Brandee N writes: “I bought your book about two weeks ago to learn more dog obedience commands. Finally, someone has written a dog training book that makes sense. Good job… I bet it took a lot of time to put all of it together, huh?”
The reason I am writing to you is because I am confused about some things that deal with teaching the down/stay and sit/stay. Tell me if this sounds like I have it right:
First, teach her (the dog) how to do the command doing repetitions and placing her in the correct position immediately after saying the command. Then, working up to the point you can just stand up straight and have her respond.
Next, work up distance and time then add distractions and practice in different places.
Finally, go to the long line and then the tab to get reliability off-leash.
Teach Dog Obedience Commands By Proofing, First
[Adam:] Actually, you should start proofing for distractions first, then move to greater distances& but only progress to greater distances with the long line. Without the long line, guess what might happen?
[She continues:] This is how I understand the process from what I have read in your book.
Should I move on to the next step once my dog performs the command quickly and correctly for one training session or keep drilling her without adding something new?
Teaching Dog Obedience Commands Takes More Than One Session
[Adam:] It’s going to take much more than one training session. When the dog learns something, it’s situational. So you’re going to have to work the same exercise& at the same point in the program& in several different locations before you’re ready to move onto the next step.
[She continues:] During proofing, is it okay to add distractions during the dogs learning phase after the dog does the command for me a couple of times correctly without being corrected?
[Adam:] You’re confusing two things. Is the dog in the learning phase, or is he in the proofing phase? The two are very distinct. Do not move onto one phase until you’ve mastered the other.
Here is the order: Learning phase– reinforcement phase– proofing phase.
[She continues:] How long does it take the “average” dog to be taught a new command and proofed in it?
[Adam:] This is impossible to answer. It depends upon the trainer, the dog, the exercise, the setting, how frequently the dog is worked, etc& You let the dog tell you when it’s time. This is why reading your dog is so important. It takes as long as it takes.
[She continues:] Do you teach the down/stay and sit/stay in one session or separately?
[She continues:] In what order should I teach my dog new commands?
[Adam:] Walk on a loose leash, boundary and perimeter training, sit-stay, down-stay, heel, then come. The order that you teach commands is not written in stone, but I find that doing it this way allows for a very natural flow and learning progression.
[She continues:] Sorry my letter is so long…any instruction you can give me is greatly appreciated…oh, by the way I really like the book. Thank you
[Adam:] No problemo. I’m happy to help clear up some of the issues you were having with teaching dog obedience commands.