will not be able to stop this. But, you should still do the same thing as part of the teaching process.
Never punish your puppy for accidents. The dog does not know it is doing anything wrong.
When you use punishment to stop them from going indoors it can confuse your dog and even make it worse. Your dog could only understand that you get mad when you see them potty and will hide from you when they need to go, most likely in places that hard to reach for you.


A potty zone. It is best to pick a certain area outside and take your dog there every time it needs to go. You should pick a spot that is not visited by other dogs and is easy to clean up. Example of a good area would be along a fence line and away from areas you use regularily.

Your puppy will remember the smell of urine and start to associate the area as its "bathroom."
Pick an area that is easy to get to quickly. You will be visiting this area frequently during the training process.
Until your puppy has had its third set of vaccines, you should avoid areas where other dogs go or have recently gone, such as parks. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your veterinarian.
When taking your dog outside, it's a good idea to keep it on a leash so you can teach it to go in a specific location. You can also more easily keep an eye on the dog, so you'll know when it is done.


A specific sound or word command. Every time you take your puppy outside to their area, use the word "go," or "potty". This will teach it to go in that specific location.

The dog will begin to recognize the command and understand what you want it to do. This will help the dog to learn when and where it should be urinating or defecating.
Use that command only when you want them to go. This will avoid confusion


Selecting and Preparing a Crate
Be mindful of the proper size. The crate should allow enough room for standing, sitting, and stretching out, but you don't want the crate to be so big that your dog has enough room to make one section of the crate the bathroom and the other the sleeping area.

Buying two crates—one size for your puppy and a bigger one for your grown-up dog—is ideal.
You may be able to modify a large crate for a puppy by blocking off part of it to adjust it to a puppy’s size
Choose the type of crate you want to use. There are many different dog crates available for a range of prices. Some are even made to look like furniture and can be used as a side table as well as a crate. Be sure that you evaluate the benefits of each kind of dog crate before selecting one.

Kennel style crates are hard plastic crates that are enclosed (except for ventilation holes) on all sides except for the front, which has a wire door. Many of these are airline compliant, so this may be a good option if you plan to travel with your pet.
Wire mesh crates are made of hard wire, which can’t be chewed through, and enables the dog to see out on all sides. However, wire mesh crates do not provide the “den” feel that most dogs want to experience, so they may not be the best option, even though it is often the least expensive.
A puppy pen, which has wire walls but no floor or cover is another option for very young dogs, but be aware that older dogs may be able to move the pen across the floor or even flip it over, so it should only be used under supervision.
Crates with hard bottoms can be made more comfortable with washable cloth bedding.
Determine the crate’s ideal location. You should put the crate in a location that will remain consistent. This may be a high-traffic area where your family spends a lot of time, but you may also want to provide the dog with some rest time removed from activity, especially at night. [5]
Provide entertainment in the crate. If your dog has a favorite toy or comforter, place that in the crate in order to give the dog the idea that it is a nice place. [6] However, make sure anything that is left in with the dog is sturdy enough not to be a choking hazard, or is resistant to chewing. You don't want the dog chewing a lump off when he is left alone, swallowing a fragment and getting a bowel obstruction.
Cover a wire mesh crate. To make your dog more comfortable, cover the top and sides of a wire mesh crate. The extra darkness, plus the freedom from scrutiny, will help make the dog feel safer. Be aware, however, that any covering such as a blanket or towel can be pulled in through the sides of the crate and chewed up by a bored or anxious dog.

Put a piece of plywood on top of the crate that extends about one foot beyond the sides of the crate, then draping a towel or blanket down the sides. The wood will keep the blanket out of the dog’s reach.
Place treats inside the crate. As part of crate training you will seed the crate with tasty treats, again so that the dog associates it as a great location where nice things happen. It is not necessary to leave food or water in the crate. Fit, healthy dogs do not need water overnight (the longest they will be left in the crate) unless the weather is very hot.


Method 2
Training at Night
Make the crate comfortable and quiet. Even if the dog’s crate is in a high-traffic area during the day, it should be in a safe, quiet area of your home at night. You may also want to put it in an area that is easier to clean in case of toilet accidents, such as on a tile floor instead of a carpeted area.
Use the crate at night. There will be nights when your new dog is not fully crate trained, but you need to keep him safe overnight. Play with the dog so he is tired, then put him in the crate, give him a treat to distract him, and shut the door. Then leave the room. Ideally, only re-enter and let the dog out when he is not crying.

