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Here are some training tips when working with puppies:

Keep the sessions short. Maybe 5 to 10 minutes in length 2 - 3 times per day. As we use rewards, especially food treats, to reinforce desired behaviors it is best to train after walks and before meals. The walks will allow the pup to eliminate and burn off some of his excess energy. Training before meals will insure that the pup is hungry and will be willing to work for the treats. If you see the pup is training well and suddenly appears to be slacking off he has probably had enough for now. Always end on a positive note. Have the pup perform something simple such as a basic sit, reward and take a break. For pups less than six months old keep the lessons short and simple. Teach one command at a time and no more than two commands in each session.

Have patience with the pup. It will require many repetitions before the lessons are learned and the pup will give a reliable response. You'll know that the pup has learned the lesson when he gives the reliable response to the cue at least 90% of the time. Remember the three D's of training. They are duration, distance and distractions. Just because the pup will give a reliable response 90% of the time in the house does not mean it will listen outside with all of the smells, small animals and other distractions. Start in the home with minimal distractions. Introduce duration such as longer stays in the sit or down position. Add distance by moving away from the pup as he holds the position and finally adding distractions such as having someone squeak a toy while you are asking the pup to come to you. When the pup performs the learned behavior at least 90% of the time with maximum distractions then you can believe the pup has truly learned the lesson.

You and your pup should enjoy the training. If you see fear, boredom or nervousness in the pup step back from what you’re doing and go back to a simpler lesson. If you begin to lose patience or start to get upset stop and take a time out.

Don't shout at the pup. Use a normal voice. For most commands, other than the heel, do not repeat the command. Give the vocal cue and the hand direction and wait for the dog to respond. If you repeat your commands the pup will get used to you saying the command multiple times and will not respond unless you do so. to reward excellent quick responses give a jackpot of several pieces of prime treats. Use delicious treats that your pup will work for. Freeze dried liver is an excellent training treat.

Never raise your voice or use a stern voice when giving the come command. This must always be upbeat and happy. If the dog fears you he will not want to come to you and in an emergency situation this can have terrible results.

Use a verbal event marker such as yes or good when the pup performs the desired behavior. Introduce the verbal command once the pup has performed the behavior. For the sit command lure with a treat at nose level and push the treat back over the head towards the tail with your hand in the up position. As the pup follows the treat his backside should hit the ground. It is at this time that you say yes or good (event marker) and then introduce the word sit. With practice the pup will sit with either the hand signal or the vocal cue to sit.

Practice every day, even basic commands such as sit, down and stay. Don't assume your pup will always remember his commands. Daily practice will insure that your dog will give reliable responses and these reliable responses may one day save his life.

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