Teaching Your Dog The A-B-C's

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Teaching Your Dog The A-B-C's

by Delmar Smith

People always ask me how long I’ve been associated with dog training and I have to answer them that it’s been before I was born. You see, while I was still being carried by my mother she took me to a field trial. I was raised in the country where you’re around dogs and horses and I found that I loved to train animals. Back then we used some trial and error, but through persistence the animals eventually responded to our commands.

Today many of the approaches we use in training are proven and we also have the benefit of the remote training collars. The one thing we learned, and it still pertains to today’s training, is that you must have a strong foundation in the basics.

Many dog owners want their dogs to perform the difficult tasks right away. They spend little time on the basic commands and then they can’t understand why their dog doesn’t understand what’s expected of him. Think about a young person going through school. You don’t start him in high school before he knows how to read and write. First you teach him the A-B-C’s. You have to do the same for that dog. You should spend a little time with your dog each day in training. While some people like to “work” a dog for an hour or two, I prefer 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day. The important thing is to get on a schedule even if you only have the opportunity for one 15-minute session each

When you bring that puppy home you need to let it get used to its surroundings. In a matter of a short time the pup will be house-trained, eating well, and growing big and strong. Let the puppy spend a few months bonding with you and during this process begin some simple teaching commands.

When the pup is a few months old begin your formal training. In the early stages when you walked your dog you put a leash on the collar and let the dog pull you here and there. Now it’s time to get the dog to understand what you want it to do, or how you want it to respond to certain forms of stimulation.

The first form of stimulation I use on a dog is what I call “the lead.” The lead I designed consists of a piece of rope with a loop and a six-foot long tail. The loop goes around the dog’s head. It’s kind of like a collar that tightens and loosens as need be. The loop slips so it can tighten down on the dog and let it know that something must be done to recreate the comfort when the loop was loose. This is the stimulation. The lead is similar to a chain collar, but I find the rope lead works better for me.

When you want the dog to come to your side you pull the lead, tightening the loop, and the dog will retreat to your side. You can then command the dog to sit. Should the dog try to get up and run, the lead tightens, providing the stimulation necessary to bring the dog back into position. Soon the dog realizes that it must stay in position at your side.

The next step is to let the dog work in front of you with the lead. You can get the dog to quarter by the pressure you put on the lead from one side to the other. At this time I’m not using commands. I want the dog to perform the tasks using the stimulation from the lead alone.

After the dog begins to understand what’s expected of it with the lead I add an Innotek training collar and some vocal commands. The thing a trainer must remember is that a remote collar is only used to reinforce that which you have already taught the dog. The trainer should never use the collar as a tool for punishment. That’s not what it’s designed for. The training collar is used as incentive to make the dog know what’s expected of it.
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