Alternatively, use a cardboard box at night. You may want to place the dog, particularly a young puppy, in a large cardboard box beside your bed for the first couple of nights, while you get busy crate training him during the day. The pitfall with this is that if he becomes too used to being at your bedside he will kick up an even bigger fuss when you move him from the bedside to the crate.
Give puppies bathroom breaks at night. The maximum time you can leave a young puppy overnight is 4 hours, so set your alarm clock (ideally for every 2 - 3 hours). When your alarm goes off, take the puppy from the crate or box and pop him outside for a toilet break. Then put him back into the box or crate. Adult dogs can wait longer, but if they are not housebroken, you may want to follow this guideline even for an older dog.

While doing this, do not fuss over or speak to the dog. You don't want to give him the idea that night-time is play time


Method 3
Introducing your Dog to the Crate
Do not force a dog into a crate. Never forcibly put the dog into the crate and shut the door. Likewise, never put the dog in the crate as a punishment. Remember, the crate is not a prison where he goes when he's done something wrong, but a space where nice things happen and he goes because he feels safe there.
Restrict the dog to one room at first. You want the dog to "find" the crate of his own accord so that he is more likely to return to the crate. Keeping him restricted to the room that contains the crate will make it more likely that he will find and explore the crate on his own terms.
Leave the crate door open. When introducing the dog, set the crate up in the desired location and leave the door open. Ideally, put a blanket that smells of his mother and littermates into the crate, so there's a reason for him to investigate. At this stage the crate door is always open, so the dog can come and go freely. Closing the door comes later in the process, once he has accepted the crate as his den.
Shower the dog with praise. When the dog investigates the crate, make a strong show of enthusiasm and praise. Each time he goes into the crate, drop what you are doing and give him lots of attention and encouragement. This will help him associate the crate with positive feelings.
Seed the crate with tasty treats. You can place special treats such as cubes of cheese or pieces of chicken (depending on your dog's likes, dislikes, and allergies) inside the crate sporadically. This makes it an exciting place that is worth investigating, and the treat is its own reward.
Feed a dog his meals in the crate. Be sure to leave the door open while you feed the dog. Again, the association with food makes it a great place, as far as the dog is concerned. If the dog only goes into the crate part way, put the food bowl as far in as he is comfortable with. As he gets used to eating in the crate you can put the bowl farther and farther back.
Close the door to the crate once the dog is happy eating his meals there. After the dog has become accustomed to eating in the crate and goes into the crate all the way while eating, begin to close the door whilst he eats. As soon as he has finished eating, open the door. This way he gets used to being enclosed without making a big deal about it.
Begin increasing the door-closed crate time. Once a dog has gotten used to the door being closed whilst he eats, start gradually increasing the amount of time the door stays closed. The eventual aim is to get him to accept having the door shut for 10 minutes after he's eaten. [12]

Do this slowly, incrementally increasing the closure time, giving him plenty of time to get used to an increased time before again increasing the time. For example, leave him in the crate for 2 minutes after eating is finished for 2-3 days before increasing the time to 5 minutes. Then remain at 5 minutes for 2-3 days before increasing the time to 7 minutes.
If the dog starts to whine you have increased the time too quickly. Next time leave it shut a shorter time.
Always remember only to let a dog out of his crate when he is not crying; otherwise, he will learn that crying opens the door.
Use a crate command. At the same time as the dog gets used to the crate, it helps to give a command that the pet associates with going into the crate. In time, you will use this to encourage him to go in when you want him to.

Choose a command such as "Crate", or "Kennel" and use a hand gesture indicating the crate.
When the pup goes into the crate, say the command.
At meal times, use the command and then put the food inside.
Start saying the command on its own, and when the dog goes to the crate, drop a treat inside to reward him.


Method 4
Acclimating Your Dog to Being Alone in the Crate
Be home. It is important that the dog does not immediately associate his crate with being alone or abandoned. Therefore, you should not use the crate when you're away from the house until you have built up to a longer period of time.
Encourage your dog to enter her crate. You may want to give her a treat when she enters. Close the door and sit with him for a few minutes. Open the door when she's not crying.
Repeat the crating regularly. As your dog gets used to it, instead of staying with her all the time, get up and briefly leave the room. Return, sit by the crate, wait a few minutes then let her out. Again, do not let her out while she is crying.
Increase the amount of time that you spend out of sight. Repeat the crating and leaving process several times each day, whilst building up the amount of time that you spend out of the room before returning to release him. If the dog whines, you have pushed too far too fast, and you should cut back a little next time.

Remember, only release the dog when she is quiet, so that you reward the good behavior, rather than teaching her that whining gets her what she wants.
Slowly and incrementally increase the time until you have built up to about 30 minutes of content crate time.


