With your puppy now happy for you to be checking her ears, paws and cleaning her teeth, she now needs to learn some basic manners and to listen to you. Teaching dogs commands is beneficial in so many ways. It helps them to build a bond with you, it shows that you are the leader and it is great mental stimulation for them. Mental stimulation is as important as physical stimulation which we shall cover in the next few weeks.
Sit Down Stay!
Teaching basics such as sit, down and stay are invaluable commands for your puppy to become reliable with. It is a sure way of having essential control of your grown up dog when outside. Teaching these basics whilst she is still a puppy makes it easy and is great fun for them. One of the most important things to teach however is recall.
The Ease of Whistle Training
The best way to gain a solid reliable recall is to use a whistle. When you dog is running at 100 mph away from you it can be a worrying sight. You call and call her back but if it’s windy, the wind can carry your voice away and if you are worried there will be fear in your voice. Why would a dog come back to somewhere her owner is telling is not safe? The sound of a whistle is consistent, loud and has no emotion. The ‘cue’ can be whatever you want it to be i.e one pip, two or three. I use two pips for ‘Come’ and one pip for ‘Sit’. To teach a quick and easy recall, begin at home. Walk away from her and call her to you, if she doesn’t come walk into another room. Puppies are naturally curious and it is almost guaranteed that she will come to investigate. As she is walking toward you say your cue (come, here or whatever you choose). Reward with praise when she gets to you. If at any point she just happens to be walking toward you, use the cue as she is moving. She will quickly associate the cue with the action of coming to you (especially if there is attention and reward at the end of it). Once she understands the cue, call her to you and as she is travelling, give your whistle cue. Do this every time and if there are two of you, you can make this a great game with you sitting either end of the room, taking it in turns to call her (whistle cue as she travels) and treating her as she gets to you. Don’t forget to ask for a sit once she gets to you. As she is placing her bottom on the floor, give the whistle cue you have chosen for sit. Once it is reliable , do it in the garden or an outside space that is safe and without too many distractions. Once reliable there you can move on to places with more and more distraction.