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Tuesday Training Byte: Training the Beginning and the End

When we as humans decide to attend something, we often want to know 1) when does it begin?, and 2) when does it end? Dogs have short attention spans, and puppies have even shorter ones. To get consistent responses, the pup needs to know the expectations. For example, I give the command one time to "Sit" and use a treat to lure the dog into position. I do not ask again. As soon as the pup sits, I immediately say "Yes!" and give the dog the treat. Regardless of what you just asked your dog to do, the exercise needs to have a clear ending, so I always use a release word, "Okay!". By doing this, you have created a beginning and an end. Repeating the command can get the dog into the habit of responding on the fourth or fifth command, in other words, you are letting the pup decide when he wants to begin responding. Likewise, giving a release word allows the pup a moment of moving around before you again ask for a certain behavior. If we forget to give the release word, you have just put your pup in charge again of when he wants to end the exercise, making it much harder later to get a reliable "stay". This foundation will be very useful when you train your pup to stay. Give the stay command once, wait a couple of seconds, then the release word of "Okay!" immediately followed by a treat and lots of praise. Happy training!


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