Method 5
Leaving your Dog Alone
Start leaving the house. When your dog feels comfortable being alone in the crate for 30 minutes, you can start leaving him there while you leave the house for short periods of time. As time goes on, you can leave your dog for longer and longer. While there is no set of rules about how long to leave a dog in a crate, here is a general set of guidelines

9 to 10 weeks - 30 to 60 minutes
11 to 14 weeks - 1 to 3 hours
15 to 16 weeks - 3 to 4 hours
17+ weeks - 4 hours
Note that with the exception of nighttime, you should never crate your dog for longer than 4 hours at a time.

Vary when you put your dog in the crate. Crate him anytime between 20 and 5 minutes before you leave. Simply put him in the crate using your usual method and give him a treat. Then, leave quietly when you're ready.
Do not make a big deal about leaving or returning. Ignore the dog in the crate at least five minutes before you are due to leave and slip away quietly. On your return, ignore him for several minutes before letting him out of the crate (when he is quiet).
Immediately take the dog outside. This will allow your dog to relieve himself. Once he has gone to the bathroom, feel free to praise him excessively. Not only does this help mitigate accidents in your house in the moment, but it will also reinforce the idea to your dog that going to the bathroom outside results in praise


Method 6
Using Crates for Housebreaking a Puppy
Start as soon as possible. Using a crate is very effective for teaching bowel and bladder control. However, if you're planning on crate training to housebreak, you should start this process as soon as you bring your new puppy home. This will mitigate the amount of accidents your puppy has before he is completely comfortable in his crate.
Acclimate your puppy to her crate (see above). Although you are not training your puppy to be comfortable alone necessarily, you do want them to feel as though the crate is their home. This is the feeling that will prevent your puppy from going to the bathroom inside the crate.
Confine the puppy to the crate when you are home. Once your puppy is extremely comfortable with the crate, you can confine her there while you are in the room. Every 20 minutes or so, take your puppy outside. Give her time to go to the bathroom. [15]

If she doesn't use the bathroom outside, return her to the crate. If she does, immediately reward the puppy with extreme praise, treats, love, play, and perhaps the ability to run free about your house for a little while.
If you choose to let your puppy run around the house, take him back outside in 20 minutes to prevent accidents.
Keep a puppy journal. While it sounds silly, keeping a journal of the time that your puppy actually goes to the bathroom will help you out. Assuming you have a regular feeding schedule for your puppy, he'll also have a regular bathroom schedule. Once you know the times at which he actually goes to the bathroom, you can begin taking her out at those times rather than every 20-30 minutes. When the timing is completely consistent, you can let your puppy run supervised around your house for most of the day.
Continue to praise your puppy. Be sure to continue extended praise every time your puppy goes to the bathroom outside. Eventually, your puppy will understand that it is appropriate to use the bathroom outside and she will begin waiting for you to take her outside to eliminate.
Reduce the amount of time your puppy stays in the crate. As your puppy continues to understand that she should use the bathroom outside
Clean up mistakes. Never punish your puppy for having an accident in the house. Clean it up using a non-ammonia based spray and try again. Supervise your puppy at all times, and give him plenty of opportunities to use the bathroom outdoors.


If your dog whines in the crate, ignore it (unless something is physically wrong). Release him only when he is calm. Otherwise, your dog will associate whining with being let out of the crate.
In case of accidents: Be sure to use a stain and odor remover so that your dog does not eliminate waste in the same place. Remember - just because you cannot smell anything it does not mean that your dog can't!

Never use ammonia-based products. To dogs, ammonia smells like urine, and thus these products can encourage increased use of a specific spot as a bathroom.

Remember to take your dog out to potty a short time after eating. Most dogs will need to eliminate a short time after meals.
Give him/her lots of praise and love.
Leave soothing music or a TV on for your dog while he is in the crate during the day.
Never forcefully make a dog enter a crate.
When you first get the puppy don't immediately put him in the crate it will just scare him. Try playing with him and/or taking him up to the crate and let him sniff it he will eventually see that there is no reason to be scared of it.
Try and make the crate as comfortable as possible. This will not only want him to go inside the crate and get cozy in there, but also make him not want to wet his home-like crate, which might get uncomfy on being wet.
Use consistency. If you take your puppy to the same spot every time, it will help with potty training a lot.




How to Teach "Sit"

Obtain a variety of small treats.

Capture your dog’s attention. As with the teaching of all behaviors, the first step is to get your dog's full attention. This is best accomplished by standing directly in front of your dog with him facing you, so that he is completely focused on you and can see and hear you clearly


Show the dog a treat. Hold a treat in your hand so that he knows you have it, but also so that he cannot nip it from your hand. He will be very curious about how he should go about getting the treat from your hand. You should now have his full attention


Praise your dog’s behavior. Reinforce the treat reward with praise; rub his head and use words such as "good boy". This reinforces the fact that he did something that pleased you. Do this every time your dog completes the sit action during the training session

Move the treat from the dog's nose to behind his head. Keep the treat very close to the dog’s nose, then slowly raise it over the top of his head. He'll follow the treat with his eyes and nose, looking upward and in the process placing his bottom on the ground.

