Oh man, it’s a new day and I’m excited to see the world, sniff everything, meet new people and dogs, and play! Did I mention food? I also really love food. And walks, walking is one of my favorite things, but my owner is so slow and I want to go fast so I can see everything and learn more about it. My owner tugs on my leash, but I’m not sure they understand that I want to go there right now.
Other times, when I’m playing in the house, they tell me to stop, or lie down. Why? I’m playing here! And they keep telling me to sit when it’s time to eat. Sit when I eat. Why would I do that? The food is right there and I’m hungry and I want it and I’m gonna eat it. But I did notice my owner sits before and while he eats, except for those times he’s using his paws to get the food in his face faster while he walks around the kitchen in the morning. I still don’t quite understand that one. Anyways, I want my food. What is this sitting stuff?
Maybe they think I’m behaving badly or erratically. If they want to teach me these tricks and commands, I want to learn! I love learning, but just saying them at me in a loud voice and slowly isn’t going to help the problem. I want what I want, but I want to make my owner happy first, so I’m sure we can work this out together.
Before we get into all the different commands you can teach me and I’ll happily learn, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Get snacks. Get lots and lots of snacks. I love them and they tell me that I did a good job and it’s a reward for me. Positive reinforcement works!
Alright, so, let’s go over some basic commands to teach me and how to do it.
Sit: Oh the big one. Always around meal time, or when I’m about to get a toy. Okay, I get it, you don’t want me to jump. I’m not sure if you ever noticed, but I spend a lot of time sitting, so I’ve got this one down pretty well. But, if I’m not sitting as quickly as you’d like, just give a light pressure around my tail as you give the command. Extra points if you show me the treat while you say it because then I’m absolutely going to sit because I want that reward.
Stay: I’ll admit, this one can be a little tough for me because I don’t want to wait. But for starters, have me sit (treats!) and then use an open palm (like that crossing guard does to cars) and tell me to stay. Just keep your eyes on me and we’ll work up to longer and longer times, but to begin, try for about 20 seconds. After the time is up, say a new command like “let’s go” and reward me with a treat (yes!) when I come to you. We both win that way.
Lie down: This one is really easy to combine with sit. Just have me sit, and then tell me – and maybe gently help me – lie down. Once I do, you know the drill: treat time! Then teach me to stand back up with another command (and of course, another treat).
Heel: This one I’m not a big fan of because like I said, I want to go and sniff and learn about everything. But, I understand that I might be a bit too excited and you don’t want to lose control over me and have me run away. Just keep the leash a little shorter while we walk and say heel and give a gentle (gentle!) tug so I get back into walking in line with you. Don’t forget to hand out treats when I walk properly.
Come: Okay, I get a little excited and wrapped up in my own world and I may not aways listen when you tell me to come to you. But it helps if I’m on the leash for this one. Have me sit, give me a treat for that, have me stay, and then call my name excitedly so I rush over and then get another treat for doing as I was told!
And that’s pretty much it! Make it fun and like play time for both of us so it doesn’t feel like a chore and I can be the best pup you’ve always wanted. I’m here to make you happy and live a fun, play filled life.