Basic Training Skills

First, a word about commands. When you train, commands are usually accompanied by body motions. Your dog is better at reading body language than understanding separate words because he doesn't naturally communicate with words. Because of this, he will pick up on body signals faster than

A retractable leash gives your dog the freedom of a longer leash while eliminating the problem or tangling. (Shetland Sheepdog)

A slip lead is convenient for preventing jumping up when kept by the door.

word signals. That's okay. It is important that you are aware of this so that you are not frustrated when he doesn't respond to the word alone. He will also pay more attention to the inflection you use when you give a command than the individual word. Words are hard for dogs to learn because they do not talk!

You can help your dog learn commands more easily if you are consistent in your choice of words. Just think how you would feel if you were learning a foreign language, and instead of teaching you one word at a time, someone kept giving you five different synonyms for the same thing. Instead of just learning "friend," one day you heard "friend," and the next day "comrade," and the next day "companion," "buddy," and "chum." This is how your dog feels when he hears "come," "come here," "here," and "get over here." So stick to one word and use it consistently. Make sure everyone in your family uses the same word, too.

When you give a command involving movement, it is usually best to say your dog's name first, to get his attention, and then give him the word signal, or command. Realize that this is the opposite of how we normally talk. We usually say, "How are you, John?" We put the person's name at the end of the sentence. Be conscious of this so that you are careful to always say your dog's name before the appropriate command, not after. Give your commands in a friendly but firm tone of voice. There's no need to be loud, either. If your dog can hear the sound of a box of dog treats being opened when he is three rooms away, he can hear you speaking in a normal tone of voice.

Don't worry about using a command when you are beginning to teach your dog a behavior. It is best to first teach a behavior using a piece of food

Body Language Mastery

Body Language Mastery

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