You'll need to hold the treat close enough to the dog's head so that he won't try to jump up to get it. Keep it low enough to the ground that he'll sit.
If your dog’s bottom isn’t fully reaching the ground, you can help by gently easing him into a full sit position while keeping the treat in the same position.
If your dog tries to back up to follow the treat rather than raising his head and sitting, try the treat trick indoors in a corner to start with. This will limit the dog’s ability to move backwards, and may facilitate the sitting


Say "sit" as the dog sits and reward him with a treat. When your dog’s rear end makes contact with the ground, say “sit” in a firm voice, then immediately offer him the treat as a reward for sitting.

Try to limit your verbalization. If the dog doesn’t sit right away, don’t say “no, sit” or introduce other commands. If you limit your speech to just the command and the praise, the command word will stand out more clearly to your dog.


Release your dog from the sit position. You can release your dog from the sit command by using a command word such as "release" or "free" while taking a step back and encouraging him to come to you


Repeat the trick for 10 minutes. After a while he may get bored, so take a break and resume training another time. Aim for at least 2-3 short training sessions every day. It will likely take 1-2 weeks of consistent training for your dog to catch on.


Wean your dog off treats. When you first start training with the treat trick, give your dog a treat each time he sits. Be sure you always offer enthusiastic praise as well. After a week or two, when your dog is reliably sitting for treats, offer the treats intermittently but continue to offer praise. You will (slowly) work towards getting the dog to sit with your hand signal and the “sit” command with no treat, then with only the “sit” command



How to Teach "Lay"
Command your pup to “sit”. Once he is in the sitting position, say the cue “down”. Make sure you say the “lie down” or “down” cue in a calm, clear voice and maintain eye contact with your puppy as you say the cue.
Use the cue “down” or “lie down” to teach your puppy to get down on the ground and not use it for other actions, like getting off of the couch or off of a step. Instead, use the command “off” in other instances so your puppy is not confused about which action you are asking for.


Hold a treat between your fingers. Allow your dog to smell it and lick it, but not to eat it. Continue to hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose and move it down toward the floor, between his front legs. Your dog’s nose should follow the treat and his head should bend down towards the floor.


Move the treat to the ground. Keep moving the treat until your hand lands on the ground, straight in front of your dog. Your dog will continue to follow the treat and ease himself into a down position. Once his elbows touch the floor, say “yes!” and let him eat the treat from your fingers.


Avoid using your hands to push your dog down to the ground as this can be seen as an aggressive move by your dog and spook him or put him on edge. You want to teach your dog to lie down on his own.
Your dog may stand up after eating the treat and move out of the down position. If he does not do this, move one to two steps away to encourage him to move out of the down position. If you dog’s back end pops up when you move him into the down position, you should not give him the treat. Instead, ask your dog to sit and try the sequence again until his whole body goes down to the ground. You can try allowing your dog to sniff or nibble at the treat as you move it to the floor to encourage him to lie down fully.
Keep in mind some dogs may not be interested in the treat you are using for the session and he may not follow the treat with his nose. Switch up the treat for something more enticing, like a small piece of chicken, a piece of cheese, or the end of a hot dog.


Repeat the “down” sequence 15 to 20 times. Some dogs can move on to learning the hand signal after one session, and other dogs may need a few more sessions of practice.

Try to do at least two short, five to ten minute sessions, a day.


Practice the “lie down” hand signal. Once your dog gets the hang of the down position with the use of a treat, you can move on to using a hand signal to get your dog to lie down. You will still use treats as a reward, but they will be hidden behind your back so your dog follows the hand signal, rather than the treat.

Begin with commanding your dog to “sit”.
Say “down.” Make the same motion with your fingers and hand, but without a treat between your fingers.
Move your hand to the ground and as soon as your dog’s elbows touch the floor, say “yes!” and give him a treat.
Take a few steps back to signal to your dog that he can stand up.


Repeat this sequence 15 to 20 times for one to two weeks. Try to have two five to ten minute training sessions a day where your dog follows your hand signal. Once your dog lies down as soon as you say the cue and make the hand signal, you can move forward in the training.[13]

If your dog doesn’t follow your empty hand into the down position, do not bring out a treat to encourage him. Be patient and make eye contact with him until he lies down on his own.


Work on reducing the hand signal. Over time, you likely will not want to continue to bend all the way down to the floor to get your dog into the down position with the hand signal. You can try to shrink the signal so it is a smaller movement and you do not need to bend down towards the floor. Make sure you progress to a smaller hand signal slowly, and only once your dog is comfortable with the “lie down” command and the normal hand signal.

