Peppertree Rescue often does not know the entire history of the dog you have agreed to foster or adopt. We can be certain only that there has been some form of stress in its life, if only a change from one home to another and that it will be helped to a happier life through your loving care and by some basic obedience training.
Your Peppertree dog may have had some obedience training, especially if your dog was fostered by a Peppertree volunteer before it came to you. Sometimes however, our dogs have not been fostered for very long, or have not had that experience. One thing is certain Because we screen our dogs for "traditional Golden-like" temperament, your dog, at core, will want to please you.
A key to successful obedience training is learning to help the dog to understand what you want it to do. SIT! As you and your dog get acquainted, training can begin. With the dog on lead and standing next to you, say ONCE, "sit" as you put one hand on his chest, so he doesn't move forward and with the other stroke down his back and tuck his rear quarters down under him into a sit. NEVER PRESS DOWN ON HIS RUMP because he will resist. Then PRAISE "GOOD DOG!" If he gets up, try it again. Give the "sit" command ONCE, then tuck him into a sit again. And PRAISE. (At this point in training we are not dealing with "stay" so you may repeat the command once each time you help your dog is to sit.) After you think he is beginning to "get it," just give the command and use your hands only if he needs the help.
If you are new to obedience training, it may seem silly to you to praise your dog for something you really "helped" him to do, but praise is another key to successful training. When your dog begins to understand that you approve of what he has done, with or without your help, then you are on your way. Never praise your dog when it has disobeyed you or half obeyed you, only when it has obeyed your "command." Some trainers reward with praise AND occasionally a treat. If that works, fine. But you don't want a dog that will never sit unless you give it a treat, so if the dog will work without food, all the better. Training sessions should be fun, so stop before either of you wear out. Three to five times is a good guideline.
The word "command" is used in obedience training and can be misleading. Your "command" voice should be cheerful, not cross, simply matter of fact. But it is important to tell your dog - don't ask him. "Sit?" is not an effective "command."
Giving the command ONCE is another key to successful training. If you say "sit, sit, sit," your dog will learn to take his own sweet time, knowing that you will say the command over and over again. The habit of giving a command once and expecting obedience on the first try could save your dog's life. "Come" or "Down" said once and obeyed in an emergency could repay you in one brief moment for all the times you bit your tongue.
In between "training sessions," you can help your dog to learn the meaning of "sit" by saying "good sit" when he has JUST sat down naturally. This is good reinforcement.
Timing is an essential key to successful training. There is NEVER any success gained in praising or reprimanding your dog 15 seconds or 15 minutes after he has acted. The praise has to be associated with what he is doing now. There is no use, for example, of scolding your dog for taking something from the kitchen counter if he walks out of the kitchen and you go find the mess. He may know he did it, but when you scold him he is far more likely to take the reprimand as disapproval of coming to the kitchen when you called him back.
Good luck! Keep cheerful! Have patience, consistency and more patience. Rewards will come for both you and your Peppertree dog!
This page was last modified at 19:08:24 on 08/14/2006.