Patience Building

Start obedience training shortly after

• five months or after the completion of teething, whichever is later. At seven months old your dog should be able hold a thirty-second SIT and a ten-minute DOWN. At nine months your dog should hold a one-minute SIT and a twenty-minute DOWN. This "ramping-up" effect plateaus when your dog is around one year old. At this point your dog can hold a two-minute SIT and thirty-minute DOWN. This is a set of small goals with realistic timeframes.

Distraction training (described in

• chapter 8) begins after completing the initial obedience-training plan. Younger adolescents will have some difficulty with distractions. As your dog's ability to concentrate for longer periods develops, distractions will become easier to resist.

Puberty is the time to begin teaching

• Applications. You may expect your dog to learn DOWN while the family eats at the dinner table. Similarly, your dog can learn, with your guidance, how to greet people by holding a SIT (although he may not be able to do this totally on his own for some time). Begin teaching applications in this stage and continue to reinforce until he has mastered them himself.

In later adolescence, just as he's • approaching adulthood, he can begin learning his long-distance and off-leash skills. You may have begun teaching these concepts earlier in his life, but the maturity required for true off-leash training begins in this stage. Begin this process now and expect to mold the skills and concepts into adulthood.

Dog Obedience

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