Repeat the command and the hand signal without a treat between your fingers. Instead of moving your hand all the way to the floor, move it down until it is an inch or two above the floor. Continue to practice the down command with this new, smaller hand signal for one to two days.
Once your dog responds to the smaller hand signal, adjust your movement so your hand is three to four inches above the floor. After practicing for a couple more days, shrink the hand signal again so it is farther and farther away from the floor and you need to bend over less and less.
Over time, you will not need to bend over at all and you should be able to say the “Lie down” command while standing up straight and pointing to the floor


Use the command in different settings and situations. Now that your pup has mastered the lie down command, it’s time to practice the new skill in different settings and situations. This will teach him to always follow the command, regardless of any distractions around him.

Start by practicing the command in familiar places, like the rooms in your home, in your backyard, and in your front yard.
Move on to slightly more distracting areas, like in your home when other family members are around. You can also practice the command during a daily walk and in friend’s houses or yards.
Once your dog masters lying down on command in these situations, add on more distractions. Practice the command while someone makes noise or plays with a ball nearby. You should also practice the command when you are playing with your dog at the park, when someone rings the doorbell, and when your dog is playing with other dogs.


Practice the command with less treats. If you’d rather not carry pockets full of dog treats every time you ask your dog to lie down, you can start to reduce the number of treats he receives during the training sessions. Only do this once your dog is very comfortable with following the lie down command in different settings and situations.

Begin by giving him treats only when he lies down fast and with excitement. If he lies down slowly and with reluctance, give him praise and a head scratch but do not give him a treat. Withhold the treats for only the faster lie downs so he does not receive a treat every time he lies down.
You can also use other rewards besides treats for when he follows the command. Ask your dog for a down position before you attach his leash for a walk, before you give him his dinner, before you throw his favorite toy and before he can greet someone. This way, he will see the lie down command as a positive cue that leads to rewards other than treats.




How to Teach "Roll Over"

Give your dog the command to "lie down." Your dog should start the "roll over" trick in a lying down position, resting on his stomach with his paws in front of him and his head lifted. From this position, he'll be able to roll over easily and without hurting himself.


Hold a treat near the dog's face. Crouch down and hold a treat where the dog can see and smell it, close to his face. Close your fingers around the treat to make sure he can't snatch it from your hand before the trick is completed.

If your dog tends to snatch treats quickly, make sure to watch your fingers so you don’t get bit.


Move the treat and say "roll over". Rotate the treat up and around your dog’s head so that his nose follows the treat. Where the nose goes, the head and body will usually follow. If you lead your dog’s nose with the treat along a path that will cause your dog to roll over as he follows it, your dog will roll over. Say "roll over" in a clear and friendly voice while you move the treat around the side of his head.

The key is to get your dog to associate the spoken command with the physical move of rolling over. If you prefer, you can use a hand signal by making a rolling motion with your hand. Or you can give a verbal and physical signal simultaneously.


Help your dog and keep practicing. Use your free hand to gently help your dog roll over if he's not quite getting the move on his own. Practice the trick repeatedly because this can be a tricky move for a dog to make. As you practice, reward your dog with a treat as he makes moves in the right direction. This will encourage him to keep trying.

Your dog might get frustrated if you wait to reward him until he rolls over completely. Don’t forget to praise your dog in a kind, excited voice. Dogs respond positively to an encouraging “good boy or good girl.”


Know when to reward your dog. At first, reward your dog with a treat and praise every time he successfully rolls over. The repeated rewards will reinforce this new behavior. Once he knows what you expect, you can give treats less frequently.

Reward your dog immediately, within seconds of the correct action. This will help your dog know what he is doing right so that he can repeat it.


Keep practicing until he can do the trick without help. After the first few successes, the dog should be able to roll over without your help. You should no longer have to move the treat over his head or physically roll his body over. Stand up and tell him to roll over; when he does so on his own, reward him with a treat and a pat on the head.

Practice until the dog can roll over without needing a treat. Once your dog knows what you expect when you say “roll over,” change the way you treat your dog. Don't offer a treat every time. Slowly stretch out the time between treats and gradually give random or less appealing treats. This will keep your dog from expecting a treat every single time he rolls over. Keeping it unpredictable will also keep your dog interested in performing the trick.

Continue rewarding with verbal praise (like "good boy") and affectionate petting. Save the special treats for the next trick you want to teach your dog and instead, give him less desirable treats, like store-bought treats or pieces of dog food.


Practice in new locations with distractions. At this point, you may want to introduce a new practice location. This will continue to challenge your dog and prevent him from only associating the new trick with the training room. Start practicing outside, first with a treat, then without. A dog park is a great place to practice, with lots of distractions.

