Five Quick Training Tips That Will Change Your Life!

The current restrictions, such as physical distancing and lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on both humans and animals. Many pets will find their daily routines suddenly changed and their owners at home instead of at work, but at the same time their walks may be curtailed and they can cause mischief inside if they don’t have enough to keep them entertained

While this can be an anxious time for everybody it is important to see things positively and use this as an opportunity to do things, we might not usually have time for. One of which is spending more time with our pets, for whom this outbreak can also be challenging, especially if they are kept inside for longer periods than usual.

See our quick tips on new training ideas:

It is important that the whole family be consistent in the cues and training methods so that there is consistency. Here are our suggested cues:

Verbal Cue

Hand Signal

Dog’s response

SIT           

Start palm-out at leg and moves up as if to touch your shoulder.

sit up or down            

DROP       

Start palm-out at shoulder and moves down towards floor ending palm-down.

lie down

STAND

 Start palm-out at the side of the hip and moves straight backwards (like an invitation to enter motion).

Stand

WATCH

finger point to face

look at my face

STAY

Palm-out stretched in front of dog.

Stay

LEAVE

Closed hand with treat

not touch treat till cue take it

TAKE IT

open hand

Eats food

 

Sit:  The dog will sit on a verbal or hand signal

  • Hold a treat at dog’s nose level, get dog’s nose glued to the treat and slowly move treat up over the nose, between the eyes to the top of the head between the ears.
  • As you move your hand back the dog’s hindquarters should see-saw to the ground.
  • As soon as the backside hits the ground, reward with a treat.
  • If the dog is not following the lure into a sit, you can help the dog understand the desired behaviour by asking for a little more movement in the direction of each time.

Stand:  The dog will stand steady on a verbal or hand signal. This is useful during grooming and vet exams.

  • Ask the dog to sit and reward.
  • Bring a treat from the dogs’ nose slowly away from the dog keeping it at same level.
  • As the dog moves to standing position, reward.

Drop:  Dog will lie down on cue. This is used when out on walks, in the yard or inside on a mat.

  • Ask the dog to sit and reward.
  • While the dog is sitting, bring a treat from the dog’s nose level slowly lowering straight down to the floor between the dog’s front legs.
  • As the dog lowers its head, bring the treat forward slowly
  • As the dog lowers its body, reward.

Come:  The dog returns to you when called

  • Reinforce the dog for sitting facing you and close to your knees.
  • Start close to the dog and move away a short distance.  Call the dog “pup, pup, pup” in a high pitched excited voice
  • As the dog turns to you Reinforce with a treat or toy.
  • Once dog is confidently coming to you, lure or ask for a sit on return.
  • Start teaching your recall verbal cue once the dog is reliable in coming.
  • You and your rewards (action, fun, or food) have to be more interesting and desirable than whatever else the dog can find.
  • Repeat gradually increasing distance and distractions like in the backyard when sniffing or barking; at the park on a short lead then long lead then short lead while talking to another dog etc.
  • Make it a habit to touch the collar when giving the dog the treat/toy.
  • Even with experienced dogs, at the park, practice recalls a number of times during the outing – the dog becomes accustomed to “I’m getting a treat and I go play again” rather than “Fun’s over, I’m going home.”

Watch: ‘Watch’ is used to get the dog looking at you to focus on you.  Often you want to use it when the dog is not already looking at you and when you can’t reach its face.  Early introduction of a verbal cue is desirable in this exercise.

  • Hold a treat on the dog’s nose.
  • Move the treat towards the top of your nose to between your eyes.
  • As soon as the dog moves its head to look at you, praise with the treat immediately.
  • Exceptionally polite dogs won’t make eye contact but should look towards your face.

Patience is Key

As with any type of dog obedience training, the key to helping your dog successfully learn is having patience. Plan on practicing hand signals a number of times before your dog is able to figure out what to do on command.

In order to make this work more effectively, keep training sessions short, fun and positive. Don’t have your dog practice the same hand signal over and over again several times in a row, or he’ll get bored or distracted. Instead, change things up during each training session. This will keep your dog’s attention focused on you longer and make him look forward to training sessions.