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10-week Basic Dog Obedience Training Formula

Apr 30, 2008
Learning new things can be stressful for your dog especially in the beginning when concepts and teaching methods are new. If your dog refused to eat during the early stages of training, stop the program and have a play session or calm your dog until it is relaxed and begins to accept treats again. This process may require 3 to 4 sessions but it is worth going through it to develop your dog's positive attitude towards obedience.

Conduct 3 training sessions a day, each session lasting approximately 20 minutes while allowing at least 1 hour rest in-between sessions. In a 2-week period, there should be a total of 30 sessions.

Week 1 And Week 2

1) Teach your dog the "heel" command. Repeat a series of 3 to 5 circles and perform 5 series of 4-step "heels" per session.

2) Teach the "sit" and "release" command. Command your dog to "sit", let it stay in the sit position for a moment then give the "release" command to release your dog from the "sit". Repeat this series 5 times per session.

3) For each session, work on a series of 1 exercise and move to another exercise (i.e., work on one series of 4-step "heel", then a series of "sit" and "break", and finally a series of 4-step "heels"').

Although dogs need repetition to learn a skill, you need a variety of exercises to keep them interested as they bore easily.

Week 3 And Week 4

1) Reinforce the "heel" command. Test the "heel" command from lessons learned from week 1 and week 2.

2) Reinforcing the "sit" and "release" command. Begin training your dog to hold the "sit" position starting from 5 seconds and gradually stretching the time to 10 seconds.

3) Begin teaching your dog the "down" command (use treats to lure your dog to teach it the command). Repeat the series 2 times per session in week 3 and 3 times per session in week 4.

Week 5 And Week 6

1) Continue to reinforce and test the "heel", "sit" and "release" commands. Begin to include distractions when training "heel" and "sit" to train your dog to continue focusing on you even there are distractions.

2) Extend the concept of holding position to build patience by extending the "sit" from 5 - 10 seconds to 30 seconds - 1 minute before releasing the "sit" command.

When you test your dog, you should repeat each test until it passes the test 3 consecutive times.

3) Start to reinforce the "down" command in week 5 by removing the treat and shoulder help. During week 6, begin reinforcing without any bodily assistance. You can reintroduce treats as the reward but do not tempt your dog. Only reward your dog after it has successfully completed the "down" command.

Training sessions may become more stressful for both you and your dog as you progress from the teaching phase and enter into the more difficult reinforcing phase. If you find a particular test too tough for both of you; stop the exercise and continue to practice the skills individually, you can repeat that particular test a few days later.

While the length and regularity of the sessions remain unchanged since the first week, the sessions are becoming less predictable and require varieties to make them as interesting and effective as they can be.

Week 7 And Week 8

1) While continuing to reinforce and test the "heel", "sit" and "release" commands, don't forget to reinforce the "down" command as well. In 1 of every 3 sessions, add distractions to your basic commands. Improve "down from a stand" exercise with the "down" command.

2) Extend the time-span of the holding position and begin teaching the "stay" command.

3) Begin combining the different commands when training. Teach "sit" and "down" from your front and testing motion "down" and motion "sit".

4) Start teaching the "come" command. Put your dog on "sit/stay" position, while walking backwards monitor the position holding skills. Body language plays an important role in teaching this command and sending the wrong signals sometimes causes your dog not to hold the position.

Week 9, Week 10 And After

1) Reinforce "stay" and "come" command. Always practice a short leash recall to reinforce the final finish position. Repeat at least 10 times per session. "Come" is the most important command but the least practiced of all the other commands.

2) Conduct test and reinforce all obedience commands. Practice all commands equally, working on each command as little as 1 or as many as 5 repetitions per series though you should avoid creating patterns.

Make exercises targeted towards your practical obedience application. Include distraction training in at least 1 out of every 3 obedience practice sessions.

DogTrainster aims to educate dog owners and lovers to adopt positive training approaches in training their dogs. To learn more us, visit us at http://www.DogTrainster.com - Ultimate Resource and Tips for Dog Training.
About the Author
A dog enthusiast who grew up with dogs and has a passion for dog training. Founder of DogTrainster.com, a dog training portal with a panel of experienced training consultants who promote positive approach to dog training.
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