Your dog may be challenged by the new distractions. Be patient with him and reintroduce treats until he consistently rolls over in new locations.


Move on to practicing around other people. Practicing in front of other people will let him get used to performing. The extra praise he'll get from other people will also encourage him to roll over. Try letting other people give him the "roll over" command. When your dog truly has the trick down pat, he might roll over when someone else gives him the command.




How to Teach "Stay"


Have your dog sit in a comfortable spot.

Place your palm out in front of the dog's face while saying 'stay.' The combination of the verbal cue and the hand signal will help your dog associate these commands with staying where he is.

Repeat 'stay' a few times before doing anything else so your dog learns the word. Say it in a happy tone. Save your firm tone for when your dog makes a mistake.
Be sure to use these same commands every time you tell your dog to stay. If you don't it will take him longer to understand what you want him to do.


Take one or two steps back. Keep your hand out and keep saying 'stay' while you do this.

Your dog will probably get up and follow you the first few times you do this. When he starts to come up from his sitting position, correct him with a 'no' or 'ap ap ap' in a firmer tone than you said 'stay' in.
Praise him when he sits back down. Go back to your happy tone when your dog remains still or sits back down after you give your corrective command.


Repeat this step as needed. This first step will probably be the hardest. Your untrained dog will want to follow you when you start walking away. Keep correcting him to sit back down, and remember to not give him a treat if he gets up and runs over to you. This just teaches him that getting up will get him a reward.


Give your dog a treat when he stays. Remember, positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog. When he stays in place after you take a few steps back, that means he's starting to understand the command. Reinforce his obedience with a treat.

Don't have him come over to you to give him the treat yet. This teaches him that when he gets up he gets rewarded. You want to teach him that staying in place gets him the reward. Walk back to him, say some words of praise in a happy tone, and then give him the treat. When he gets better at staying, then you can add the command for him to come to you.


Have your dog come to you. Once your dog has gotten proficient at staying, you can complete the task by having him come to you. Come up with a word that will signal that the dog is released from the stay position. Dropping your hand and saying 'okay' is a popular signal. Then when the dog comes to you, give him a treat and praise him.

Whatever word you use to release your dog from the stay, make sure you say it in a different tone than you would when normally speaking. Otherwise your dog might start expecting a treat every time you say 'okay' or another normal word.


Increase the distance you step back gradually. When your dog gets proficient at staying when you're a few steps away, start increasing the distance. Go 5 steps back, then 10. Then see if you can get across the whole yard. The point is to make sure the dog stays put as long as you continue telling him to.

Remember to praise the dog and give a treat every time he succeeds.
If at any point the dog gets up and runs to you without you giving the command, don't give him a treat.




How to Teach “Leave It”

The key to a reliable “Leave it” is to teach your dog that if he leaves something alone when you ask him to, he might score something even better!
Step One: Get the Behavior
Sit down with your dog and show him that you have a treat tucked in your hand.
Say “Leave it,” and then hold out your hand with the treat enclosed in your fist so that he can’t get it. Let your dog lick and sniff your closed hand. He may mouth, paw it or bark. Ignore all this, say and do nothing and just wait.
After several seconds, your dog will stop trying to get the treat. The instant he moves his head away from your fist, say “Yes!” Then immediately give him a treat from your other hand.
Repeat this sequence at least ten times until your dog visibly moves away from your closed fist as soon as you present it to him and say “Leave it.” Some dogs learn this in one session. Others will need more practice over a couple of days.
Step Two: Increase the Difficulty
The next step is to teach your dog to look at you in order to earn the treat.
Hold the treat in your hand, say “Leave it” and wait.
When your dog doesn’t hear “Yes!” he’ll probably look up at you. The instant he looks at you, say “Yes!” and offer the treat to him in your open palm.
Perform at least 40 more repetitions until your dog makes direct eye contact with you when he hears “Leave it.” He’s now learned that the way to get you to give him a treat is to look at you.
To perfect this behavior even more, you can delay your “Yes!” by a second or so at first so that your dog has to look up at you longer to earn the treat. Over many repetitions, gradually increase the delay until your dog will stare at you for as long as five to ten seconds before earning your “Yes!” and a treat.
Step Three: Practice on the Floor
The next step is to practice with the treat in plain view on the floor. At this stage, use so-so treats for the bait and higher-value treats for rewards. So you might place a piece of kibble or dry dog biscuit on the floor and use pieces of chicken or steak to reward your dog.
Say “Leave it,” place the bait on the floor and then cover the bait with your hand. Just as you did before, wait until your dog stops trying to get at the bait.
The moment your dog looks at you, say “Yes!” remove the bait from the floor, and reward your dog with a really tasty treat from your other hand.
Repeat this exercise at least 40 times until your dog no longer tries to get the bait from the floor but just looks up at you instead when he hears the command.
I think you will find this happens very quickly with most dogs, and then just practice as much as you want.
Training can be fun if you make it fun and have a positive attitude. Not to mention rewarding and useful for both of you.




