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FIRST LESSONS IN OBEDIENCE

 Obedience is the foundation of any training. It is necessary to start training the puppy some obedience  elements as early in life as possible. You may confidently begin working on this when your puppy is 1,5  months. For successful lessons, the puppy should have a good appetite. It is best to use small pieces of  boiled meat as a treat. You should get a belt bag for treats or a vest with large pockets where you can put a  treat without a plastic bag for the training. Don’t start on the training if the treat is in a far-reachable place.  Your outfit should be comfortable for the training. Make sure to take care of such details.

 All the work with the puppy at this age should be based on its desire to satisfy its physical needs, in this  case, the instinct of getting food. But at the end of each exercise you have to actively praise the puppy,  switching its attention onto yourself. This way you will gradually develop the social instinct which would be  necessary for training on the next stage, when the puppy grows up to be 4-5 months.

There are two basic commands: “heel” and “come here”. These commands should become the MAIN and FAVOURITE for the puppy. You must develop your training so that the puppy is waiting for these commands and is happy to do them for you. Following these commands must become a kind of praise by itself for the dog! Therefore, it is important to totally eliminate coercion in the initial stage of the training, and create such conditions that the puppy is eager and willing to execute these commands. The simplest way to establish a connection with a very small puppy is through satisfaction of its natural needs – precisely, the desire to eat. So, take a plenty of treat and get to work!

“HEEL” IN STATIC AND DYNAMIC POSITIONS

Take a handful of treats in your right hand and bring the puppy to your left foot into a desired position. The puppy should be strictly parallel to the foot. As you begin, support the puppy’s body with your left hand to help it move correctly. You must move quickly, and the puppy must CONSTANTLY GET THE PIECES OF FOOD from your hand, as if it was biting them off a treat stuck in your hand. As soon as the stock of treat in your right hand is completed, you must immediately take the next portion of treats, while keep moving. THE PUPPY SHOULD CONSTANTLY GET TREATS! Next, you will learn turns and twists, first to the right and later to the left.

Next step, we introduce a stop. When you stop, your puppy should sit down exactly parallel to your left foot. To do this, you hold your hand with a treat near puppy’s nose, then raise your hand up and back slightly. The puppy will strive not to lose the treat, and will most likely follow your hand and sit down by itself. If it moves back or aside, support the puppy with your left hand, by keeping its body in the right position, and wait until it gets seated by itself. Remember to give the puppy a treat every time it is in the right position. At a time when the puppy ignores the command or makes a mistake, hide the treat in your hand, but do not move the hand away from the puppy’s nose and at the moment it starts to behave correctly, immediately let them bite of a treat from your hand. Also remember to verbally praise your puppy for its correct actions. Introduce positive reinforcement words, such as “Good and “Yes”. The entire exercise should last no longer than two minutes.

FRONTAL POSITION AND MOVING TO “HEEL” POSITION

 Just like in the first exercise, take a handful of treat, but now keep your hand in your lap. Step back, constantly  encouraging the puppy’s interest in a treat. When you stop, hold your hand a bit up, stimulating the puppy’s  desire to sit down tight in front of your legs. To correct the puppy’s sitting position, you may use your other hand  but it’s still best to guide the puppy to appropriate position with a treat in your right hand. As soon as the puppy  learns this exercise, start training it the next skill: moving into “heel” position. There are two ways of moving into  the “heel” position: 1) passing around and behind the trainer and ending seated at your left foot, and 2) moving  straight into the left-side position, pivoting and swinging its rear legs wider than its  front legs, ending up facing forward and sitting at your left foot (hook or flip). Let’s  look at the second option as the most entertaining in sport.

 Make a small circle to your left with your right hand full of treat, thus leading the  puppy to the desired position. At first, the circle may be quite large, but as you progress, try to make the circle-movement as small as possible. Make sure the puppy gets strictly parallel to your left foot. Do not encourage screwed positions. The first option (passing around and behind you) is not difficult. With the help of a treat you lead the puppy around your feet first with your right hand, then you switch the treat to your left hand and have the puppy follow to yours left foot. Repeat the exercise 3-5 times within one training session.

“COME”/”HERE” COMMAND

 The main thing in this exercise is to develop a desire in a puppy to run to you as quickly as  possible. You will need an assistant who will keep the dog on a leash while you walk away from it.  Get away from the puppy for a few meters and call it happily. As soon as it runs up to you, give it a  treat and praise actively. Do not hesitate to show your emotions, your puppy needs to see that YOU  ARE PLEASED WITH THEM. Repeat the exercise 2-3 times. In the following lessons increase the  distance. When the puppy learns the “frontal position", introduce the position into this exercise. Do  not let your puppy run into you and/or jump on you. If you focus the puppy on your hand with the  treat, the dog will not make this mistake.

EXECUTING COMMANDS “SIT” AND “PLATZ” (“LIE DOWN”)

 If you worked properly over previous exercises, then command "sit" won’t be difficult for a puppy. Direct the  puppy to the appropriate position by raising your hand with a treat up and slightly back over the puppy’s  head, and say the command “sit”. Praise correct execution of the command verbally and with a treat. Make  sure that your puppy does not move forward in this exercise. The puppy won’t move forward if you do the  correct movement with your right hand – direct it slightly behind the puppy’s head.

 The command "platz" (“lie down”) demands special techniques. You need to make sure that the puppy  does not stretch forward as it lies down. To do this, you will aim your  hand with a treat down and under the dog’s chest. Thus, the puppy  will have to move back, leaving its front legs in place, and lie down. At  the beginning, you can help your puppy with your left hand, lift it up  under its belly and then slide back into a desired position. Once the puppy lies down, say the command "platz" (“lie down”), praise and give a treat. Repeat the exercise 4-6 times. Finish the training with active praise and a play.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULDN’T DO WHILE TRAINING A PUPPY

*Do not use correction and compulsion

. *You can and should practice guidance and encouragement. If a puppy does everything right, immediately praise them with a positive voice (“good”, “yes”, “well done”) and give a treat. Ignore incorrect actions and say a negative reinforcement command “no”.

* Praise only correct actions.

* Lessons should not be tedious. Do not strive to do everything in one lesson. Practice several times a day for 3-5 minutes and you will definitely succeed.

* Play with your puppy with a toy at the end or in between the exercises. Remember to communicate and caress the puppy. The puppy, like a baby, needs your attention and care. Establish eye contact often. Try to always hold the attention of your puppy during lessons and mere communication. Follow these simple rules and you will be able to get started on a more advanced level of training when the puppy reaches 3-4 months of age.

We wish you patience and success!

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