How to Teach "Shake"


Have your dog sit down. The only way a dog can shake hands is if he is sitting. If your dog doesn't know how the command for sit, you can guide him into it by using the following steps:

Hold a treat in your hand. Pinch the treat in your hand between your thumb and palm. Keep your hand open, to let the dog see and smell the treat.
Hold the treat within one inch of your dogs nose. Allowing him to smell the treat will get his attention.
Bring the treat up, over his head. Do this slowly to keep your dogs focus on the treat.
As he raises his head up to follow the treat, he should sit down. To look at the treat, which should now be directly above his head, he will have to sit down in order to keep his eyes on it.
Don't reward the dog with the treat here, as you are teaching him how to shake, not sit.


Present the treat to your dog. You won't be giving the treat to you dog just yet. For now, simply keep the treat in your left hand. Bring the treat in front of your dogs nose, showing it to him. Once you have his attention, close your fist around the treat.

Don't let the dog grab the treat from you yet.
Hold the treat between your thumb and your palm.


Wait for your dog to paw at your hand. Once your dog realizes you have a treat in your closed hand, he will try to get it from you. Now is the time to let him know which behavior unlocks the treat. Wait for him to paw at your hand and then let him have the treat.

Be patient.
Don't issue any commands yet, let your dog figure out what behavior works on his own for now.
Ignore any other attempts your dog may make, such as sniffing or mouthing your hand.
Repeat this method four or five times, over a period of five to ten minutes.


Take your dogs paw in your hand. Use this additional step only if you dog doesn't seem to paw at the treat in your hand. By picking up your dogs paw, and praising him during and after, you start to show your dog that pawing at your hand is rewarded.

Hold the paw for a few seconds before rewarding.
Be gentle and move slowly.

Introduce a verbal command. After your dog beings consistently pawing at the treat in your closed hand, you can start to introduce your preferred verbal command. Wait until your dog paws at your hand and issue the command while giving him the treat.

Your command could be any word, but “Shake” or “Paw” are commonly used.
Say your command clearly and loud enough to be heard by your dog.
Issue your command at the exact moment the dog paws at your hand.
Once you pick a command, don't change it, as this will confuse your dog.
Keep any command short. Generally only one word commands will be the best


Start preemptively using your command. After you have begun using your verbal command when your dog paws at your hand, it's time to start saying it before it paws. As you move the hand with the treat towards your dog, say your command.

This step helps him to realize the verbal command is now the signal to bring his paw up to shake.
Ideally, your dog will bring his paw up as soon as you say your command.
Only after he shakes should you reward him with the treat and praise him.
If your dog doesn't bring his paw up at the command, try again until he does. If he still doesn't after about fifteen minutes, stop for a while and try again later. You don't want to frustrate your dog.


Only reward your dog when he completes the command. Rewarding your dog for any other behavior will confuse your dog. Never reward him unless he has completed the command successfully, or else he might view your rewards as bribes.

Avoid improper rewarding by always obtaining your dogs full attention before training.
Don't get frustrated and give your dog the treat if he isn't doing the “shake” command as you asked. Giving up like this will send the message that if he sits and ignores you he will be rewarded.
Realize that your dog is always paying attention. Any treat given to him will likely be associated with whatever he was doing at the time.
Your dog wants to earn treats. Once he makes the connection that a behavior will earn him something tasty, he will be ready to behave in that way. This counts for both good or bad behavior. Be aware of this when you reward your dog.


Start removing treats. Eventually you will need to stop issuing treats for the behavior. Do this gradually by offering treats only every other time he performs the “shake” command. Substitute praise or other rewards, such as a walk or play time, in place of treats.

Keep practicing until you are positive he will “shake” without a treat.
You can try offering an empty hand, with no treat, when first starting this step.


Make it more challenging. Once you feel that you dog has mastered the “shake” command, try introducing challenges for it. Wait for a situation that usually bothers your dog, such as a visit to a busy place or someone coming to the door, and issue the command.

The more situations you practice in, the better your dog will be able to perform this command.



Try shaking with the other hand. Follow the same order of training as you did with the first hand. The main difference will be that you hold the treat in your opposite hand and only reward when your dog shakes with the desired paw.

Try using a different command word. If you used “Shake”, try using “Paw” for the opposite hand.




How to Teach "Heel"


Teach the dog to watch you. This can be accomplished by simply associating a cue such as "Watch me" with a treat. Your dog will quickly learn to look at you when you use the word, as they will expect a treat. Once this has been accomplished, give treats randomly, not necessarily for every occasion, but don't stop completely.

Don't rely on the leash to physically move the dog. The leash is for safety, not a means of communication. Practicing off-leash in a safe location is ideal


Teach your dog proper positioning. The proper way to walk a dog is with the dog on your left side. However, this is only necessary for formal obedience and some other sports. For pet dogs, choose whichever side is best for you, but be consistent and stick with the chosen side.

The dog should walk with its head or shoulder even with your hip.
You are not holding the leash tight to keep your dog in place. The leash is slack between you, with no contact


Teach your dog to position itself correctly. "Right Here" is a useful command to teach your dog when standing. If your dog is not close enough or is confused about which side to sit at, slap your hip and use the command "Right Here". If needed, lure your dog to your side with a treat. As your dog learns, slowly fade the lure by using your hand without a treat, then just your hand, then more general. The lure can become a hand signal (moving your hand to your hip).


Get your dog's attention. The key to heeling is having your dog's attention. Start standing still with your dog sitting beside you in the correct position. Get your dogs attention by calling its name, tapping on its head, making noises, or using your pre-taught "watch me" cue.

When the dog looks up, slap your left hip with your hand and say "Right Here". This is a command. Your dog can learn to look where you indicate, and in this way you are giving your dog a reference point for where he should be while heeling.
Set your dog up for success. Try your best to avoid asking for more than your dog is capable of.
Remember, the key is getting your dog's attention. This can be the most difficult thing. Also, though it takes some work, while getting your dog's attention you can teach your dog to look at you when you say "Watch me" or whatever your chosen cue is. Remember to reward with a treat when your dog responds correctly.

With your dog in position, take one step. Reward your dog. Increase to two, then three, and so on.


Once your dog is reliably heeling, introduce speed changes and turns.

Consider every walk you have with the dog a training session.

Heavily reinforce your dog for good behavior with whatever they enjoy most - treats, play, petting, praise, etc. Treats are usually the most favoured and easiest option. You should positively reinforce your dog when he obeys your commands correctly. Avoid using punishment to train.


Use corrections with care. Many people train their dogs with all positive, reward-based methods, which require a lot of patience and consistency. Corrections can get quicker results sometimes, but it can also backfire by damaging your relationship with your dog, creating anxiety and confusion in the dog, and resulting in more unwanted behavior.


Think of the leash as an extension of your arm. With this in mind, do not correct your dog unless he or she needs correction. Giving mixed signals to your dog will only complicate and inhibit successful training.

Keeping the leash slack (not correcting constantly) means that when you actually do pull on the leash, your dog is much more likely to listen to you.


When you praise your dog, do not let it disobey your command until you release it. For instance, if you tell your dog to sit, it obeys, you praise it, and it gets up, immediately stop the praise. If your dog does not sit down again by itself after a few seconds, firmly put it into place, then praise again.

You do not need to repeat the command. Enforcing it is much more effective. You may want to give the dog another chance to obey properly.


Reinforce that your dog cannot forge ahead. Most dogs forge ahead. To correct this, keep your dog on a leash that is tight enough to allow you to step across in front of him. When he tries to forge ahead, turn sharply and step directly in his path, making a 90 degree turn and heading off in a new direction. Once again, turn sharply, as if walking along a square.

The dog will be used to leading you, and may be surprised or confused. Walk in a straight line again, until the dog tries to forge past you. Pull the same stunt. Doing this for 5-15 minutes a day is enough. Some dogs learn after the first session, but some dogs who have been used to leading you for years may take longer.


Train your dog not to lag as well. Most dogs lag consistently if they feel afraid, neglected, unwanted, or abused but many dogs lag occasionally if they are sidetracked by smells or activities. The way to stop lagging is similar to stopping forging. All you have to do is let the leash hit your leg every time you step as you walk.


Your leash should once again be in your right hand, and a lagging dog would be on your left side behind you, with the leash crossing in front of your legs. This will cause a jerk when you step forward with your left leg, and if this isn't enough to make your dog want to catch up, you can slowly reel in the leash while your leg is bumping it.
You should use a command while doing this "Get-Up-Here" and/or "Right Here"; with your left hand slap your hip. Speak this command, and your dog's name, using "Hey" to get his attention if needed. Once your dog is next to you, praise and let the leash slack. Most likely he will lag again, but all you have to do is repeat.


Try placing your thumb in your pocket to secure the lead at a length you feel comfortable working with. The abrupt stop or changes in direction at the consistent lead tension seem to direct the dog well. Sometimes with your hands free you can tend to allow too much slack allowing the dog to roam while you daydream. The thumb trick keeps them firmly in place.


****Use a thick collar. Thinner collars are more severe than wider collars, as pressure is not displaced over a larger area, making corrections more severe24

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